Oak, American white

Latin name: Quercus spp, Quercus alba, Quercus prinus, Quercus montana, Quercus lyrata, Quercus michauxii

 

Also known as: American white oak (Q. alba), chestnut oak (Q. prinus, Q. montana), overcup oak (Q. lyrata), swamp chestnut oak (Q. michauxii)


Wood Type:

Hardwood

Durability:

Moderately durable

Treatability:

Extremely difficult

Moisture Movement:

Medium

Density (mean, Kg/m³):

770

Texture:

Medium

Availability:

Readily available at timber merchant

Price:

Medium

Chemical Properties:

Acidic nature, iron staining may occur in damp conditions, may also corrode metals

Use(s):

Heavy structural use, Joinery - Exterior, Joinery - Interior, Furniture, Flooring

Colour(s):

White/cream, Yellow brown (Pale yellow to mid-brown)

Notes on terms used navigation-arrow

Introduction

The Fagacae family includes some fifty species of the genus Quercus, producing the true oaks of North America, but many of these are so small in size or found in such limited quantities that they are of no commercial importance. Some twenty species are important but since it is difficult to distinguish between the wood of individual species it is common practice to group them either as red or white oak. White oak group timbers are characterised by the small, late-wood pores fine and numerous, not easily distinguished without a magnifying glass. Large pores of the heartwood filled with tyloses in heartwood.

 

Environmental

Not listed in CITES. Believed available from well-managed sources. Check certification status with suppliers.

 

Distribution

From southern Quebec and Ontario to eastern Minnesota and Iowa, extending eastward to the Atlantic and southward through the lower western slopes of the Allegheny and Appalachian Mountains.

 

The tree

The white oaks vary in size and form according to species and soil conditions, some are unsuitable for timber production. But others vary in height from 15m to 30m, well-grown specimens having a clear cylindrical bole of up to 15m with a diameter of about 1.0m.

 

The timber

Although generally resembling European oak, American white oak is more variable in colour, ranging from pale yellow-brown to pale reddish-brown, often with a pinkish tint. The multi-seriate rays are generally higher than those of the red oaks producing a more prominent and attractive silver-grain figure on quarter-sawn surfaces. The grain is generally straight, and the texture varies from coarse to medium coarse. As with the red oaks, the quality depends greatly on the conditions of growth; slowly-grown northern white oak usually being lighter in weight and milder, than that from the southern states.


The Appalachian Mountains used to provide beautiful mild white oak greatly esteemed for furniture and cabinet-making, but much of this forest area has been destroyed in recent years due to open-cast coal mining activities. Southern white oak is typically fast grown, and with its wide growth-rings is relatively coarse and more suited to constructional use. White oak weighs about 770 kg/m³ when dried.

 

Drying

Like all the true oaks the timber dries slowly, with a tendency to split, check and honeycomb.

 

Strength

It compares fairly closely with European oak in general strength, but on the whole, its higher density provides rather higher strength.

 

Working qualities

Medium - Variable in working properties according to rate of growth, slow-grown material being easier to work than fast-grown, but either type can be finished smoothly if care is taken. A reduction of cutting angle to 20º is often helpful in planing. The timber can be glued, stained and polished, and takes nails and screws well.

Suppliers

A C Timber Solutions Ltdnavigation-arrow

Ely

Abbey Woodsnavigation-arrow

Dublin 13

Brooks Bros (UK) Limitednavigation-arrow

Maldon

Burton, E O & Co Limitednavigation-arrow

Brentwood

Capricorn Eco Timbernavigation-arrow

Stafford

Chadwicks (Mowbray Drive) Limitednavigation-arrow

Blackpool

Champion, A W Limitednavigation-arrow

New Malden

Chaunceys Timber Flooringnavigation-arrow

Bristol

Cranwood Industriesnavigation-arrow

Warrenpoint

Enfield Speciality Doorsnavigation-arrow

Enfield

Fleming Buildbasenavigation-arrow

Aberdeen

Gilmour & Aitkennavigation-arrow

Alexandria

Harlow Bros Limitednavigation-arrow

Loughborough

International Timbernavigation-arrow

Manchester

iWood Timber Ltdnavigation-arrow

Stafford

James Latham plcnavigation-arrow

Hemel Hempstead

Mid-Sussex Timber Co Limitednavigation-arrow

Forest Row

Morgan Timbernavigation-arrow

Rochester

NHG Timber Limitednavigation-arrow

Croydon

Quinn Hardwoods Ltdnavigation-arrow

Dublin

Thorogood Timber Limitednavigation-arrow

Colchester

Timber Focusnavigation-arrow

Manchester

Timbmetnavigation-arrow

Stanford in the Vale

Vincent Timber Ltdnavigation-arrow

Birmingham

W. L. West & Sons Ltdnavigation-arrow

Petworth

Watford Timber Co Limitednavigation-arrow

Watford

Suppliers

Watford Timber Co Limitednavigation-arrow

Watford

W. L. West & Sons Ltdnavigation-arrow

Petworth

Vincent Timber Ltdnavigation-arrow

Birmingham

Timbmetnavigation-arrow

Stanford in the Vale

Timber Focusnavigation-arrow

Manchester

Thorogood Timber Limitednavigation-arrow

Colchester

Quinn Hardwoods Ltdnavigation-arrow

Dublin

NHG Timber Limitednavigation-arrow

Croydon

Morgan Timbernavigation-arrow

Rochester

Mid-Sussex Timber Co Limitednavigation-arrow

Forest Row

James Latham plcnavigation-arrow

Hemel Hempstead

iWood Timber Ltdnavigation-arrow

Stafford

International Timbernavigation-arrow

Manchester

Harlow Bros Limitednavigation-arrow

Loughborough

Gilmour & Aitkennavigation-arrow

Alexandria

Fleming Buildbasenavigation-arrow

Aberdeen

Enfield Speciality Doorsnavigation-arrow

Enfield

Cranwood Industriesnavigation-arrow

Warrenpoint

Chaunceys Timber Flooringnavigation-arrow

Bristol

Champion, A W Limitednavigation-arrow

New Malden

Chadwicks (Mowbray Drive) Limitednavigation-arrow

Blackpool

Capricorn Eco Timbernavigation-arrow

Stafford

Burton, E O & Co Limitednavigation-arrow

Brentwood

Brooks Bros (UK) Limitednavigation-arrow

Maldon

Abbey Woodsnavigation-arrow

Dublin 13

A C Timber Solutions Ltdnavigation-arrow

Ely