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Blunting Effect
Boring
Carving
Common Names
Common Uses
Countries of Distribution
Cutting Resistance
Distribution Overview
Drying Defects
Ease of Drying
Environmental Profile
Family Name
Gluing
Grain
Heartwood Color
Kiln Schedules
Mortising
Moulding
Movement in Service
Nailing
Natural Durability
Numerical Data
Odor
Planing
Product Sources
References
Regions of Distribution
Resistance to Abrasion
Resistance to Impregnation
Response to Hand Tools
Routing & Recessing
Sanding
Sapwood Color
Scientific Name
Screwing
Staining
Steam Bending
Strength Properties
Substitutes
Texture
Trade Name
Tree Size
Turning
Veneering Qualities

Scientific Name
Quercus alba

Trade Name
White oak

Family Name
Fagaceae

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Common Names
Arizona oak, Arizona white oak, Cucharillo, Encino, Encino negro, Mamecillo, Oak, Roble, Roble amarillo, Roble colorado, Roble encino, Roblecito, Stave oak, White oak

Regions of Distribution
North America

Countries of Distribution [VIEW MAP]
Canada, United States

Common Uses
Even
Interlocked
Straight
Building materials, Cabinetmaking, Ceiling, Crossties, Decorative veneer, Domestic flooring, Exterior trim & siding, Exterior uses, Factory flooring, Figured veneer, Flooring, Furniture components, Furniture squares or stock, Interior construction, Interior trim, Light construction, Millwork, Moldings, Office furniture, Paneling , Parquet flooring, Railroad ties, Shakes, Sheathing, Shingles, Siding, Stair rails, Stairworks

Veneer

Environmental Profile
Widespread
Rank of relative endangerment based on number of occurences globally.
May be rare in some parts of its range, especially at the periphery
Globally secure
Data source is Nature Conservancy
Abundant


Distribution Overview
The geographical distribution of the White oaks, which include White oak (Q. alba), Chestnut oak (Q. prinus), Chingkapin oak (Q. muehlenbergii), Swamp chestnut oak (Q. michauxii), Swamp white oak (Q. bicolor), Bur oak (Q. macrocarpa), Post oak (Q. stellata), California white oak (Q. lobata), and Oregon white oak (Q. garryana), in North America includes Ontario, Quebec, Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. It is usually found in pure stands and prefers moist, well-drained upland and lowland areas.

The so-called classic White oak (Q. alba), grow from Maine to Texas in the United States.

Heartwood Color
Black
Brown
Yellow
Pink
Variable in color
Pinkish tinge


Light tan or pale yellow brown to pale or dark brown.
Variations in color and grain are considerable, but not as pronounced as in red oak

Sapwood Color
White
Brown
Red
Width varies
Whitish to light brown


Grain
Even
Figure
Open


Rays are longer than in red oak.
There are occasional crotches, swirls and burls, and plainswan boards have plumed or flare-grained appearance. The grain pattern is tighter, and figuring is usually lower in riftsawn lumber. Quartersawn material often have a flake pattern which are sometimes referred to as tiger rays or butterflies

Texture
Coarse
Medium
Medium to coarse


Natural Durability
Very durable
Heartwood has high resistance to decay

Logs are susceptible to severe attack by ambrosia beetles, and standing trees and logs are also readily attacked by forest longhorn or Butrespid beetles

Odor
No specific smell or taste


Kiln Schedules
US=Upland T4-C2/T3-C1
US=Lowland T2-C1


Drying Defects
Checking
Internal Honeycombing Possible
Collapse
Ring Shakes
Discoloration
Surface checks
Ring failure
Honeycombing possible
Gray sapwood stain
End splitting
Defects include:uneven moisture, chemical stains, iron stains, and are attributable to wetwood (usually in old growth)
Collapse


Ease of Drying
Slowly
Moderately Difficult to Difficult
Requires careful drying
Dries slowly
Difficult


Tree Size
Tree height is 10-20 m
Tree height is 20-30 m
Trunk diameter is 100-150 cm


Product Sources
Although commercial white oak consists of several species in the white oak group, Q. alba is the primary and most important source of timber in the group. White oak veneers are plentiful, and supplies of lumber are also abundant. Price of lumber is moderate, compared to other hardwoods.

Substitutes
For similar or superior strength properties: Wacapou (Vouacapoua americana), Courbaril (Hymanaea courbaril), Aramatta (Diplotropis purpurea), Tatajuba (Bagassa guianensis) in the green condition, Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata), Greenheart (Ocotea rodiaei), Determa (Ocotea rubra), Pau amarello (Euxylophora paraensis), Sapele (Entandrophragma cylindricum), Pear (Pyrus communis), Peroba rosa (Aspidosperma peroba), Yellow sanders (Buchenavia capitata), Nyolon (Pouteria izabalensis)

These species are also good substitutes for Oak: Movingui (Distemonanthus benthamianus), African pterygota (Pterygota bequaertii and P. macrocarpa) and Berlinia (Berlinia acuminata and B. grandiflora)

Blunting Effect
Moderate
Moderate dulling effect on cutting edges


Boring
Very good to excellent results
Responds well to peeling after proper softening
Bored surfaces usually clean

Number of borings with good to excellent results out of one hundred = 95

Carving
Fair to Good Results


Cutting Resistance
Easy to saw
Generally medium but is variable
Cross-Cutting and narrow-bandsawing are satisfactory


Gluing
Fair to Good Results
Fairly Difficult to Very Difficult
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Satisfactory gluing properties


