Red Oak (Quercus rubra)


Family - Fagaceae

Distribution - Canada and eastern USA, but more abundant in Canada than white oak.

Other Names: American / Canadian red oak, Black oak, Grey oak, Northern red oak, Red oak, Southern red oak

Characteristics: The timber varies in colour from pink to pale reddish-brown, there is usually a reddish cast to the wood. The large rays do not produce such an attractive figure as they do in white oak, and generally speaking, the wood is coarser in texture. As with white oak, the quality depends greatly on growth conditions, northern red oak, with its comparatively slow rate of growth, compares favourably with northern white oak, while red oak from the southern States is generally of faster growth, and consequently more coarse and open in texture. Red oak weighs about 790 Kg / m3 when dried.

Working Qualities: Slower grown oak is easier to work than fast-grown, but either type can be finished smoothly if care is taken. The timber can be glued, stained and polished, and takes nails and screws well. Red oak is rated as being non-durable.

Uses: Less esteemed than white oak, it is too porous for tight cooperage, and its lack of durability limits its uses to some extent. It is used for flooring, furniture, interior joinery and veneer.

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