Working with oak - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-09-2010, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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Working with oak

Hi all, I'm new to this site and have a question about working with oak.
I am about to start making some shelving units with American white oak legs and supports. I intend to tap some zinc alloy threaded inserts into the oak but have been told that the oak may corrode them! Does anyone know if this is true?
Many thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-09-2010, 07:23 AM
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I assume you are talking about dried, ready to work oak??? I see no problem with what you describe. The only common wood that does that to fasteners is pressure treated wood, and that is not generally used for furniture.
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-09-2010, 07:30 AM
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Just FYI, depending on what source you use, you can identify somewhere between 300 and 600 species of the genus Quercus that are all oak, so your categorization of the wood as "oak" is not as helpful as you might think.

Now, granted, you can't tell most of those species apart outside of a lab (unless you have the tree itself and are an expert on bark and leaves and such), but still, it's common to at least distinguish among red oak, white oak, and live oak.

Now all of that was just to prove what a smart-ass I am (as TT and others will gleefullly confirm), but is pretty much irrelevant to your question since as far as I know all of the oaks respond poorly (they stain) in the presence of ferrous metal combined with moisture).

What do they do around non-ferrous metals? As far as I know, nothing. It's the iron that causes the stain-inducing reaction.

So all of that was my roundabout and long-winded way of saying "not 100% positive but I'm pretty sure you won't have a problem with zinc".

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post #4 of 10 Old 04-09-2010, 07:34 AM
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not sure if the US oak differs to our english oak, but we tend to use brass fittings or stainless steel when working with oak as the oils in the wood tend to react with ferrous metal fittings.
zinc should be fine too
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-09-2010, 07:35 AM
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lol ah, think paul just beat me to it, and explained it 10 times better too! lol
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-09-2010, 08:26 AM
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Many Oaks (and Walnut and Mahogany for example) are high in tannic acid. It's extract was/is used for tanning animal hides...hence "tanned leather". The acid when sourced with iron from the moisture in the tree, or water, or from iron sources, forms a chemical reaction.

I use mostly brass fittings. Stainless fittings will also work, but are more expensive.






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post #7 of 10 Old 04-09-2010, 08:42 AM Thread Starter
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Many thanks for the advice and the laugh I got. It's very much appreciated.
The zinc alloy fixings I have should do the trick. Making one for myself first and will keep an eye on it!

Thanks again...
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-09-2010, 09:15 AM
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Excluding finished furniture in climate controlled environments

Just so you know, Zink will protect the screw or nail for only so long when acidic wood and moisture are together, worse still near the ocean (doesn't need to be wet high humidity will suffice)

Over extended periods salts and acids provide the break down which is like a form of electrolysis
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post #9 of 10 Old 04-09-2010, 10:17 AM
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What is the purpose of the threaded inserts?
If for joining, maybe a mprtise and tenon or some other joint would work just as well.

Tony B Retired woodworker, among other things.


"Strive for excellence and settle for completion" Tony B
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-09-2010, 11:25 AM
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Brass inserts are really really cheap. I use them to install guitar necks without worrying about long time corrosion or rust.
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