is red oak firewood always extra smoky

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No. Red oak wood is kind of pink. White oak wood is brown.

Not that I've noticed, and I've burned three or four cords of it in the last eight or ten years. Of course, any wood will smoke when burned if it's wet, or the fire doesn't have enough draft.

If the price is good, and the wood is dry, go for it. It's decent firewood. Not as good as hickory or hard maple, but it's good.

I think a boat made of red oak wouldn't float very well....
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On Wed, 13 Jan 2016 11:33:00 -1100, Electric Comet

Nope.

Red Oak has a lot of tanin so it does smell more when burned. Not sure why one would care, though. The stink goes outside. Wet Red Oak could easily be a no-no, though.

Red Oak is like a box of straws glued together. They don't build boats out of them, either.

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There are roughly 100 species of oak trees in the US. The color of the lumber is generally not a good indicator of whether a given oak is in the "red" group or the "white" group.
Boat builders favor white oak for two reasons: one is that it doesn't rot quickly since it doesn't absorb water easily (red oak rots very quickly if it's allowed to get wet). The other is that the live oaks fall into the white group, and they are far and away the best source of compass timbers.
Oaks of any kind make good firewood because it's fairly dense, and it splits easily.
John
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On 1/14/2016 5:04 PM, John McCoy wrote:

So to clarify,
Red Oaks have many kinds.
White Oak have many "kinds and Live Oaks" which have many kinds.
I always thought that the live oaks were probably some type of white oak.
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The tree that's usually called a "live oak" is a white oak. I think there are some red oaks which are evergreen.
Just wait until the Comet gets to Black Oak. There are three of them in the US, two are red and one is white.
John
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On 01/15/2016 3:06 PM, John McCoy wrote:

It's the Quercus Virginiana of the southeast. I know it's considered to be in the white oak category as far as wood properties because its pores contain tyloses which is what gives it (white oak, that is) its water-tightness and highly increased rot resistance as compared to the red oaks.
Back in the mid-90s or so I think it was(?) there was quite a lot of interest specifically for the purpose of doing restoration work on the USS Constitution. I recall reading some research articles done by FPL comparing various white oaks and Quercus Virginiana won hands down. It was so popular for boat-building back in the earlier days of the US when wood boats were all there were that it was the subject of the first US regulation in trade for a wood species (seems like that was like as early as in the 1780s or so, even although don't take it to be gospel but I'm not agonna' look it up at the moment <g>).
As far as I am aware all the live oaks are evergreens; that's why they're "live" :)

--



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That was specifically because of it's value as a source of compass timbers. For most purposes (including boat building) live oak isn't very good, because it doesn't usually have a long straight trunk. In the days of wooden ships, white oak (Q. Alba, etc) was normally used for planking, because you can get long planks from it (and it's desirable to minimize the number of plank joints). Framing was normally done with live oak.

Yes, all live oaks are evergreen. I'm not certain that all evergreen oaks are white oaks, however.
John
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On Fri, 15 Jan 2016 22:38:17 -0000 (UTC), John McCoy

Huh. I would have expected an evergreen oak to be green. ;-)
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I have half a dozen of these beauties (in the winter). However, they constantly shed leaves so it seems. Come spring off goes the winter set as the new set starts to pull in energy. Likewise in the Fall, the leave change out again - never all at once, but half and half. If rainfall is late, the leaves stay on - still working until a replacement set can be grown.
Interesting tree. The big Burr oak - Had one but it died in a storm. I think it might have rotted out with to much water. They are wide canopies something like ? 80 feet! ? From what I recall from the tag. I could grow several, but I want more than 3 or so trees!
Martin
On 1/15/2016 3:20 PM, dpb wrote:

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Live oaks keep their leaves all through summer, fall, and winter. And they stay green until they fall off of the tree in the spring. They are immediately replaced by new leaves. The falling off and new replacement all takes place in about 2- 3 weeks.

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The sub-species here dumps twice a year. Never any peace.
Martin
On 1/16/2016 7:25 AM, Leon wrote:

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On 1/15/2016 3:06 PM, John McCoy wrote:

Well that makes things confusing. LOL
It is common knowledge, common or not, that a live oak is called that because it's leaves are always green AND leaves only fall off in the Spring when the new leaves and pollen pushes the old green leaves off.
A real PIA as you can't leave those leaves on the ground very long all. The choke the new spring growth in the yard.
So now you say that there is a Red Oak that is evergreen that might categorize it as a Live Oak that is typically a White Oak. would those be Pink Oaks? ;~)

Sounds just like the scenario that I mentioned above.

