COLOR: Heartwood and sapwood are similar, with sapwood lighter in color;
most pieces have a reddish tone. Slightly redder than white oak.
GRAIN: Open, slightly coarser (more porous) than white oak. Plainsawn
boards have a plumed or flared grain appearance; riftsawn has a tighter grain
pattern, low figuring; quartersawn has a flake pattern, sometimes called tiger rays or
VARIATIONS WITHIN SPECIES AND GRADES: More than 200 subspecies in North
America; great variation in color and grain, depending on the origin of the wood and
corresponding differences in growing seasons. Northern, Southern and Appalachian red oak
can all be divided into upland and lowland species. Because they grow more slowly, upland
species generally have a more uniform grain pattern than lowland species, with more growth
rings per inch.
HARDNESS (JANKA): Northern 1290
DIMENSIONAL STABILITY: Average (change coefficient .00369).
DURABILITY: Stiff and dense; resists wear, with high shock
resistance, though less durable than white oak.
SAWING/MACHINING: Above average in all machining operations except
SANDING: Sands satisfactorily, better than white oak.
NAILING: Good resistance to splitting; excellent holding ability.
FINISHING: Strong stain contrast because of large pores.
COMMENTS: Red oak generally
works better than white for bleached floors, because it is more porous and accepts bleach
better, and because tannins in white oak can discolor floor.
(relative to plainsawn select red oak)
- 1.00 (plainsawn)
- 1.30 (quartersawn)
- 1.65 (riftsawn)
Commodity item, available in all types, styles and
sizes of flooring, including parquet, strip, plank and veneer, both unfinished and