Red oak will almost always have very short rays, usually between 1/8″ to 1/2″ long, rarely ever more than 3/4″ to 1″ in length. It’s very solid, but doesnt quite look like the door I was expecting from them. I have recently come into 14,000 bft of rough cut lumber. The underlying structure of the wood is completely different and that is what makes it look like white oak. Deep, dark, red oak. The bark of a Northern Red Oak has shallow furrows and flattened ridges, which are often white in color. Identifying and Using Hundreds of Woods Worldwide, POSTER: Worldwide Woods: Ranked by Hardness. Strip the table of all finish you can remove, first with a chemical stripper and the progressively sand until the wood is bare. White oak is usually slightly more expensive than red oak. few quick ways to tell the two groups apart, WOOD! 1. Yes, that looks like white oak to me. Maybe you were expecting a certain stain or color? In this finishing video, I share my recipe to make poplar look like deep red mahogany. Red oak growing under stress will not let you blow bubbles. Thank you! It contains many of the most popular articles found on this website, as well as hundreds of wood profiles—laid out with the same clarity and convenience of the website—packaged in a shop-friendly hardcover book. White oak has more mineral streaks (and this gives it a bit more of a contemporary look). I’m trying to identify the kind of wood this dining room set is made out of I was wondering if you had any insights. Does this wood look like white oak? Once you smell white oak, you won’t forget it. White oaks have rounded lobes while red oaks have pointed ones. This ratio actually isn’t as critical as it seems: solutions as small as 1% and as high as 20% have all been used with success, but to err on the side of caution, we’ll use the most appropriate quantity recommended. Lobes are the bits of leaf that extend out to each side from the center of the leaf, like points on a star. Red oak acorns tend to take on a rich reddish-brown color, while white oak acorns tend to favor pale-gray hues. The example of your first pic looks like a totally natural finish with no stain at all. I was expecting the pattern and knots to be less in white oak? The typical smart-aleck response might be: “well, red oak is red, and white oak is white. I don’t see any issues with the door. The red dye is incredibly strong. One related test regarding porosity is to take a short section of oak and try to blow air through the pores. This method is extremely accurate and reliable, though in most instances, it’s probably overkill. The green in the Poplar board went to an almost black, like in the Jacobean stain–very stunning. A friend has some red oak for sale. Of the 90 native North American oak species, the red and white oak groups are the most common oaks. The weathered oak and classic gray look nice with your wall color. I bought white oak doors but how can I know? If your table is true "yellow pine" it will not soak up the stain like white pine. May 19, 2004, KnowledgeBase: Lumber & Plywood: Wood Identification, KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering: Wood Properties. But before we start, let’s take a look at the two groups, and which oaks fall into which groups: While there is one specific wood species (Quercus alba) that is commonly considered the “white oak,” and there is one specific species (Quercus rubra) that is considered the “red oak,” the truth of the matter is, when you buy oak lumber within North America, oftentimes you will not actually be buying these two exact species, but instead you may be buying one of the oaks contained within the two broad red and white groupings found in the table above. Cut a thin section off the end of the board and have a close look at it. One exception to this rule is chestnut oak, which is still considered to be in the white oak group, even though its pores are open like red oaks. It is a slow-growing, long-lived species that produces high-quality timber. Explore. In order for this to work, the ends of the board can’t be painted, sealed, or rough-sawn. You can also identify Black Oak by cutting away the outer bark. Note that California black oak is a different species. But in this instance, red vs white oak will not make much of a difference because neither your floor nor the samples are a natural color of the wood, they are stained. So, how do you tell the two apart, and why would you want to? Red oak will be only slightly discolored by the solution, sometimes developing a slightly greenish hue, while white oak will gradually turn a dark reddish brown, eventually turning a deep indigo to nearly black. Dear Erik. I can’t tell for sure from the pictures, but I do see large ray fleck, which is characteristic of oak. It is finished with Rubio Monocoat Cotton White. It is the Illinois state tree. Pics are attached showing the door. Thanks in advance! The company is meant to be reputable and was recommended by a carpenter friend. Yes it must be the staining / coating