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Red Oak(Quercus rubra)

Red Oak like most of the North American Oaks is very hearty and grows quite large, which results in high availability and affordable pricing. Red Oak is a strong species that bends rather well due to its open grainstructure.

Because Red Oak has such a large growth range, inconsistencies do arise among the trees. Sapwood should be avoided in Red Oak, but since sapwood is often overlooked during grading, careful inspection is necessary to prevent wastage of your product.

It should be noted that due to its high level of tannins, Red Oak will corrode steel fasteners; this can then cause staining of the wood over time. This same staining can occur when water-based glues and steel clamps are used, so care should be taken during assembly to avoid these products.

Because of open pores and grain, Red Oak will finish well, but a uniform surface can sometimes be hard to obtain without pore filler. Red Oak wood will stain nicely, however, because it has so many pores to capture and hold pigment.

With its availability and low cost, Red Oak lumber is used in a wide range of applications. Red Oak is commonly used by retail stores for shelves, molding, and merchandising fixtures.

Color/Appearance:Heartwood is a light to medium brown, commonly with a reddish cast nearly white to light brown. Sapwood is not always sharply demarcated from the heartwood. Quarter sawn sections display prominent ray fleck patterns.

Grain/Texture:Grain is straight, with a coarse, uneven texture.

Rot Resistance:Rated as non-durable to perishable, with poor insect resistance. Red Oaks donot have the level of decay and rot resistance that White Oak possesses.

Workability:Produces good results with hand and machine tools. It responds well to steam-bending. Glues, stains and finishes well.

Pricing/Availability:Abundant availability in a good range of widths and thicknesses, both as flat sawn and quarter sawn lumber. Prices are moderate, though thicker planks or quarter sawn boards are slightly more expensive.

Common Uses:Cabinetry, furniture, interior trim, flooring, and veneer.

Red Oak Specifications


Rated slightly to non-resistant to heartwood decay, moderately easy to treat with preservatives.

Main uses

Construction, furniture, flooring, architectural interiors, internal joinery and mouldings, doors, kitchen cabinets, paneling, coffins and caskets. Not suitable for tight cooperage. Red oak can vary in color, 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.