Well you get very different ones now, which dont have real wood, so there is no smoke and no ashes.http://www.anyfire.nl/haard.html
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Compost heap, if you have one?
We used to keep a bucket of it in the outhouse and throw in a scoop after each use- kept down the smell!
Wood ashes can be used for various kinds of amateur alchemy. Kevin Dunn's old Caveman Chemistry pages give a procedure for making wood ashes into potash, or at least something closer to pure potash (K2CO3) than the wood ashes by themselves.http://cavemanchemistry.com/oldcave/projects/potash/index.html Wood ashes are also an ingredient in homemade saltpeter (KNO3). The other ingredient is usually some kind of manure, or soil containing nitrates. That is to say the wood ashes provide the K+ ion, and the manure provides the NO3- ion. Or that's the legend.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_nitrate#History_of_productionhttp://cavemanchemistry.com/oldcave/projects/gunpowder/index.html Also there's soap:http://cavemanchemistry.com/oldcave/projects/soap/index.html The gardening related answers, from other answerers, are good too. This is probably the easiest way to recycle wood ashes. That is to say: The trees were kind enough to loan unto you some potassium ions. The trees, or other plants, might also think it kind of you, if you returned these potassium ions unto them.
As a glass cleaner. Wood ash is a key ingredient in lye soap. It can be mixed with a bit of water (or dabbed on a damp sponge) and used to clean dirty fireplace doors.
It may be a little too alkaline for a compost pile, but it can be used in the lawn and garden as a replacement for lime.
Gets my vote.