In this Species Spotlight, Timber Products Company veneer specialist Eric Cullen shares his insight on Red Oak.
Overview: If there’s one thing to say about Red Oak (Quecus Rubra), it’s that the species does not have an identity problem. Since it does not mimic other species, Red Oak is specified for the qualities that it brings to the table. The northeast United States and southeast Canada are the main sources of Red Oak.
Appearance: Pale reddish color and a prominent grain. The grain usually prevents Red Oak from being used for painting or overlay purposes because the texture shows through. The heartwood for Red Oak is extremely desirable.
Uses: Used extensively in kitchen cabinets and furniture. Many distributors and big box stores usually stock it.
Trending: Currently, there’s an increase in demand for quarter-sawn Red Oak, which is prized for its flake. Red Oak is also commonly available in plain sliced, rift and quarter sawn, and rotary cut. Rift cut minimizes the flake and quarter slicing maximizes the appearance of the flake. The flake is a medullary, which is a dense cell. When you put a finish on the Red Oak the cell does not accept stain as much as the surrounding areas, and the flake becomes more prominent in appearance.
Did you know? Golden Narrow Heart Red Oak is selected for its golden color and the cathedrals are separated by an equal amount of straight grain for a very uniform appearance. It’s the opposite of rustic, which is more high-end.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.