Should I feel bad that I hate oak?

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Forum topic by Bertha posted 03-30-2011 08:37 PM 5790 views 0 times favorited 158 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2658 days

03-30-2011 08:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hate oak

I love wood, all wood, of course. But oak is the least of my favorites. I understand its important place in history, love the ammonia, the lore. But I just don’t like the appearance with a few exceptions. And I’m feeling guilty about it. Any discussion appreciated. I’m also feeling guilty about my sentence structure, in case any teachers are watching :)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

158 replies so far

View Crushgroovin's profile


234 posts in 2889 days

#1 posted 03-30-2011 08:46 PM

Everyone has their own tastes, it would be a pretty boring world if we didn’t.

I don’t like Victorian furniture I would never have a piece in my house. I wouldn’t let Red Oak into my shop if I was paid to make something out of it. I think it is cheap and gaudy. I absolutely love craftsman stuff which used a ton of White Oak but that is my taste.

I love your profile pic! A Boston Pup, yes? I have had Boston’s all my life. They are such great fun dogs, great personalities. Although now French Bulls are more popular so I see them all the time.

-- I wouldn't be so arrogant if you weren't such a moron!

View FaTToaD's profile


394 posts in 3106 days

#2 posted 03-30-2011 08:48 PM

I’m the same way, I like working with oak and making small things with it, but for furniture and cabinets, I’m not a fan.

-- David

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3306 days

#3 posted 03-30-2011 08:51 PM

never liked red oak
way to many splinters and it tears out with the router

and all the crap cheap furniture
(knock-down cabs/stereo-tv stands)
all look the same to me

just not my wood i guess

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View lew's profile


12017 posts in 3720 days

#4 posted 03-30-2011 08:52 PM

Just the opposite here. I really like the open grain and the variations in grain patterns of red oak.

Me, I don’t care for cherry, but as Crushgroovin said- everyone has their own tastes.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Dave Pearce's profile

Dave Pearce

108 posts in 3637 days

#5 posted 03-30-2011 08:53 PM

Having nearly completed a project in red oak, I’ve decided I’m not a fan. Besides the splintery, finicky grain, this plain sawn material is tough on my hand tool blades. I’ve heard others joke about it being an overgrown weed. Perhaps quartersawn is better, but until I have a real need to find out, I’ll stick with the other hardwoods. Haven’t tried white oak yet, so not much help there.


View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 2658 days

#6 posted 03-30-2011 08:53 PM

I’ll chime in here, since I like red oak (in moderation) and use it more for trim work (molding, etc). I have a ton of QSRO and the rays can be overwhelming, but if you subdue them when finishing and blend them in a little bit, they start to look less like skin cancer scars and something more on the order of a redneck curly maple.

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2845 days

#7 posted 03-30-2011 08:56 PM

Al, Don’t feel bad. I think there are many people who feel the same way. I have noticed that kitchen cabinets, hardwood flooring and a lot of fine furniture are now made with Cherry, Maple and Walnut. Oak is in my opinion the look of the past when it comes to new construction use. I think it was just so common at one time that people got bored with it and wanted something that looked different and fresh. In other words its just “Not in style” anymore for those things.

I find myself using oak more due to the price being cheaper then the other domestic hardwoods. I also think it machines a lot better then Cherry, Maple or Walnut.

The only complaint I have with oak is that I am allergic to it! If make to much hand contact with it my finger tips will all turn black and if I am not careful I will get sick as a dog for a few days after using it. I have that same problem with Walnut to.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View jayman7's profile


218 posts in 3470 days

#8 posted 03-30-2011 08:56 PM

I agree!! The only used red oak in the past because it was cheap and I stained it dark to make it look like another wood.

View Roger's profile


20923 posts in 2769 days

#9 posted 03-30-2011 08:57 PM

I agree with you in a sense. Oak is ok, but, not my favorite at all. Oak has its place/s in projects. (my opinion)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2845 days

#10 posted 03-30-2011 09:01 PM

I just read the replies about Red Oak and it being prone to chip out and hard on blades… I don’t know if I am alone here but I think Red Oak is a lot less prone to these problems then Cherry. I find Cherry to chip out, tear out and wear by blades a lot more then Red Oak. I love Cherry and will continue to use it but IMO its a pain in the behind to work with.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2781 posts in 3403 days

#11 posted 03-30-2011 09:24 PM

It’s interesting how people have different takes on wood. I just finished finishing off the inside of a new house for a young couple. They chose a knotty pine cathedral ceiling and flat farm board pine woodwork. I mentioned that a natural finished oak on the woodwork would really look nice. They said it was old fashioned. I guess it is. When people moved off the farms to the city for work at the turn of the century they encountered a lot of oak in the buildings. But before that the farmhouses had the pine ‘barnboard’ woodwork I was putting up for them. So, in effect they are going pre-oak in time. I remember the old pine and here in Maine I consider it a soft wood that is good for framing cabinet carcasses and would be good for burning if it wasn’t so soft. And for some people the more ugly knots the better.

They also had me install new bathroom cabinetry that looked like the 1930’s bureaus we had in the house when I was growing up. Antiques now I guess but old crappy stuff from our standpoint. Couldn’t wait to get rid of them years ago and move up to some modern stuff.

To me, oak, finished off naturally is a wood with a beautiful natural grain. It depends on what you’re used to, your age, and what you experienced in your life I guess. Go figure.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3139 days

#12 posted 03-30-2011 09:28 PM

I have it on good authority that … oak doesn’t care much for you, either LOL !!!

I’ll never be able to walk into my (QSWO) kitchen, again :-)

-- -- Neil

View Dave Pearce's profile

Dave Pearce

108 posts in 3637 days

#13 posted 03-30-2011 09:54 PM


Funny thing, I found cherry to be just the opposite. Must be the differences in local woods? I’ve heard that heartwood in cherry can be problematic, but I dunno. I remembered after I wrote my first reply that I actually have a few peices of red oak that planed out really well, at least compared to the rest of the stuff I have. I noticed the grain in these peices was nice and straight, so that’s probably the difference.

In addition, I’ve been replacing all the cheap trim and doors in our house with red oak baseboard and 6 panel doors, and I do like how it stains up. In this case, it’s all pre-made, so other than some sanding, I haven’t had to do much other than install it. We’re keeping close to our kitchen’s look which is all oak cabinetry.

If I get a chance to get some quartersawn materials, maybe that’ll make the difference.


View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4183 days

#14 posted 03-30-2011 10:02 PM

It’s all about personal taste. Heck, I still like brass faucets, and they went out years ago. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2845 days

#15 posted 03-30-2011 10:05 PM


Your guess is as good as mine :)

I have no hard feelings on any type of wood. No two pieces of wood are the same so in a sense they will all handle a little different. I use any and every wood that I can and just work around the little problems that I may have with the wood.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

showing 1 through 15 of 158 replies

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