Sunday, December 15, 2013

Red Oak

Continuing on our tour de wood species: Red Oak...

Red oak is one of America's most common hardwoods. It's hard, with a Janka Hardness rating of 1,290. It's commonly available and isn't too expensive. You can find plywood veneered in red oak for reasonable prices as well. It is easily one of the most common woods in kitchen cabinets, household trim, molding, and doors.

In its natural color, red oak is a light tan with faint reddish hue:

Red Oak - unfinished
With varnish it darkens the tan color slightly, and doesn't do much to accentuate the redness.

It takes stain, and commonly is stained to a darker color:

Red oak - stained "dark walnut"
However, some people dislike how red oak takes stain. Red oak is an "open grained" wood. That means that the grain of the wood is porous. If you look closely at a piece of red oak you can see that the surface isn't glassy smooth; it's broken up by pores that were sliced through. (Contrast this to maple, which is an example of a closed-grain wood). Because red oak is open grained, the stain soaks into the wood unevenly. The grain pattern is accentuated, the openings in the grain take more stain and appear darker. Some people don't like this. You can fill the pores, sealing them, so that when you stain the outcome is a more even coloration. Personally, I kind of like seeing the grain accentuated, but it's a matter of design and taste.

I'll update this post with more pictures as I get them.

No comments:

Post a Comment