Red oad vs. white oak

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Is there a sure way of telling the difference? I've seen some wood that claims to be red oak that looked pretty white. Also, are there any good reasons to use one rather than the other?
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Red oak is more porous, and courser texture. . It does have a redder cast to it if you look at the two side by side. White oak is often more tan.
White oak is more weather resistant and a better choice for outdoor projects.
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Warren wrote:

The cell structure of red oak is like being composed of a bunch of hollow tubes. You can blow through a piece of red oak. Try this with white oak and you'll pop your ear drums.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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wrote:

Look at the leaves. Red oaks are one of those species that contain anthocyanins so they go bright red in the fall, not just a faded brown. That's where the name comes from.
If the leaves are green, then oaks have readily identifiable lobed leaves. Red oaks have sharp points to the lobes, white oaks are rounded. Be careful though, as there are a great many minor oak species and it's easy to miss one of these.
As to the timber, then you should be able to Google a few pictures. They're generally quite easily distinguished, but the crucial thing is to look at the longitudinal vessels. In white oak these are blocked by bubble-like tyloses. in red oaks they're clear.

Because of the open vessels, you can't make waterproof boats or barrels with red oak. Red oak is also a "coarser" looking timber and not generally used for cabinetry.
--
Smert' spamionam

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Andy Dingley wrote:

Interesting. There's an enormous tree near here. The leaves have rounded lobes, and they turn bright red in fall. It's about 80' tall with huge laterals running parallel to the ground, up to maybe 14" in diameter. Because of the brachiation and the lobes on the leaves, I have always assumed it was a white oak.
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On Sun, 16 Jan 2005 21:03:59 -0500, Silvan

Then I'd guess it's a red oak. They often have leaves with a rounded outline to the lobes, but there's a sharp point to the tip of them (you might feel this better than seeing it). The ones with the "pointed lobes" but without the spike are more usually the minor species.
This is for the UK though - oaks are hard enough to identify anyway, without trying to guess those on another continent without a picture.
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Geez, I hope this is a troll! http://www.woodmagazine.com/wood/story.jhtml?storyid=/templatedata/wood/story/data/136.xml
One way to tell red oak from white it to taste the acorns. White is usually edible raw, while red must be boiled to remove the tanin.
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So what do you do with a Live Oak acorn?
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When I was in Yosemite I read that live oak acorns were the indians' staple food. Anyhow, I "think" they are okay to eat raw; but since we don't have them in the frigid Northeast I have never tried them. Even if not edible, they are not poisonous; they will just be too bitter to eat. When boiled to remove the tanin, black oak acorns are too tasteless to eat, though they are nutritious.
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Cool. We had barrels full this fall.
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yep.. they used to grind acorns into a kind of flour... did you get a chance to see any of the grinding rocks while you were there?
mac
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Andy Dingley wrote:

That is going to come as a shock to the *quite* large amount of cabinetry around here that is built with Red Oak. White Oak is rare around here; red oak is common as dirt. I think you may have made a little too wild generalization there...
PK
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Andy Dingley responds:

I'll buy coarser, but "not generally used for cabinetry" may be true in England. It sure isn't, and hasn't been, in the U.S. I'd guess roughly 75% of the oak furniture and cabinetry I've seen is red oak, extending backwards in time to Victorian pieces.
These days, when you order oak cabinets, the odds are you're going to get red oak.
Coarseness, the openness of the grain, is reduced with fillers.
Charlie Self "One of the common denominators I have found is that expectations rise above that which is expected." George W. Bush
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"Charlie Self" wrote in message

red
A local hardwood supplier has his S2S1E bins of red and white oak side by side. Folks, being sloppy, often mix them up and you'll find red oak in the white oak bin quite often ... but rarely the other way around.
Always wondered how much red oak is bought that way.
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Swingman responds:

Around here, most red oak, but not all, is pinkish, while the white oak tends towards a light tan. There are enough variants in color to make it very, very easy to mistake what you're picked up. Unless you're building for weather resistance, my guess is that it doesn't make a whole lot of difference in the end result if the two woods are close enough in appearance to be mistaken for each other. But if weather resistance is needed, red oak is nearly useless, while if bending is needed it is the easist to use (but the smart woodworker will probably grab ash for its near-oak appearance and super great bendability).
Charlie Self "One of the common denominators I have found is that expectations rise above that which is expected." George W. Bush
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Must be Hardwood Products. They keep the S4S Red and White Oaks that way too. Me being slopy pulled out 50 LF of White Oak thinking I was pulling Red and Steve pointed out before he cut the 12' pieces in half that I had White Oak. I looked back up at him and the bin and saw W. Oak. I said OH! the "W" stands for White, I was thinking WED Oak. I smiled and bought the White. I am just going to paint it anyway. LOL
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Damn, I meant Hardwood Lumber.
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"Leon" wrote in message

Clark's Hardwood Lumber Co. over in the Heights ... same thing.
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All the others are true, but the biggest difference in appearance is the relative size of the rays in white oaks. Much larger overall. Check the split and white'll show a lot more bright ray.
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(1) Get it wet (i.e. spit on it). White oak stays about the same color when wet, red oak get much pinker.
(2) Smell it. White oak smells like swamp gas to me.
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