American White Oak


American White Oak is similar in colour and appearance to European oak. The sapwood is light coloured and the heartwood is light to dark brown. American White Oak is mostly straight grained with a medium to coarse texture, with longer rays and red oak. 

Physical properties: A hard and heavy wood with medium bending and crushing strength, low in stiffness, but very good in steam bending. It's strength means it is increasingly being used by architects and designers in structural applications. 

Working Properties: American White Oak machines well and nails and screws well, although pre-drilling is advised. As it reacts with iron, galvanised or copper nails are recommended. It's adhesive properties are variable, but it stains and polishes to a good finish. The wood dries slowly and care is needed to avoid checking. Due to its high shrinkage, it can be susceptible to movement in performance under variable moisture conditions. 

Durability: The heartwood is resistant to decay, extremely resistant to preservative treatment, and the sapwood moderately resistant to treatment. It's natural durability means that American White Oak heartwood can be used externally without preservative treatment, but localised climate and exposure conditions should be taken into account to determine its potential performance.

Main uses: Construction, furniture, flooring, architectural joinery, exterior joinery, mouldings, doors, kitchen cabinets, panelling, railway sleepers, timber bridges, barrel staves and coffins.

American White Oak can vary in colour, texture, characteristics and properties according to the region where it's grown. 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. 


Botanical Name: Quercus spp
Other Names: USA Oak, White Oak
Origin: North America
  • Overview
  • Basic Info
  • Technical


Seasoning: The timber seasons fairly slowly with a tendency to check and split.
Working Qualities: Considering its density, the timber can be worked fairly readily, taking a smooth finish. The timber can be glued, stained and polished and takes nails and screws well. In common with other species of Oak, White Oak corrodes metals, particularly iron, steel and lead. Blue-black discolorations from the tannic acid in the wood are liable to develop when it is in contact with iron or iron compounds under damp conditions and PVA glues. Use of non-ferrous metals for fastening and fittings is recommended.
Uses: Because of its good all-round strength and resistance to decay, White Oak is used for a wide range of constructional work, including ship and boat building. It is traditional for high-grade furniture, interior woodwork and flooring. Because of its impermeability, the timber is suitable for vats and casks for holding liquids such as wine and spirits.
Price (1-10): 4


Availability: Available ex-stock in Random Widths in 25, 40 and 50mm thicknesses.
Stocked: Yes
Grade Description: Prime A North American grade for a board to provide 83.3% (10/12ths) clear cuttings of either 3" x 7' or 4" x 5'. This means that defects such as knots, splits and wane are permitted, but in small quantities. Suitable for furniture and joinery. Superior A North American grading rule higher than Prime, does not allow as many defects. The highest grade available. Comsels A Grade lower than Prime that allows more defects, only 66.7% of the boards needs to provide clear cuttings of 3" x 2'. Suitable for carcass work. #2 Comsels The lowest grade, allows for 50% clear cuttings. Suitable only when knots or a rustic look are required For more info see the following downloads:
American Hardwood Export Council's (AHEC) Illustrated Grading Guide


Primary Suppliers: Cole Hardwoods, Baillie Lumber


Durability Above Ground: Moderately Durable


Density Air Dry: 750 kg/m3


Shrinkage Radial: 5 %
Shrinkage Tangental: 8 %


Stability Kiln Dry: Stable
Stability Green: Prone to shrinkage

Mechanical Properties

Janka Hardness: 6.0 kN
Modulus of Rupture: 105 MPa
Modulus of Elasticity: 12 GPa
Max Crush Strength: 51 MPa
Strength Group unseasoned: S6
Strength Group Seasoned: SD6


ASTM Flame Spread: 100
ASTM Smoke Developed: 100

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