There are literally hundreds of oak species that grow through the world. Nearly a hundred of those species grow in North America. Red oak grows in the Eastern Regions of the United States and Canada. Primarily they are found growing east of the Great Plains States to the Atlantic coast and from Southeastern Canada to Texas. It is the most abundant, and most commercially used oak species. Red oak is a fairly slow growing tree that grows best in temperate climates. The most ideal conditions are moist and well drained landscapes, where the soil ranges from is sandy to fertile loam. Red oak thrives best at elevations between 2000 to 3000 feet, but can be found in elevations over 5000 feet.
Red Oak is a coarse textured, primarily straight grained wood with large pores, although some interlocking grain patterns can occur. It weighs on the average of 46 lbs/cu. ft., and its color ranges from a light to medium-tan, with slight pinkish- brown grain patterns throughout. It is considered a tough, heavy, strong, and stiff hardwood. Also, red oak is very dense, and has a high shock resistance rating. It is not a very durable wood, so indoor use is necessary.
Red oak is ranked above average for machine use, but is not recommended for hand tools due to its hardness. Also, red oak turns well, but sharp tools should be used for best results. Carving can be a challenge, and is not recommended. Red oak holds metal fasteners very well, but pre-drilling is required. Oak accepts most adhesives well, but epoxy glues are not recommended. Also, when using PVA glue, do not allow metal clamps to come in contact with the glue, because they will turn the glue dark and discolor the wood. It is always recommended to clean up any excess glue immediately before it dries. Sanding usually does not pose a problem, but like any other wood, it will burn if not careful when using a power sander. It is recommended to use wood filler prior to any finish work. Oak receives stains well, and polishes to great a finish. Because of its warm colors and beautiful grain patterns, clear finishes, without prior staining, tend to bring out its natural beauty.
Wood Species Index
Oak has many uses, some of these include: cabinets, flooring, millwork, molding, trim, veneer, paneling, and plywood. Also, it is used for making barrels, caskets, tool handles, wooden ware, and various turnings. Oak furniture, such as dressers, night stands, beds, file cabinets, and desks are desirable. Oak steam bends very well and is useful for manufacturing chairs and other furniture where bending is required.