White Oak

Quercus alba

Appearance

Oak White

Shown with water-based finish (top), and oil-based finish (bottom)

Color: Heartwood is light brown; some boards may have a pinking tint or a slight grayish cast. Sapwood is white to cream.

Grain: Open, with longer rays than Red Oak. Occasional crotches, swirls and burls. Plainsawn boards have a plumed or flared grain appearance; riftsawn has a tighter grain pattern, low figuring; quartersawn has a flake pattern, sometimes called tiger rays or butterflies.

Species & Grade Variations: Considerable variation among boards in color and grain texture, but variations not as pronounced as in Red Oak.

Properties

Hardness (Janka): 1360; 5% harder than Northern Red Oak.

Dimensional Stability: Average (change coefficient .00365, 1% morestable than Red Oak).

Durability: More durable than Red Oak. Tannic acid in the wood protects it from fungi and insects.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Excellent machining qualities.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily.

Nailing: Good resistance to splitting; excellent holding ability.

Finishing: Absorbs finishes more evenly than Red Oak. Does not bleach well.

Comments: During the finishing process, tannins at the surface can react with some liquids to turn the wood green or brown. This effect tends to be more pronounced with products that have a high water content, such as bleach and water-based finishes.

Cost

(Relative to plain sawn select Red Oak)
Multiplier: 0.95

Availability

Commodity item, available in nearly all types, styles and sizes of flooring, including parquet, strip, plank and veneer, both unfinished and prefinished.