Strong, beautiful, easy to work, and economical — White Oak is as popular today as it was back in the American colonies. And not just for shipbuilding or as wine and whiskey barrels.
In fact, the species first entered the history books back in 1687, when Connecticut colonists hid their previously-granted Royal Charter in the cavity of a giant 800-year-old, White Oak tree to prevent the British from confiscating it. The ploy worked. The tree became known as the “Charter Oak.” And after King James II was overthrown, the Connecticut Charter was recovered and used to govern the colony/state until 1818.
Then, in the late 1700’s, White Oak joined the United States Navy — in the form of “Old Ironsides.” Literally. Along with other Oak lumber, White Oak was, in fact, used to build the USS Constitution, currently the world’s oldest ship of any type still afloat.
Fortunately, White Oak is as aesthetically pleasing as it is historic. A clean, elegant wood, it’s a greyish-brown tan color. And while the sapwood is paler, it’s not always clearly demarcated. White Oak’s grain is straight, with a coarse uneven texture. And when quarter cut, it displays prominent ray fleck patterns.
Delivering in every way you’d expect of a quality wood, White Oak is a popular choice for wood veneer, architectural plywood, cabinetry, flooring, boatbuilding, and barrels.
Eastern North America
Central North America
CITES Appendices: Not listed
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Listed as a species of least concern
Swamp White Oak (Quercus bicolor)
Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris)
Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea)
Southern Red Oak (Quercus falcata)
Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana)
Holm Oak (Quercus ilex)
California Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii)
Laurel Oak (Quercus laurifolia)
Overcup Oak (Quercus lyrata)
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Swamp Chestnut Oak (Quercus michauxii)
Japanese Oak (Quercus mongolica)
Water Oak (Quercus nigra)
Cherrybark Oak (Quercus pagoda)
Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)
Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea)
English Oak (Quercus robur)
Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii)
Bog Oak (Quercus spp.)
Brown Oak (Quercus spp.)
Post Oak (Quercus stellata)
Black Oak (Quercus velutina)
Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)