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Oak, White

Sapwood is light coloured and heartwood is light to dark brown. Mostly straight grained with a medium to coarse texture, with longer rays than Red Oak. White Oak has more figure.

Thicknesses

Subject to availability

4/4
5/4
6/4
7/4
8/4
9/4
10/4
12/4
16/4
20/4
1/2"
3/4"
1"

Distribution

Eastern United States

Scientific Name

Quercus alba

Specific Gravity: Basic

0.6

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

0.75

Janka Hardness

1350

Colour/Appearance

Heartwood is a light to medium brown, commonly with an olive cast. Nearly white to light brown sapwood is not always sharply demarcated from the heartwood. Quartersawn sections display prominent ray fleck patterns. Conversely, Red Oak tends to be slightly redder, but is by no means a reliable method of determining the type of oak.

Grain/Texture

Grain is straight, with a coarse, uneven texture.

Endgrain

Ring-porous; 2-4 rows of large, exclusively solitary earlywood pores, numerous small to very small latewood pores in radial arrangement; tyloses abundant; growth rings distinct; rays large and visible without lens; apotracheal parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates (short lines between rays).

Rot Resistance

Rated as very durable; frequently used in boatbuilding and tight cooperage applications.

Workability

Produces good results with hand and machine tools. Has moderately high shrinkage values, resulting in mediocre dimensional stability, especially in flatsawn boards. Can react with iron (particularly when wet) and cause staining and discolouration. Responds well to steam-bending. Glues, stains, and finishes well.

Odor

Has a tell-tale smell that is common to most oaks. Most find it appealing.

Allergies/Toxicity

Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, oak has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation, as well as asthma-like symptoms.

Pricing/Availability

Abundant availability in a good range of widths and thicknesses, both as flatsawn and quartersawn lumber. Usually slightly more expensive than Red Oak, prices are moderate for a domestic hardwood, though thicker planks or quartersawn boards are slightly more expensive.

Sustainability

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
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