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Oak species

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Forum topic by rilanda posted 07-05-2012 10:12 AM 1833 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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rilanda

129 posts in 806 days


07-05-2012 10:12 AM

It is interesting to see the different uses of the Oak species. What I mean by that is it appears that the selection of the type of Oak species is controlled geographically, with our American buddies appearing to use Red Oak (Quercus Rubra) in preference to the White Oak Species (Quercus Alba). I wonder why that is and is my determination of this correct, perhaps fellow Lumberjocks would like to give some thought to this and express there opinion. My own preference is the White Oak although I find it is more difficult to work, another reason is my local timber yard do not stock the Red Oak. my absolute favorite is English Oak (several Quercus species of this including Pedunculata), even though it is extremely difficult to work the end result is very pleasing, and the smell of Oak is very pleasant to my senses. unfortunately my local timber yard does not stock English Oak, if I want that I have to find a sawmill that is converting local grown trees.

-- Bill, Nottingham. Remember its not waiting for the storm to end, but learning to dance in the rain that counts. If you dont make mistakes, you make nothing at all.


25 replies so far

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Brandon

4138 posts in 1602 days


#1 posted 07-05-2012 10:59 AM

I prefer white oak to red oak myself, but red oak is much more plentiful here in Georgia, which makes it cheaper than white oak.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

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Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1201 days


#2 posted 07-05-2012 11:03 AM

I think red oak is so common here in the US because its so common if that makes any sense. It grows everywhere and therefor is cheap. Where im at red oak can be had fot about the same price as popular, with white oak being everywhere from a little more to many times more based on cut. Old growth white oak feels like you trying to chisel rock, but comes out great. Store bought white oak isnt bad either. Riven air dried red oak is great to work with. If it sawn and went through a kiln it dont come in the shop.

-- www.newageneanderthal.blogspot.com . @NANeanderthal on twitter

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a1Jim

112070 posts in 2228 days


#3 posted 07-05-2012 03:07 PM

I prefer the look of 1/4 sawn white oak but the local black oak(close to red oak) is much more affordable in my area.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1719 days


#4 posted 07-05-2012 03:16 PM

I used to use quite a bit of red oak, but got pretty tired of the grain. When customers ask about it, I tell them that it can look pretty good but you better like a very obvious grain pattern.

It’s more expensive, but I’ve been using white oak in more projects lately. Still have noticeable grain, but less “belligerent” than the red oak.

Just made a very contemporary bathroom vanity with inset doors and drawer fronts, and brushed nickel pulls. Customer loved the cherry sample I made, but choked on the price. Used alder instead and it’s almost a perfect match – for quite a bit less money. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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Woodmaster1

469 posts in 1238 days


#5 posted 07-05-2012 04:05 PM

I am picking up some quartersawn red oak tomorrow. I choose it over white oak because my house has red oak trim and my wife said red oak is what she wants. My next project I am going to buy quartersawn white oak so I can get an idea on which to use for my kitchen cabinets, white or red oak.

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Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5076 posts in 1959 days


#6 posted 07-05-2012 04:22 PM

I have always liked oak (especially quarter sawn) and was able to acquire about 600 bd ft of oak from a friend several years ago after a storm knocked down a bunch of trees. He has a portable sawmill and solar kiln and was able to salvage a tremendous amount of quarter sawn red and white oak and some fantastic spalted oak.
I have built a desk for my wife, a bookcase and numerous other projects from it and still have sa good bit of those special boards waiting for the right project (one will be an entertainment center for a TV..)

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

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gfadvm

10850 posts in 1341 days


#7 posted 07-06-2012 01:44 AM

I am on a quest to try as many oak species as I can Red oak is very common/plentiful in my area (I heat my house with it). But when quarter sawn can be amazing. I recently used some live oak Dallas sent me and I loved it. Your English oaks are beautiful wood and the “bog oak” is spectacular. Australia has silky oak which is pretty special as well. I have no idea how many species of oak there are but I’m sure red oak is the most common.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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Doss

779 posts in 915 days


#8 posted 07-06-2012 01:59 AM

Around here (Mississippi), the only more readily available lumber is pine. Red oak is in every lumberyard and wood supplier shop I go to. It’s so cheap when compared to any other hardwood I can easily get (besides poplar) that it’s going to be a no-brainer for most woodworkers in this area.

