Latin Name: Querus Alba.
Origin: Eastern United States.
Common Names: White Oak, Stave Oak, Ridge White Oak.
The Tree (characteristics): The White Oak tree can grow to heights ranging from 65 to 85 feet tall with a trunk that is 3 to 4 feet in diameter. The White Oak tree is a large, strong tree. The wide-spreading branches form a large, rounded crown. The leaves range from a dark green to slightly blue-green color during the summer and changing to brown, red, and orange in the fall. The bark of the tree is a light ash gray color. It is variable in appearance and is often broken into smaller blocks.
Appearance of Wood: Sapwood can range from white to a light brown color and the heartwood is dark brown in color. White oak has a distinct open grain and a coarse texture.
Density: White Oak is a very strong, heavy wood with good wear resistance. It has medium bending and crushing strength. Average reported specific gravity ranges from .60 to .75 with an average dried weight of 47 pounds per cubic foot. Janka Hardness is 1,350 pounds of force.
Drying and Shrinkage: Generally, it will take White Oak one year to dry. Due to the high density of White Oak, it tends to have a high shrinkage rate. Average reported shrinkage values are 5.6% radial, 10.5% tangential, 16.3% volumetric.
Working Properties: White Oak can be worked with either hand or machine tools and produce great results. Due to the higher shrinkage rates, White Oak rates lower in dimensional stability. The wood can react with iron especially when the wood is wet, producing staining and discoloring of the wood. White Oak has good steam-bending properties, glues, stains, and finishes well.
Durability: White Oak is a very good choice for exterior applications. It is insect resistant and has very good weather-resistant properties.
Uses: White Oak is very versatile and can be used in a wide range of applications including flooring, furniture, cabinetry, doors, paneling, molding and millwork, shipbuilding, and caskets.
Availability: White Oak is readily available.