Oak (American White)
American White Oak (Quercus alba) is a deciduous hardwood tree native to North America. The heartwood of American White Oak typically ranges in color from light tan or pale yellow-brown to dark or pale brown, and can sometimes have a pinkish tint. It has a straight but open grain and is fairly coarse in texture. American White Oak is a popular species for woodworking due to its attractive grain patterns, stability, and durability. It is often used for interior applications such as skirting boards, architraves, cover fillets, and mouldings.
Arizona Oak, Roble, Stave Oak
American White Oak heartwood is resistant to decay, but the wood can be attacked by ambrosia beetles and other insects. It is resistant to preservative treatment. American Oak is not ideal for exterior use due to movement in service.
The drying and seasoning of Oak (American White) is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Oak (American White) - It is slow drying and challenging to season. End and surface checks, honeycombing, collapse, ring failure and iron staining can occur whilst drying. There is moderate movement of this wood in service. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.
White oak is a hard and heavy wood with medium crushing and bending strength and low stiffness. The wood has excellent steam-bending properties and has exceptional resistance to wear. It has tolerable blunting effect on cutting edges but generally works well, though this depends on the precise species used. Oak planes, turns, machines, sands, mortices, stains and polishes well. Pre-drilling is advised for nailing and screwing and it glues adequately. The tannin content can react with ferrous metals to cause iron staining. Not ideal for use externally as dimensional movement can be considerable when exposed to different conditions.
Furniture and cabinetmaking, joinery, office furniture, boatbuilding, trim, panelling, flooring, cooperage for wine and whisky, coffins, shingles, sleepers (railroad ties); also sliced for figured veneers and rotary-cut for plywood
'Mighty oaks from little acorns grow' goes the quote. This tree inspires us to be strong in body, mind and spirit. It is a sacred and revered tree representing endurance, power, protection and authority.
Wood Worker's Thoughts:
Similar to it's European cousin but is often drier. Moves dramatically if exposed externally. Thicker sections 50mm upwards can have pocket splits and shakes which are not apparent until machining. But all in all a very attractive timber used for multiple applications. European Oak is the recommend option for external applications.
Commonly asked questions about American White Oak Wood
Is Oak a hardwood or a softwood? Oak is a hardwood. It is the same for; is American White Oak hardwood or softwood? - American White Oak is a hardwood.
Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Oak family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.
What colour is American White Oak ? American White Oak can be described as brown, light brown, yellow/brown
Is American White Oak good for outdoor use? or is American White Oak good for exterior use? American White Oak is most suited for interior/interior use. American White Oak can be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).
Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood