Acanthopanax ricinifolius

Trade Names

Japanese Ash, Sen

Similar Woods



Japan, China


Japan, Korea and various parts of China, but only veneer quality is imported to Europe and exclusively from Japan. Best known growing area for high quality veneer logs is Hokkaido in Northern Japan. It is only possible to import Sen to Europe when debarked and as flitches i.e. as already sawn half logs.


Used exclusively as veneer for bedroom furniture and mass produced panels in Europe, Sen is seldom used for decorative interiors. In Japan, however, Sen is considered to be an allround wood species and is used for almost all purposes.


The wood is uniformly whitish to yellowish-brown in color. When freshly cut the wood has an acrid, unpleasant odor. Due to fluting Sen veneer tends to buckle and to require pressing. Moreover, dark patches are often found scattered over the surface.


This moderately hard wood can be machined cleanly and easily by all woodworking methods. Very smooth surfaces are obtained due to the straight grain.


Sen can be dried comparatively quickly but shrinks strongly in the upper humidity range. Therefore, a slow drying schedule is necessary to minimize inner tension.


Mat gloss surface finishes are an obvious choice due to the silky gloss of planed surfaces.


Glue joints hold well. Screw and especially nail joints hold poorly because there is a great tendency for the wood to split.