Reply by Waldschrat

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Posted on white oak verses red oak

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505 posts in 3401 days

#1 posted 07-19-2011 06:26 PM

Its not the pores that seal up that make oak more resistant to rot, nor does white oak adsorb moisture slower… a special membrane or something of that sort it does not have.

The reason oak does not rot as quickly is because it has high levels of tanin or tanic acid in it. The same stuff that’s in walnut, black locust and other woods that are also rot resistant. The tanic acid prevents or retards the growth of fungus that eats the wood substance in wood… lignin. Tanic acid is the same thing they used to use or still do maybe to treat leather, and why your hands turn black when you work with oak or other tanic acid bearing woods.

But its is true with certain woods such as Black Locust, the growth of Parynchym cells into the pores of other tissues in the Wood (the scientific terms of which I do not have in front of me in english “Gefaesbegleitend-parynchym” cell grows into the “Toepfel” and becomes “vertult” or plugged up) Which is why it can be sometimes difficult to get a good lamination between two boards.

White Oak is scientifically known as Quercus alba , Red oak (well there are different species I believe 60 in N. America alone) is called I believe Quercus rubra if my memory serves me correct.

The red oak is not very durable outside because it does not have as much tanic acid in it.

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

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