Over 100 year old red oak

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Forum topic by MCalderon posted 02-13-2016 04:49 PM 684 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 254 days

02-13-2016 04:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: resource tip question oak refurbishing

I am a framing apprentice, currently on a restoration/addition project on a 100 year old house. I was told that the red oak treads are probably valuable (if sold to the right person of course). I managed to separate all 14 treads without to much damage.

a few of them are splitting, but they are definitely salvageable. Depending on the value, I might just use it to make some furniture. either way, would anyone know of a website where I may be able to find a buyer?
what about an estimate for what they may be worth?

6 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


2538 posts in 1677 days

#1 posted 02-13-2016 11:50 PM

M, why not put them up for auction on ebay. The market will tell you their value in your area. HTH

-- Art

View TomHoffman's profile


14 posts in 1945 days

#2 posted 02-19-2016 06:05 PM

At a 100 years old, I would be very surprised if it was in fact Red Oak, You have a much better chance of it being White Oak as White Oak was the go to wood of choice back then and Red Oak was considered at best fire wood.

Red Oak has only become popular at in the past 50 years or so because of White Oak was and is getting more hard to find and expensive.

I lived in a 150 year old farm house in Iowa that was balloon framed with full 2X4 dimension white oak studs 18’ long. It was almost impossible to drive a nail into and didn’t want to let loose of the nails that were put in 150 years ago.

-- "Lord, keep your arm around my shoulders and your hand firmly over my mouth!!"

View MCalderon's profile


2 posts in 254 days

#3 posted 02-20-2016 02:51 AM

AandCstyle: I should have thought of that sooner, I’m not much of an ebay user so it completely slipped my mind.

TomHoffman: how can I be sure what I really have? would you say that it is safe to assume that white oak was a popular building material 100+ years ago in the Toronto, Ontario area as well? how valuable would the full 2×4x10 joists be, assuming they are white oak as well. althought in my opinion, they don’t seem to be as strong as you described.

thank you guys very much, I’m glad I found this forum. I have always been interested and willing to learn. I had no idea there was this whole community out here.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1275 posts in 1355 days

#4 posted 02-20-2016 02:48 PM

Try this website to figure out if you have red or white oak. From what I know the size of the end grain pores are the best way to figure out which oak you have.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View jdh122's profile


878 posts in 2237 days

#5 posted 02-20-2016 03:55 PM

Cut a small piece of the wood (say 1/2 inch square by 4-5 inches long) and stick one end in a bit of water. Blow on the other end – if you can blow bubbles it’s red oak, if not it’s white oak. This really works…

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View McFly's profile


181 posts in 447 days

#6 posted 02-25-2016 12:37 AM

Go with the old scratch & sniff test. Red oak and white oak smell very different, so get yourself a small scrap of each and sand your treads. That should help you ID your treads.

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