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White Oak Quercus alba

STURDY HARDWOOD THAT IS CLEAN AND STRAIGHT
White oak is hard to fault. It is easy to use, good value for a temperate hardwood, versatile and widely available from certified sources. The straight grain and consistent texture suit many modern styles, and are valuable in batch production. The wood's one real weakness is its lack of distinctive figure and absence of the defects that some woodworkers favor for character.

KEY CHARACTERISTICS
Type Temperate hardwood
Other names American white oak (U.K.)
Alternatives Japanese oak (Q. mongolica), red oak (Q. rubra)
Sources Canada and United States
Color Beige to medium brown, which finishes as a rich honey color
Texture Medium to coarse Grain Usually straight
Hardness Hard
Weight Medium to heavy (48 lb./cu. ft.) (770 kg/cu. m)
Strength Strong, and with straight grain it bends well.
Seasoning and stability Cracks and checks may appear if it is dried too quickly. Moves moderately once used.
Wastage Low; clean and straight-grained
Range of board widths Good
Range of board thicknesses Good
Durability Fine for external use, but the heartwood will not take preservatives for better protection.

VARIATIONS
Used for decorative veneering and book matching.

SUSTAINABILITY
There is plenty of certified white oak. Where it is grown on a plantation the only issue might be one of biodiversity within the forests, but certification covers that aspect as well. No threat of extinction.

AVAILABILITY AND COST
Widely available and relatively inexpensive, with a low wastage rate.




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Updated: 08/2017   copyright 2011 Rowecraft