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Technical Information - Types of Timber


Oak (American White)

Wood type Hardwood
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 oak, 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. 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.
Treatability Extremely difficult
Moisture Movement Medium
Density 770kg/m3
Chemical Properties Acidic nature, iron staining may occur in damp conditions. May also corrode metals.
Texture Medium  
Use(s) Heavy structural use, Joinery - Exterior, Joinery - Interior, Furniture, Flooring
Colour(s) White/cream, yellow/ brown