Mortising
Very Good to Excellent Results
Very good mortising qualities

Percent of morised pieces yielding fair to excellent results = 99

Moulding
Difficult moulding qualities

Number of moulded pieces yielding good top excellent results out of one hundred = 35

Movement in Service
Fair to Good Stability - Medium Movement
Moderate dimensional stability after seasoning
Medium


Nailing
Pre-Boring Recommended
Fair to Good Results
Wood is hard
Pre-boring recommended

Number of nailed pieces free from complete splits out of one hundred = 69

Planing
Fair to Good Results
Fairly Difficult to Very Difficult
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Good planing properties
A cutting angle of 20 degrees is recommended


Average number of pieces out of one hundred producing perfect planing results = 87
Machining characteristics of white oak timbers are reported to vary with species and rate of growth. Softer timber from slow-growth trees are generally easier to work.

Resistance to Abrasion
High
Highly resistant to wear
Good for flooring


Resistance to Impregnation
Resistant sapwood
Resistant heartwood
Sapwood is moderately resistant
Heartwood responds poorly to preservative treatment

High natural resistance to decay allows the heartwood to be used outdoors without chemical protection.

Response to Hand Tools
Responds Readily


Timber from slow-growth white oak trees are softer and are easier to work with hand tools

Routing & Recessing
Very Good to Excellent Results


Sanding
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Fair to Good Results
Responds well

Number of pieces out of one hundred producing good to excellent sanded surfaces = 83

Screwing
Fair to Good Results
Pre-boring recommended
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Good screwing properties

Percent of screwed pieces free from complete splits = 74

Turning
Very Good to Excellent Results
Very good

Percent of fair to excellent turned pieces = 85

Veneering Qualities
Quartered veneers are often flake figured, while the very popular straight-line figure is a prominent feature in rift-cut veneer

Steam Bending
Very Good to Excellent Results
Exceptional resistance to harmful effects of weather
Defect free material bends to very small radius of curvature

Proper precautions should be taken to prevent chemical staining of steamed wood in contact with iron or steel. (Number of unbroken pieces out of one hundred = 91)

Staining
Fairly Difficult to Very Difficult


Reaction between tannins and liquid from some products, especially those with high water content such as bleach and water-based finishes, may turn the wood green or brown.

Strength Properties
Wear resistance is outstanding
Low stiffness
Crushing strength = medium
Bending strength (MOR) = medium

Working properties are reported to differ with the rate of growth of the tree: slow grown trees are easier to work with hand and machine tools. Faster growing southern trees are reported to produce harder timber than the slower growing Appalachian trees.

Numerical Data
ItemGreenDryEnglish
Bending Strength813414455psi
Crushing Strength6571049psi
Hardness1333lbs
Impact Strength4136inches
Maximum Crushing Strength34897291psi
Shearing Strength1960psi
Static Bending36264704psi
Stiffness122517441000 psi
Work to Maximum Load1115inch-lbs/in3
Specific Gravity0.590.67
Weight6045lbs/ft3
Radial Shrinkage5%
Tangential Shrinkage10%
Volumetric Shrinkage16%
ItemGreenDryMetric
Bending Strength5711016kg/cm2
Crushing Strength4673kg/cm2
Hardness604kg
Impact Strength10491cm
Maximum Crushing Strength245512kg/cm2
Shearing Strength137kg/cm2
Static Bending254330kg/cm2
Stiffness861221000 kg/cm2
Work to Maximum Load0.771.05cm-kg/cm3
Specific Gravity0.590.67
Weight961721kg/m3
Radial Shrinkage5%
Tangential Shrinkage10%

References
Boone, R.S., C.J. Kozlik, P.J. Bois and E.M. Wengert. 1988. Dry Kiln Schedules for Commercial Woods: Temperate and Tropical. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, General Technical Report FPL-GTR-57, Madison, Wisconsin.

California Department of Forestry. Comparative Physical & Mechanical Properties of Western & Eastern Hardwoods. Prepared by Forest Products Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California. n/d.

HMSO, 1981. Handbook of Hardwoods, 2nd Edition. Revised by R.H. Farmer. Department of the Environment, Building Research Establishment, Princes Risborough Laboratory, Princes Risborough, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

Jackson, A. and D. Day. 1991. Good Wood Handbook - The Woodworker's Guide to Identifying, Selecting and Using the Right Wood. Betterway Publications, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Kaiser, J. 1989. Wood of the Month: White Oak - Our Biggest Export is Popular Here Too. Wood & Wood Products, July, 1989. Page 76.

Kaiser, J. 1994. Wood of the Month: Oaks Loom in designs, Folklore and Symbolism. Wood and Wood Products, November, 1994. Page 52.

Kline, M. 1981. Quercus alba - White oak. In A Guide to Useful Woods of the World. Flynn Jr., J.H., Editor. King Philip Publishing Co., Portland, Maine. 1994. Page 302-303.

Little, E.L. 1980. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees - Eastern Region. Published by Arthur A. Knopf, New York.

NWFA. 1994..Wood Species Used in Wood Flooring. Technical Publication No. A200. National Wood Flooring Association, Manchester, MO.

Panshin, A.J. and C. deZeeuw. 1980. Textbook of Wood Technology, 4th Edition. McGraw-Hill Series in Forest Resources. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.

USDA. 1987. Wood Handbook:Wood as an Engineering Material. Agriculture Handbook No. 72. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Madison, Wisconsin.

USDA. 1988. Dry Kiln Operators Manual, Preliminary Copy. Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin.








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