I bought 300bf of mixed hardwoods for $100 on ebay. Guy said his
grandfather cut it up 40 years ago and it has sat in a shed ever since.
I have planed about half of it and it is red oak, white oak, and walnut.
(It was advertised as walnut, but for the price I can excuse that;
especially since the ad said it was 100bf.)
One piece has grain and rays like white oak, but it is very dark; the color
of white oak, but the darkness of walnut. It also has numerous very small
pockets of decay. (the rest of the white oak in the lot is normal and no
I have heard of European Brown Oak, but never seen it. Could this be white
oak with the same type of fungus? Is there such a thing?
One piece of red oak has whirly curly grain like I've never seen before. It
is going to make an interesting something; a plate?
I've seen similar white oak as well. Not absolutely sure of the
cause(s), but can be quite attractive, best I could describe it would
be similar to fuming. In at least some instances it occurs in live
wood (not after cut) as have seen it in lumber from a log I know was
cut directly from the stump.
Reaction-wood, perhaps? Looks almost like a curly maple effect?
Similar can also be burl or a large wound like growth recovery around a
large broken branch. As you say, once in a (very) rare while...
A wondrous thing of wood--it never ceases to amaze... :)
Looks more like pommelle bubinga than curly maple. If I were to guess, I
think it is a crotch from the way the grain runs, but I could be wrong.
Sadly, it is only about 8" by 8", and the bottom side (about 1.75" thick)
looks pretty normal. Have to be careful with what I do with it.
I use a fair bit of SW English brown oak. Here's some (no finish, other
than oil and wax)
There's no reason why brown oak is particularly rot prone, and it was
used for hard-wearing flooring for many years, when darker oaks just
weren't fashionable for furniture. Nowadays this recycled flooring
carries a premium price! One thing you do find though is that the
poorer grade boards are striped with brown, not solid. I believe that
you're not looking at the fungus itself, but rather the byproducts of
it, carried up the trunk. If this striping is attractive it's sometimes
called "tiger oak" (sometimes quartersawn heavily rayed oak gets the
same name). If it's unattractive, it's called firewood.
The last batch of QSWO I bought has one end of an 9' board that is dark
brown (a piece about 2' x 6"), with pithy, almost decayed pockets close to
one edge where there is still some bark. The bark shows stress and is almost
powdery in some areas. When you put a slat ripped off this end next to one
ripped off the other end, it almost looks stained.
The other end, about 7' away, is definitely white oak. ;)
I'm thinking you're seeing the same thing.
Spalted Oak did you say????
I salvaged a small log from a Southern Live Oak harvested here in South
Florida when I was clearing the lot for my home. (I am told that southern
live oak was used for building ships in the colonial days) I put one of the
logs in a black plastic bag and sealed it up for about 12 months. When I
removed the log and proceeded to saw it into quarters, I was amazed at the
spalting that had occurred. Mostly light chocolate brown, with black streaks
along with white soft punky wood. Some of it was a little too unstable and
when I turned a few pieces on the lathe, they required some CA glue for
stabilization. I made several mirrors and bandsaw boxes and wish I had
several more logs.... Here is a sample of the results:
Dennis Slabaugh, Hobbyist Woodworker
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