Box Elder Wood: Uses, Properties, Pros & Cons

Box Elder Wood Uses, Properties, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Box elder maple (Acer negundo), also known as ash-leaved maple and Manitoba maple, is native to North America. It has been introduced and naturalized to South Africa, South America, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and Asia.

The tree is 35-80 feet tall, and the trunk diameter is 1-2 feet. It’s a fast-growing but short-lived tree species. Box elder wood is yellowish-brown, with straight grain and a fine even texture.

This is a non-durable wood that breaks easily. It seems it doesn’t look suitable if it’s used to make furniture.

What is box elder wood?

Box elder wood is a yellowish-brown hardwood with straight grain. There may also be other colors that are part of it. Our assessment of its appearance is quite good.

This wood is rarely used and is harvested in small quantities by hobbyists. It seems the quality of this wood is not good enough for commercial timber used for business purposes.

However, you can still use it for turned objects, crates, charcoal, boxes, wood pulp, and small ornamental objects. We don’t recommend using it for furniture, although it’s worth a try.

The properties of box elder wood

It’s wood with a unique color. Yellowish-brown to red with straight grains. Box elder wood also has a fine even texture and an unpleasant aroma when wet.

This wood has poor resistance to rot, even considered to be easily damaged. Heartwood is also susceptible to insect attacks.

However, box elder wood is easy to work with machines and hand tools and can glue well.

This wood also turns and finishes nicely. Health risks that can occur are colds, skin irritation, and respiratory effects such as asthma.

Box elder wood advantages and disadvantages


Mid-price: The box elder’s price is in the moderate range, and this is not wood that is widely used for business purposes.

It is only harvested in small quantities by craftsmen or hobbyists, Standard wood quality, with poor durability. Maybe that’s the reason this wood is in the middle range.

However, figured pieces and burls may be in the higher price range, especially burl. Burl is not an ordinary wood that grows a lot, but an abnormality in the wood that makes it tend to look beautiful.

If it has a gorgeous appearance and works well, the wood may be much more expensive.

Easily worked: It’s a wood that is easy to work. You can use hand tools or use machines to make it easier and work certain jobs.

Box elder can turn well. So, it seems suitable to be used for turned objects. Apart from that, other work like glues and finishes well.

Our sources of information don’t mention the presence of silica or any particular problem. Look for more details about it.

If it contains silica, be careful of the blunt effect on the cutter, and don’t forget to use quality tools.


Not durable: This is not a very durable wood. It’s recommended not to use it for long-term purposes. Box elder is easily damaged, not durable against decay.

Insect attacks may be another cause of damage. However, it seems some of the ways you can do to extend the life of the wood, for example, by soaking wood in water.

We don’t guarantee this method will be successful. However, you can try it yourself if you insist on using this wood.

I’d only advise choosing another wood instead of box elder, though burl wood is worth considering for its beauty.

Health risk: Box elder is a species of maple belonging to the genus Acer. The genus is reported to cause colds, skin irritation, and respiratory effects such as asthma.

We recommend being careful with that. There is no information about the high risk that could occur. However, it never hurts to do prevention rather than have to treat.

Look for information on safety and health when doing woodworking. After that, do it well to avoid health risks that may occur. Box elder is also reported to give off an unpleasant odor when wet.

Box elder wood for turned objects

Some box elders may have an unusual appeal and be beautiful, and This is something good.

You can use it for turned objects by creating some high artistic value objects. We’ve seen several box elders with varying looks in color.

The combination of yellowish-brown and red seems very good. If you make a box elder bowl with a combination of these colors, it appears to be quite expensive.

However, we don’t guarantee that it will be. So please create high-value turned objects with proper box elder.

Box elder wood for pulpwood

Although rarely harvested in large quantities, it seems that box elder has qualities for pulpwood. We know that paper cannot be made from just any wood.

Only wood that meets quality can be used as quality paper. We found information that box elder is commonly used as pulpwood.

That’s why we put it here, and it looks like the wood is up to the mark. Although we think the quality of this wood is not as good as fir, hemlock, larch, pine, and spruce.

Seems pretty good if it’s used just for a replacement or something else.

Box elder wood for charcoal

Not all good wood is used for commercial charcoal, which is commonly sold. We don’t know if box elder is also suitable for such charcoal or just for ordinary charcoal.

But what is certain is that box elder is commonly used as charcoal. You can make them and use them for personal use or sell them on the market if possible.

However, we do not believe that the quality of box elder wood charcoal is equivalent to that of oak, walnut, and ash charcoal Because it seems like it’s just an everyday use that can be used.

Box elder wood for boxes

Another use of box elder is boxes. It seems like a pretty great idea, given the appearance and status of box elders as hardwoods.

However, other properties such as durability are not reliable in this case. So, we don’t think it’s good to use it for large boxes for long-term purposes because of its perishable nature.

But it’s good enough for small short-term boxes to store a few small items that are important to you.

Box elder wood for crates

In addition to boxes, other things you can make from box elders are crates. Everyday use of bins is as a place to store goods for shipping.

So, it seems we think there is no need for quality wood with good durability. However, some crates may be made or purchased for different purposes.

It’s probably best to cut them down outright or buy if someone is selling. It’s recommended to choose an elder wood box with an accessible price, even though the cost is in the moderate range.

Box elder wood for small ornamental objects

Maybe you are thinking of using box elder as small ornamental objects. We also think that is a good thing.

The appearance of the box elder, which is quite beautiful, seems to be worthy of this.

You can make it by carving or turning. We think lathe is better.

Other jobs like directly using a knife are also worth trying, though they seem more difficult. So, begin making small ornamental objects from the box elder.


Box elder wood is pretty good wood but not reliable in its durability.

This wood is easy to work but rarely used and usually harvested in small quantities.

It seems like some people don’t need this wood. But the price is in the moderate range, with prices more expensive for figured pieces and burls.

You can use it for small ornamental objects, turned objects, pulpwood, crates, charcoal, and boxes.