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Red Oak


The sapwood of red oak is white to light brown and the heartwood is often a pinkish reddish brown. The wood is similar in general appearance to white oak, but with a slightly less pronounced figure due to the smaller rays and a more porous end grain structure. The wood is mostly straight grained with a coarse texture.

Other Names
Northern red oak, Southern red oak
Physical Properties
The wood is hard and heavy, with medium bending strength and stiffness and high crushing strength. It is very good for steam bending.
Main Uses
Construction, furniture, flooring, architectural interiors, internal joinery, stairs and mouldings, doors, kitchen cabinets, panelling and coffins. Not suitable for tight cooperage. Red oak can vary in colour, texture, characteristics and properties according to the growing region. It is therefore recommended that users and specifiers work closely with their suppliers to make sure the wood they order is suited to their specific needs.
Red oak machines well; nailing and screwing is good although pre-boring is recommended, and it can be stained and polished to a very good finish. It performs best when dried slowly, reducing the opportunity for degrade such as splits and warp. It has a high shrinkage and can be susceptible to movement in performance under variable moisture conditions.
Other Info
This attractive looking oak, that is widely available, is increasingly being chosen by designers and architects for furniture, joinery and flooring in export markets around the world. While some red oak can have a distinct pink or red colour, other supplies can appear very similar to white oak. This is especially true once a finish is applied, which results in more ‘mixed oak’ products.