Oak is commonly used to describe the two most common Northern European botanical variants: holm and pedunculate oak. Their properties are however so similar that their wood is simply known as oak wood. Oak grows commonly throughout Europe and Asia Minor, with the exception of the very northern and southern areas. Oak is particularly widespread in France. It is one of the most important European trees altogether.
Oaks can often be several hundred years old and can reach a height of up to 50 metres, though 20m to 40m is more common. Oak grows rapidly in height but its body is not as extensive as other kinds of trees.
Oak wood can be differentiated between sapwood and heartwood: the thin sapwood is grey-white in colour, the heartwood is coloured yellow-brown to mid-brown and darkens considerably with time. The springwood can easily be identified by its larger pore structure. When cut longitudinally the vertical pores have a grooved structure.
Oak wood is hard and heavy, but nonetheless elastic. The heartwood is very resilient, and durable even under water.
Oak wood dries slowly. This means that artificial drying should be undertaken with care to avoid cracking and warping. Oak shrinkage is negligible and stability is good.
It can be worked easily with most tools and machinery, it can be split easily and is well suited for use as a veneer. Nails and screw-fixings are straightforward. Surface finishing is generally not a problem. Its high tannic acid content can lead to coloration when in contact with iron due to chemical reactions.
Oak is available as round or sawn timber, or as a veneer.
- Furniture and interior furnishing
- Barrels and tubs
- Floor boarding and parquet
- Hydraulic engineering, Bridge building