oak, or not. . .

that is the question. What is the difference, if any, between so called Appalachian oak and Southern oak. I have been quoted a difference of around a buck a bdft. I googled it but since I am not nor will be in any forestry business replies were all but meaningless.
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SwampBug asks:

What kind of oak? Where it grows MAY (and may not) make much difference in the way a wood looks or works. Appalachia, anyway, is mostly in the south (I know, I know, it does continue on up to where I am now and into Pennsy). For the most part, it's a claim that mountain grown wood is better than that grown on the flatland. I've never been able to tell the difference, but that may be me. I wouldn't pay nickel one extra.
Check and make sure that you're getting the same type of oak, though. Red oak and white oak are quite different in both appearance and working qualities, and the price is also different (white oak is normally higher).
Charlie Self "Health food makes me sick." Calvin Trillin
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Sorry Charlie. . .red oak. I was quoted for Southern Red oak 1 face 1 edge clean, $1.90/bdft, for Appalachian it was around a buck more/bdft. It isn't much either way and I may go with s4s but I was genuinely curious as to the difference in the two 'flavors'. <s>
-- SwampBug - - - - - - - - - - - -

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FWIW an old mentor of mine preferred northern hardwoods in general as he thought the winter freezing cycles made for more interesting figuring of grains, rays etc. His spin was based on the idea of wind "exercising " a frozen tree during winter made for better growth cycles. But you must keep in mind those conversations were generally held over a beer..
EJ
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Eric Johnson responds:

Or six. Winter freeze cycles may affect the tree's growth and figure, but...it's generally dormant during winter, which also reduces the chance that freezing in winter makes for better growth cycles, I would think.
When I was a kid, I recall some nights cold enough for the sap to explode in the trees, creating all sorts of messes, from minor to major. But I don't think it really improved the figure.
Charlie Self "Health food makes me sick." Calvin Trillin
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"Charlie Self" muttered: Or six. >>> teen I was referring to carpenters after all.....
EJ
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Someone can correct me if I am wrong but as I understand it trees in colder climates have slower growth and hence smaller, tighter growth rings, making for a slightly denser wood. I have a nice red oak in Alberta, that is 20 years older than one my brother has in his back yard in Ontario and his tree is almost double the size. Same species from what I can tell by the leaves. and wood grain pattern. Also affected by the height above sea level. Higher up, slower growth. Don't know if this is a realistic comparison though. Just my two cents. I think I remember reading it somewhere though.
John V

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Forgetting all the interim chat...$1.90/bdft???
...pack the kids...I think I gotta move...

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I hear ya. . .that is why I am curious about the the diff in the two mentioned 'flavors'. This is S2S lumber. I have not seen it yet.
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From what I have seen, the northern species of hardwoods are much more suited for furniture making than the southern ones. Southern being Savanna, GA or so. Logging companies down there will not use large oaks for furniture, saying the wood is only good enough for pallets or rail road ties, the reason being that it is too soft. Hardwoods are shipped in from more northern areas of the country.
From the other posts, I too have read somewhere that the colder climates make for a better hardwood.
Jeff
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jeffro writes:

It does grow more slowly because of the shorter growing season. That tends to make it a bit more dense.
But there's also a good chance those guys down in 'Bama and surrounds are hitting what we call scrub oak, basically ye olde garbage trees that are a poor quality tree to start with, and get really bad when summers are really hot.
I'd look at the wood and get a couple sample pieces to play with before I'd fork over a buck a board foot difference.
As an incidental point, red oak makes absolutely shitty railroad ties. From what I've seen, most bridge timbers and railroad ties are SYP in the south.
Charlie Self "Health food makes me sick." Calvin Trillin
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote in message

I think it was "water oak" or something. I am not sure of how great it is, but that is what they said they were doing with it all. Mostly pallets though.
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Jeffro writes:

Arkansas oak, or Quercus arkansana. Not durable, so not suitable for ties, though it could be treated. Otherwise, pretty much like other red oaks in classification, and probably not easily separated after it is milled.
Charlie Self "Health food makes me sick." Calvin Trillin
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Recently read that the latest theory about the quality of older european violins, (Strads, ect) is that the wood the old master luthiers used, grew in a "mini ice age" that occured in europe in the century before that did their work. Overall temps being much lower than normal trees grew more slowly. So, the wood from these trees, had grain more dense than on trees that grew later, producing superior quality sound. Historically, the quality was attributed to the finish appled, the formulas of which are unknown. Just thought some might find this interesting. Mike in Arkansas
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The problem with oak is there's about a billion different species, all of which get lumped into either "white oak" or "red oak". I'd guess your "southern" oak is from one of the several species of evergreen oaks (turkey oak, pin oak, water oak, etc). These tend to produce astoundingly hard, dense, and rather ugly lumber.
For furniture or cabinetry, I'd go with the Applachian, unless I could see samples of the southern first.
John
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Interesting, I have surfed the net for examples of those two 'flavors' and have yet to see a pic of either. I was beginnng to wonder if they were real 'flavors'. <s>
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SwampBug wrote:

If I can add my useless thoughts to this conversation: I've heard some folks 'round here refer to Southern Oak as Swamp and/or live oak (non-technically). I went to one place here in Florida where they ship hundreds of thousands of BF of oak to Pennsylvania furniture manufactures each year. They had live oak in the stacks.
When I asked the owner why such a large furniture manufacturer (with a good reputation) would buy live oak, he answered, "At $.90/BF they can afford to throw the bad stuff away and it's still cheap to them."
<cheap Plug> Anyway, I've got a bunch of 4/4 Appalachian air-dried red & white oak for sale at $1.25/BF [all FLAT-SAWN] if anyone wants to pick some up from me. </cheap Plug>
Cheers, Gary
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Well, I would prolly pick some up but Fla. is a bit too far, even for cheap. . .er. . .I mean, 'inexpensive' quality oak. <s> Culling is what I have been doing with so-called swamp cypress. If I cut it , I better be ready to nail it down or else it turns into a pretzel or some such! Just thought I'd try some better wood. Seems I may have to keep looking and fatten up the piggy bank! <g> -- SwampBug - - - - - - - - - - - -

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