In fact, I have about 10 logs of it sitting and waiting to be cut into slabs right now.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

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ShaneA

5294 posts in 1249 days


#9 posted 07-06-2012 02:05 AM

Like Brandon said, red is more widely available and costs less in most markets. But I would guess most people prefer the look and use of white oak. Especially QS.

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1126 posts in 1127 days


#10 posted 07-06-2012 02:10 AM

There are about 36 species of oak in Georgia, but not all of them are suitable for sawing lumber. Most of these are in the Red Oak Group. This Southern Red Oak made some really nice quarter sawn lumber.

It had to be quartered to fit my sawmill!

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

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Doss

779 posts in 915 days


#11 posted 07-06-2012 02:46 AM

To avoid quartering is why I run a chainsaw mill. I have some 50” wide oaks waiting to be cut. The slabs they produce are awesome.

Still, I’d kill to have something like a Wood-Mizer to cut the smaller logs and quartersaw the top and bottom 1/3 of each log I cut.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4138 posts in 1602 days


#12 posted 07-06-2012 03:03 AM

WDHLT15, I have a few really tall water oaks in the back yard. I know they’re in the red oak family, but I wonder if that species is good for lumber. Thought you’d know.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

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gfadvm

10850 posts in 1341 days


#13 posted 07-06-2012 03:17 AM

What we call water oak (small rounder leaf), is very white in color and quite soft compared to our typical red or white oak.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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WDHLT15

1126 posts in 1127 days


#14 posted 07-06-2012 10:42 AM

Brandon,

Water oak makes very nice lumber. The heartwood is not as red as say northern red oak or cherrybark oak. However, anatomically, all the oaks from the red oak group are indistinguishable. When you buy red oak lumber, you could be getting water oak or any number of red oak species, especially from a Sawmill in the South. There are many fewer red oaks in the North. The two most common are northern red oak and black oak. The growth rate and lack of defect has as much to do with quality as species.

The best quality red oak in the deep South is cherrybark oak. Water oak grown in the bottomlands and river swamps can be very fine trees. When I get back to the other computer, I will post a few pics if anyone is interested. I hunt for Champion Trees, and I love to walk the woods.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

View rilanda's profile

rilanda

129 posts in 806 days


#15 posted 07-06-2012 01:59 PM

You guys in America and the tropics have such a wide variety of local grown timber to choose from I am positively envious. Here in England most timbers in my local timber yard are imported and the number of different species are dwindling in number. Tropical timbers are becoming more difficult to obtain and what is available is expensive to buy. So I have over the last few years decided where possible to limit my use of timber to temperate region hardwoods and softwoods. But this limits choice, Oak, Ash, Elm, Beech, Chestnut, London Plane (Lace wood), Sycamore and Maple, however even some of these are now becoming more difficult to find, a couple of years ago my local hardwood merchant stopped selling, Maple and Elm. What is so annoying is to see absolutely beautiful pieces of lumber being put through a shredder to reduce them to chippings, the reasons given is economics, it would cost more to convert to lumber than chipping, my local authority prefer this solution. I have over the past few years however managed to find a nice log of Laburnum which I am slowly drying naturally, and a good sized log of Lace wood which I am spalting. One of my favorites for Turning was Pitch Pine, the last time I managed to obtain some of this beautiful timber was about 25 years ago and that was a short length of an old beam taken out of a very old building that was being demolished. At some time I will post that piece of Treen on this site.

regards to all you good buddies

Bill

-- Bill, Nottingham. Remember its not waiting for the storm to end, but learning to dance in the rain that counts. If you dont make mistakes, you make nothing at all.

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