Widespread throughout Eastern USA. The oaks are by far
the largest species group growing in the Eastern
hardwood forests. Red oaks grow more abundantly than the
white oaks. The red oak group comprises many species, of
which about eight are commercial.
The sapwood of red oak is white to light brown and the
heartwood is a pinkish reddish brown. The wood is
similar in general appearance to white oak, but with a
slightly less pronounced figure due to the smaller rays.
The wood is mostly straight grained, with a coarse
texture. The red oak tree gets its name because of the
colour of the leaves in the 'fall' (Autumn).
Red oak machines well, nailing and screwing is good
although pre-boring is recommended, and it can be
stained and polished to a good finish. It dries slowly
with a tendency to split and warp. It has a high
shrinkage and can be susceptible to movement in
The wood is hard and heavy, with medium bending strength
and stiffness and high crushing strength. It is very
good for steam bending. Southern red oak has a more
rapid growth than Northern red oak and tends to be
harder and heavier.
Specific Gravity: a) 0.63 (12% M.C.) b) 0.68
Average Weight: a) 705 kg/m3 (12% M.C.) b) 753 kg/m3
Average Volumetric Shrinkage: a) 10.8 (Green to 6% M.C.) b) N/A
Modulus of Elasticity: a) 12,549 MPa b) 15,721 MPa
Hardness: a) 5738 N b) 6583 N
a) Quercus rubra (Northern red oak)
b) Quercus falcata (Southern red oak)
Rated slightly to non-resistant to heartwood decay,
moderately easy to treat with preservatives.
USA: Abundant. Most widely used species.
Export: Good availability as lumber and veneer, but less than white oak. Red oak is often classified according to growing regions and marketed as Northern red oak, and Southern red oak.
Construction, furniture, flooring, architectural interiors, internal joinery and moldings, doors, kitchen cabinets, paneling, coffins and caskets. Not suitable for tight cooperage. Red oak can vary in color, texture, characteristics and properties according to the growing region. It is therefore recommended that users and specifiers work closely with their suppliers to make sure the wood they order is suited to their specific needs.