Friday, September 18, 2015


Oak wood is one of the most valued and desired types of wood for three seats and flooring but there are several types of oak wood and not all are the same. For that reason it is highly important to be well informed about different types of oak wood, their properties and uses because carefully chosen oak furniture, for instance, can last for several generations.
Like its name suggests, oak wood is obtained from oak but there are over 600 oak species and not all of them are used for furniture making and flooring only. Oak genus includes large deciduous oak trees most people are familiar with as well as small shrub-like species. All oak species are native to northern hemisphere from cold latitudes to tropical areas of Asia and America but not all of them are used for wood. Oak trees are hardwoods which mean that they are strong and hard yet easy to work with which makes oak wood very useful for both furniture making and a variety of other wood objects. In addition, oak wood is one of the densest naturally occurring materials, while high content of tannin makes it resistant to both fungal diseases and insects. It has a density of about 0.75 grams per cubic centimeter. For example, pine wood has a density of 0.43 grams per cubic centimeter.

Oak wood has been highly valued since the middle Ages for its strength and durability as well as highly attractive grain markings when quarter-sawn. It has been used for garden furniture making, staircase designs and construction as well as interior paneling. One of the finest examples is the oak panels in the debating chamber of the House of Commons. Oak wood from species Quercus petraea and Quercus robur was also used in shipbuilding until the 19th century when wood was slowly replaced by iron and other metals.

Both European and American oak species are also used for making barrels for ageing of a number of wines, brandy, and whiskey including Scotch whiskey, while the bark of Cork oak (Quercus suber) that grows in the Mediterranean countries is used for making corks. Of the American species, the Northern red oak (Quercus rubra) and White Oak (Quercus alba) are the most sought after. The Northern red oak is particularly valued for its highly attractive color  but it is not appropriate for outdoor use such as garden furniture because its large openings make it vulnerable to fungal infestation.

Of the European oak trees, wood from Quercus robur also known as English Oak (although it is found in most parts of Europe and even North Africa) is the most popular oak wood for interior use and park furniture because of its durability and highly attractive dark and light brown rings. Quercus petraea or the Sessile oak, on the other hand, is more popular for making wine barrels and timber framing.

Oak wood has one disadvantage. Oak trees mature very slowly, white the acorns that contain seeds do not appear until the oak tree is mature and may take many years before start growing which is why oak wood is relatively expensive


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