Is Oak Wood Right for You? Benefits & Interesting Facts Skip to content


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Is Oak Wood Right for You

Is Oak Wood Right for You? Benefits & Interesting Facts

Oak wood is a type of hardwood obtained from oak trees that is highly valued as a material for construction, furniture, and herbal medicine.

Oak trees have a long history and can live up to 200 years. These mighty trees are also the national trees of several countries, including the United States, England, France, Germany, and many more.

In the United States, oak ranks high among the most common woods used for flooring and furniture. Wood like this is popular among the Amish, famous furniture designers like Gustav Stickley and Frank Lloyd Wright, and the traditional, artisan, and mission styles of furniture.

Oak lasts a long time, is simple to carve, and may be left unfinished or stained to suit your taste. Also, because of its high BTU content, it burns more efficiently than other woods.

Oak wood is one of the most easily identifiable species due to its distinctive grain pattern and wide range of colors. It has been around since before colonization and is being used now for a variety of household purposes.

This makes it an essential component of classic design, but its adaptability also makes it ideal for contemporary pieces.

Here are some interesting facts about oak wood:

What Color is Oak Wood?

Is Oak Wood Right for You

Oak wood, in its natural state, may take on almost any color, from pale beige to deep brown and even crimson. It is not always simple to distinguish between the different kinds of oak only by looking at their colors; nevertheless, white oak is often more beige-to-brown and red oak is more rosy in appearance.

In addition, various parts of the same oak tree might have varied hues. Red oak and white oak both stain nicely, so the same piece of wood can appear as black as walnut or as brilliant as an entire room when stained a lively shade.

In most trees, there is a noticeable change in hue from the innermost, or heartwood, layer to the outermost, or sapwood, which is the layer nearest to the bark and responsible for transporting nutrients.

The sapwood of oak trees is often lighter in color, however this is not always the case. In certain cases, the sapwood and heartwood of an oak tree seem to disappear into one another.

Types of Oak Wood

Is Oak Wood Right for You

There are an estimated 600 species of oak trees worldwide, but broadly speaking, oak wood can be divided into two types: white oak and red oak.

Both have their own benefits due to their different characteristics. However, both are hardwoods and are equally beautiful for use in furniture and other crafts.

1. White Oak

White oak (Quercus Alba) is preferred for construction and flooring and white oak is slightly harder than red oak. Even so, the difference is not too significant, and both are durable woods for furniture and flooring.

White oak is also known to be more resistant to decay and is suitable for outdoor furniture. White oak that has been through some processing is also fine for use in bathrooms and other damp areas.

The color of white oak tends to be more yellow-brown with a uniform color. White oak is also denser, making it easier to accept stain or polish evenly.

Some varieties of white oak include:

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Chestnut Oak (Quercus prinus)
English Oak (Quercus robur)

2. Red Oak

Red oak (Quercus Rubra) grows widely in northern climates such as North America. This wood can be recognized by its rough texture and straight grain.

Red oak is often chosen by craftsmen to make furniture such as cabinets. This kind of oak trees can grow in urban areas and are better at absorbing pollution than other trees.

Red oak has a color that tends to be reddish with variations from light cream to dark red. Compared to white oak, red oak is not as resistant to decay because its pores are larger, so it is more suitable for indoor use.

In terms of price, red oak is priced below white oak due to its larger population and ease of processing.

Some examples of red oak varieties are:

Black Oak (Quercus velutina)
Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)
Willow Oak (Quercus phellos)

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Uses of Oak Wood

Is Oak Wood Right for You

There are many uses for oak wood due to its naturally strong nature and beautiful appearance. Oak trees are also usually very large, resulting in a large amount of wood that can be used. Here are some of the uses and benefits of oak wood:

1. As a material for furniture and construction

Furniture makers chooses oak wood as a material for its furniture because of its resistance to moisture, this wood does not easily swell and shrink. Hard and premium quality oak wood is also very durable, making it ideal for wooden floors, cabinets, cupboards, and other custom made wood furniture.

