Hardwood 101 – Red Oak Lumber

Rift Sawn Red Oak Wood
Rift sawn red oak is ideal for table and chair legs

The Red Oak tree (also known as Quercus Rubra) can reach heights of 60 to 70 feet, with diameters of up to about 3 feet. It has white to very light brown sapwood and is usually 2 inches wide. Its heartwood is a light tan to pink with a reddish-brown tinge. Red oak is predominantly straight grained, with a coarse texture. Due to the smaller rays present in the wood, red oak has a somewhat less attractive figure than white oak. However, its figuring varies with quarter sawn red oak, which features a ray figured look with a flake pattern.

With a janka hardness of 1290, red oak is heavy, hard, tough, and strong. It has high crushing strength, medium bending strength, and medium stiffness. Red oak is considered a very good steam bending wood. It can be planed, sawn, turned, bored, and sanded well. It also stains and polishes to a good finish.


Plain Sawn Red Oak Wood
Plain sawn red oak lumber is a time honored wood.

Red oak is commonly used for railroad ties, furniture, cabinet making, interior joinery, domestic flooring, plywood, fence posts, paneling, and veneers. However, it is not suitable for exterior work.

If you need an example of the resilience of red oak, take a look at the shipwreck of a warship from the Mongol invasion fleet. The main anchor of the ship was fashioned out of red oak wood and stone.

Red oak is the economical choice when it comes to oak. For additional information about Red Oak, go to our website. There you can browse our online store and learn more about Red Oak lumber, Quarter Sawn Red Oak lumber, Red Oak thinwood, and Quarter Sawn Red Oak thinwood.

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