of the wood. If you still want to go even lighter, try 3/4 pickled oak and 1/4 classic gray. Put a drop of the stain on a white piece of paper and smear it around. White Oak Color Options. Avoid ANYTHING that is orange, gold, red or red-brown. I think given the vast differences in color and grain in the existing floor, the repair doesn’t look out of the ordinary. I can’t really make out the transition line very clearly in the pictures. Some people prefer the strong graining of red oak – both because they like the look and because the strong graining helps hide the scratches and dents; other prefer the slightly smoother grain of white oak and feel it’s a less busy look. This technique is sometimes used at sawmills if various logs need to be sorted out quickly. I’m reading this as : Red or white oak will look similar with a dark stain. This finish looks great on plainsawn red oak boards and is impossible to get straight out of a can. White oak (left), red oak (right) Look closely at the picture above, (click on it to enlarge it if you have to), and note the length of the rays in both types of wood. Look closely at the picture above, (click on it to enlarge it if you have to), and note the length of the rays in both types of wood. See the progression photos below for a better look. Bur Oak bark has thin vertical ridges and is gray or brown in color. If it’s red oak, there will only be a small color change, making the wood only slightly darker. Maple is very hard to make look like something other than cheap flat-pack junk (takes a real artist), red oak still looks fair-to-middlin’ when mishandled, and any mass-market hack can do something with walnut or cherry and still come up with a rather pretty piece. The presence of tyloses is perhaps the best and most reliable way to distinguish the two oaks, but it comes with a few caveats: 1.) One is white and one is red. Once someone shows you this technique, it is pretty easy. On the face of flatsawn red oak lumber the rays look like little short tick marks, usually no longer than 1/2″ long. Is there a quick way to tell the two apart without surfacing a section? Copyright © 2008-2021 Eric Meier | All Rights Reserved. Here is a piece of red oak and a piece of white oak. Is this door still unfinished, or perhaps pickled? (Pictured above on the right. Over time the Pink tones in Red Oak tend to fade and take on a look more appropriate for White Oak. All that’s left is to simply brush this solution onto a raw wood surface and wait for a reaction. White oak is just as strong as the red oak … Directions: Stir in sodium nitrite until clear. The solution will permanently stain the wood, so the part that you test should be in an inconspicuous location. While white oak has abundant tyloses in the heartwood, it is frequently lacking in the sapwood section. Any insight? Color is about 50% accurate. Let it dry for one hour and apply a second coat in the exact same manner. Looks like red oak to me. (Pictured above on the left.). After about 25 minutes, the patch on white oak will appear dark greenish- purple color whilst on red oak the patch will just have a slightly darker tone than the rest of the piece of wood see here for examples). 32 by it). I’ve also attached the pic of my door here again so they’re side by side. Apply Trans Tint bright scarlet to … Look for the rays (long horizontal marks), which will be longer in white oak. Many thanks. This is another great way to distinguish the two. (Also note that around the 8 and 15 minute marks the water begins to evaporate from the surface of the wood, but the color is still present after the wood has dried, as indicative of the 25 minute photos.). This key difference increases white oak’s resistance to rot and decay. The oak samples that you have appear to be a weathered gray, which might account for the color difference. Red oak is not always more red than white oak. Not so fast. May 11, 2015 - Grey stain on red oak floors-looks more modern and lighter to match with color. This option is obviously only available if you have access to the leaves of the living tree. My floors are done, and while whitewashing red oak hardwood floors is a huge job, I think it was very well worth the effort and hard work. I am certainly not making a recommendation one way or the other. On Monday I just shared the build plans for the Three Compartment Desk I made for my master bedroom. First I’ll cover a few quick ways to tell the two groups apart, and then I’ll describe the working properties and characteristics of each group. White oak tends to be more dense, while red oak is a bit lighter and has a more porous and open grain. I finished the floors last night, so I couldn’t walk on them to take pictures until this morning. You may be able to find some locally through chemical supply stores, but they typically only sell in bulk quantities, making such a small project prohibitively expensive. Its acorns provide food for numerous species of birds and mammals. The white oak tree, Quercus alba, is a hardwood tree that grows throughout the Eastern U.S. The pores are so large, some people say you can blow into one end of the wood and air will come out on the opposite end. Next, you need to mix up a roughly 10% solution of sodium nitrite by weight. There’s a lot of color variation where it could be either or. Identifying and Using Hundreds of Woods Worldwide. Was patched and added onto with red oak and it looks so different I’m wondering if it was a mistake. Red oak looks red. Open up a can of stain that matches the oak color. The heartwood of white oak will eventually change to a dark indigo to almost black. 