Quick Poll

According to the American Hardwood Information Center, red oak is by far the most commonly used North American hardwood. Four out of every ten North American hardwood boards sold are red oak.  It’s the state tree of my former home state, New Jersey, where it grows just about everywhere you look.  It’s one of the most common woods used in kitchen cabinet construction. It’s an extremely common flooring material. Entire bedroom suites are made out of the stuff…

Yawn.. another red oak kitchen

And, sometimes, all that familiarity breeds contempt. I’ve spoken with woodworkers who have flat out said, “Boy, that would have been a great project, except for the fact that they built it out of red oak…”

So, in this week’s poll, I wanna know exactly what you think about red oak and its place in your shop.



5 thoughts on “Quick Poll”

  1. I made the mistake(?) of learning on Red Oak because it’s plentiful and relatively cheap down here in Texas, and was available in S4S so I could use it when I didn’t have a jointer or planer yet. At first I thought I was just a horrible woodworker because everything I touch would chip/tear out, splinter, give my hand planes a fit, and in one case, faulted the motor on my saw before I got used to it.

    As a beginner (not that I’m THAT much of a seasoned expert now, but you get my drift) I was watching everyone else have much different results and it didn’t dawn on me for a while that my issues were species-related. That being said, I’m pretty decent with it now.

  2. I think rift- or quarter-sawn with a brown or reddish-brown Stickley style finish can be hard to beat for looks.

  3. I have to agree with Bob Stanny….as with all projects, the finish makes or breaks the piece. I use much rift and quarter-sawn red oak, which is cheaper and slightly more readily available than white oak here in Ohio. I don’t care for it flat sawn, but it can be very striking quartered and finished with dye, glaze and varnish.

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