The difference between Red and White Oak - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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  • 4 Post By woodnthings
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-03-2019, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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The difference between Red and White Oak

There's always some question about when to use which type of oak in the builds here. Red Oak is much more plentiful, and therefore cheaper. White Oak can be used outdoors and weathers quite well. My son and I have built a tandem axle trailer and ordered the White Oak deck boards to be milled today.


This video explains the differences :
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 09-03-2019 at 07:16 PM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-03-2019, 07:47 PM
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Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, we used to buy red oak by the truckload. It was the cheapest hardwood around, and really the only one we could afford. By pooling our orders with friends, we saved a lot of money. The flatbed truck would tilt and dump hundreds of board feet of red oak on our driveway. My friends and I would divide up the order as fairly as we could. Everyone got a few of the widest boards, and a decent selection of the rest.

Back then, it seemed like all common wood furniture was made from red oak. If you didn't want to build it yourself, there were many shops with ready-made oak furniture, where you did the sanding and finishing. Often they supplied the workspace for apartment dwellers. I remember one store, called "Mr. Bare."

I am sick of red oak, and will choose almost anything other than that for my projects.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-03-2019, 10:35 PM
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Some of the white oak will smell like it came out of a hog pen at times. It is a very tight grained wood and heavier than red oak. (I haven't watched the video yet)
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-04-2019, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
Some of the white oak will smell like it came out of a hog pen at times. It is a very tight grained wood and heavier than red oak. (I haven't watched the video yet)

So true!
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-04-2019, 05:16 PM
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I agree with Tool Agnostic I could buy red oak for $.90 per bd foot, walnut was my fav but money said red oak


I have a pile of red oak probably 300 bd ft that is about 30 years old, I have moved twice and it is still there, when I move again I will either give it away or burn it


One thing that will impress the easily impressed is you can take a piece of red oak about 3 feet long put one end in water and blow through the other end and it will make the water bubble, very porous that is why is is so poor outside, it will soak up water like a sponge
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-04-2019, 06:04 PM
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the red oak around here, actually turns a sort of sun burned reddish color when rough sawn and left exposed to the sun for a few weeks. The rings are very close together as well.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-05-2019, 09:09 AM
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I like red oak better. I like the grain pattern, the coloring and it machines much easier. Price is not an issue with me. I used a lot of exotics when I had my shop and I loved the blend of red oak with padauk. So did some of my customers.

padauk top and drawer front, red oak legs and apron
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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx

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post #8 of 10 Old 09-05-2019, 11:24 AM
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After a while the paduak will get pretty dark red


I built a coffee table out of it, it is very dark after about 33 years
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-05-2019, 01:01 PM
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I recently saw 2 of my tables that were about 12 -15 years old. They were a coffee bean brown with red highlights and looked very rich. The same with some of my old bowls. Neither of the parties, wanted to strip and refinish the the tops and drawer faces.
My woodworking business included a lot of refinishing. If I were to refinish the top and drawer face, it would be about $70. Not much at all.
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post #10 of 10 Old 09-05-2019, 05:43 PM
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What I forgot to write was that neither of them wanted to refinish the tops and drawer faces because they like the way it looks now better than when it was bright red. So do I now.

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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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