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White Oak

Wood Flooring Species

Scientific Name:

Quercus alba

Other Names and Species:

Basket Oak
Chestnut Oak
Cow Oak
Mountain Oak
North American White Oak
Rock Oak
Scandinavian Oak
Swamp Oak
Tanbark Oak

Origin:

The commercial domestic species of white oak are widely distributed throughout the United States.

Appearance:

The heartwood and sapwood of white oak are similar in appearance, which can have a white to cream to light brown color. The grain of white oak tends to have longer rays than red oak. These distinctive rays are what make white oak so prized for construction of “Mission” style furniture and woodwork.

Depending on whether the wood is plainsawn, riftsawn, or quartersawn, the grain of both red and white oak can have a plumed or flared appearance, a lighter grain pattern with low figuring, or a “flake” pattern that is referred to as “tiger rays” or “butterflies.” White oak shows much less variation than red oak.

Properties:

White oak is slightly harder than red oak, and also more durable. However, both types are notably stiff and dense, have high shock resistance, and resist wear. Because of the high concentration of tannic acid in white oak, it is particularly resistant to fungi and insects.

Janka Hardness: 1360

White oak has a ranking of 1360 (compared to that of red oak, which is 1290).

Workability:

Both red and white oak have good resistance to splitting and excellent holding ability. White oak has better machining qualities than red oak. White oak can turn green or brown when the surface comes in contact with bleach or water-based finishes.

Principal Uses:

Oak is practically synonymous with high-quality, durable, and distinctively attractive wood floors. In addition, it is widely used in shipbuilding, furniture and veneers, kegs and casks, truck and trailer beds, caskets, paneling, and mining timbers. Oak also makes a nice-burning fuel wood, and it yields tannin for the formulation of dyes.

Other Oak Species:


Learn more about available grades of White Oak hardwood flooring:

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