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wrote:

Then you have pin Oaks
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On 1/15/2016 6:31 PM, Markem wrote:

Would that not be a type of white or red oak? I suspect actually maybe a white oak/live oak. Maybe not.
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wrote:

Most Pin Oaks I have seen are more bush than tree, but that was Colorado near Franktown.
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On 1/16/2016 9:23 AM, Markem wrote:

I see, sounds kinda like Mesquite trees down here in Texas. They are not an oak but are mostly shrub like near civilization. If you find old ones out in the country side they can become relatively large and yield some decent sized boards. BUT they grow very very slowly and you mostly see the small shrubs, those are good for cooking fire wood.
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On 01/16/2016 9:23 AM, Markem wrote:

...

Pin oak is one of the red oak group; its wood cells are ring porous (not tylose-filled as are the white oak group).

That's well out of it's native range which is from eastern KS to the east coast roughly bounded on north by top of IL, IN, OH and to the south by southern edged of TN to about the middle of the state then missing the Cumberlands and Smokeys to be about bottom of OH east. It's typically bottom-land and thus pretty damp so is regionally called "swamp oak" (as which I first knew it in SE KS where was prevalent where my mother was raised). In that range it can get to 60-ft easily but in the higher elevation of CO and much drier climate it'll struggle to get some real size, undoubtedly.
Much as I've tried numerous times to bring various oaks and maples and so on that were rampant as weed seedlings in VA and TN back to the farm and get them established, they just don't adapt well and none have survived more than a few years at most in our sandy soils and much less rain. It's just not possible to put enough into the ground to prevent the iron chlorosis for anything larger than a shrub long-term.
They can be confused with scarlet oak and black oak but the pin oak has unique characteristic dead branches on the lower trunk (the "pins") and also has in mature specimens a characteristic crown shape more similar to pines/conifers in a triangular profile than other oaks. The leaf is exceedingly shiny, also, deeply veined.
They were the most common ornamental in Mom's country but the wood is much inferior to "real" red oak as lumber, typically being full of small knots.
And, that's more than you wanted to know... :)
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On 1/16/2016 9:49 AM, dpb wrote:

;~) Well thank you for all of this information, it has been eye opening.
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On 01/16/2016 12:14 PM, Leon wrote: ...

Having grown up where trees were non-existent except for those planted around farmsteads and in towns(+), an almost all of what were there (other than the red-cedar which can be a weed even here altho it's also invaluable for windbreaks as one of the few things that can survive once established w/o continual irrigation) were mostly the junky Siberian and Chinese elm with a few hackberries and the very occasional other random hardwood. There were so few nut-bearing trees in town until just the last 20 year or so that there were no squirrels at all.
With that background, when got to S Central VA out of school and was surrounded by the hardwood forests of most any of the common furniture woods that were available straight from small independent mills at almost throwaway prices (I was buying "pick-thru" white oak, rift- or quarter-sawn at 10-cents a foot or less) the woodworking interest had had in high-school shop really bit. Consequently, at that time I did a lot of reading on and studying of trees and their woods both to be able to understand more of "what was good for what" as well as identify sawn lumber and the trees from which it came.
I remember a good amount of it; some I did pull out a reference for a refresher... :)
(+) Geezer story alert--proceed at own peril! :)
I mentioned SE KS where mother was raised on a farm on the Neosho River bottom ground. One fall when quite young we went on a visit to her family still in the area (altho her folks my grandparents obviously had given up in the 30s and moved to the Rio Grande valley among the first wave of the citrus cultivation there). Since all the trees were in spectacular fall color, my mother kept telling my brother and I in the back seat to "look at all the colors!" Supposedly I got up off the floor where we were playing cars and replied "There just trees and all they do is get in your eyes!" as my only idea of scenery was wide-open to the horizon flat country.
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On 1/16/2016 1:18 PM, dpb wrote:

Funny how you take things for granted. I did not notice much up until I bought a decent 35mm camera in 1976. Then and now I look at things much differently.
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