2. Traditional medicine

Oak wood also has medicinal benefits for humans, for example as an external medicine it can act as an analgesic (pain reliever). Decoction of wood and bark can be consumed as tea, effective for curing diarrhea and bleeding.

Other types of oak are also known to be used as medicines, such as Bur Oak which is used by Native Americans for heart disease and astringents as wound dressings.

3. As a material for making barrels

Barrels or wooden barrels are usually used as storage containers for alcoholic beverages for the aging process, such as wine, whiskey, or Scotch.

Oak wood is naturally resistant to liquids, so it can be used repeatedly without even a waterproof coating. Drinks stored in oak barrels will give off a unique aroma, color, and flavor.

Unique Facts about Oak Wood

Is Oak Wood Right for You

Oak wood is not only used for building materials, but also has some unique facts that make this tree so mighty.

1. Contains anti-termite and anti-fungal agents

Naturally, oak wood contains tannin, which makes this tree very resistant to attack by insects such as termites and fungi. In addition, this wood is also naturally resistant to water, therefore oak trees do not easily rot and can live for a very long time.

2. The oldest tree in the world

The Jurupa Oak is one of the oldest living things in the world. Located in California, this tree is estimated to be over 13,000 years old. Meanwhile, other types of oak trees can live for an average of over 200 years and reach an average height of 20 meters.

3. Considered a sacred tree

Having existed for thousands of years, the oak tree also has cultural value and is considered sacred by some communities. For example, in Greek mythology, the oak tree is believed to be associated with Zeus and Jupiter.

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There Are Various Varieties of Oak Trees

Is Oak Wood Right for You

The fact that there isn't just one kind of oak tree contributes to the diversity in oak's appearance. In fact, the US is home to more than 60 different types.

Red and white oak are the most popular species for usage in furniture and other home décor items. Because of their longevity, both options look great and are practical for households with active members.

The Color Change in Oak Wood: What Causes It?

Is Oak Wood Right for You

Over time, oak wood may develop a somewhat darker tone, like amber. Because of the presence of oxygen and UV radiation, this happens, and it can't be stopped.

The color change is so subtle on oak furniture that most people won't even notice it's happening. They might be able to get it if they buy a set piece by piece or wait a few years to see if they can find a matching one. It is usually wise to get a whole set at once because of this.

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How Commonly Is Oak Wood Used?

Is Oak Wood Right for You

Due to its long lifespan, ease of working with, and inherent beauty, oak wood is highly regarded for its usage in furniture production, flooring, and cabinets.

Traditionally, white oak has been used to make wine barrels and boats because to its slight resistance to water. Oak barrels are a common choice for aging liquors.

While solid oak is the material of choice for the majority of mission furniture, cherry and maple are also popular choices (you'll notice that the majority of our item photographs include cherry furniture).

How Does Oak Wood's Grain Pattern Appear?

Is Oak Wood Right for You

Typically, oak wood has an irregular texture and a straight grain. But there are additional features of oak grain that set it apart. Pores are where white oaks get their water resistance, for instance. Tyloses completely encase them.

Red oak's pores are open and its cellular development is different. The rays that run parallel to the grain are another distinguishing feature of oak.

There are instances when red oak seems like someone drew dotted lines on the board with a dark pencil. White oak also has these markings, although they are often somewhat longer.

Is Oak a Variegated Hardwood or Softwood?

Is Oak Wood Right for You

Oak is a hardwood. This distinction doesnt refer to a woods ability to resist damage, though. It has to do with whether the wood came from a dicot or gymnosperm tree.

Leafy trees are typically from the dicot group, and so theyre all hardwoods. Others, such as pine and fir, are from the gymnosperm group, and thats why theyre called softwoods.

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Are you interested in choosing oak wood to be part of your home? Oak wood can be one of your options when choosing furniture or building materials with timeless quality. With regular maintenance, your oak furniture will surely last a long time and remain beautiful as new.

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