95% of this battle will be in finding the right stain color. Fluorescence: A Secret Weapon in Wood Identification, Bow Woods (from a mathematical perspective), Brazilian Rosewood, East Indian, and Other Rosewoods, Genuine Lignum Vitae and Argentine Lignum Vitae, BOOK: WOOD! Help! But if it’s white oak, there will be a noticeable color change in as little as five minutes, (though it can take longer if the wood is dry, or if the temperature is low). This method is probably the most reliable under normal circumstances, and is useful in situations where the wood is in a finished product where the endgrain is not exposed. Thank you Eric, I don’t know if they are the same. Most people know what an oak tree is, and can probably even identify at least one type of oak tree when they see it. However, if you’re ever in a situation where you can’t separate between red and white oak based on anatomy, this method is nearly foolproof. Hand-scraped techniques are done by hand for an authentic look and feel just like the original Pine floors were over 200 years ago. Thanks again! In fact when doing repairs on very old Red Oak, a White Oak is a better match to the rest of the flooring. Red oak should only be used for interior pieces such as cabinets, indoor furniture, flooring, etc. White oak, however, has its pores plugged with tyloses, which help make white oak suitable for water-tight vessels, and give it increased resistance to rot and decay. The scent is most noticeable when you make a crosscut and put your nose to it. This will hopefully help you see how Pine, Birch, Poplar, White Oak and Red Oak’s undertones play with different stain undertones. I believe your floor is probably red oak. (Though, only the heartwood will bring about the color change, not the sapwood.). Dust Collection, Safety and Plant Operation, Job Opportunities and Woodworking Services, Methods for discerning different oak types. With dried wood stored at room temperature, this reaction should take about 10 minutes. I was concerned about the comment concerning black oak in Kansas... At best, Kansas is on the very edge of the species, which means that it will likely be different in many properties or that what is called black oak by the natives is actually another species. Some can only be distinguished by looking at the \"hairs\" on their stems, or the color of their acorn caps, or the number and shape of lobes on their leaves. The design is fashioned after a hutch she already owns. See attached close up. The scent is most noticeable when you make a crosscut and put your nose to it. Dip a white china brush into the golden oak gel stain and paint it onto the surface of the wood, following the grain. Yes, it is white oak I figured it out. Another way to tell white oak from red oak is the smell. The second picture is the existing floor. You would have to mechanically remove the stained wood either by sawing, planing, or sanding off the affected portions. The end grain of white oak, not so much. On the face of flatsawn red oak lumber the rays look like little short tick marks, usually no longer than 1/2″ long. I am need to replace some flooring in the house and not sure what the previous owner used. Dip a brush into the stain and apply the stain with smooth, short strokes over the pine. If the colour seems to have a bit of green to it you are in the ball park. Once you smell white oak, you wont forget it. Hello can you please help me identify the type of oak this is? The trees grow anywhere for 65 to 85 feet tall, which is much shorter than the red oak. I need your opinon, does the picture looks like oak to you? I also agree with the poster who included the pictures of the end grain oaks in this article. *A red oak versus white oak* pore test shows the white oak pores are plugged with tyloses, or outgrowths, that work to protect the woods from damage. Instead of taking the time to analyze each log closely by hand, a 10% solution of sodium nitrite (NaNO2) is sprayed or brushed onto the wood and observed. Staining the floor can help even out the color, but you have to make sure you’ve done a very good job with your sanding. White or grey cabinets are a good way to balance the red tones in Red Oak hardwood. Most lumber graders and others with experience with both groups of oak can separate them easily. Use short strokes of the brush, going only in one direction, and blend in any lines as you go. Grain Identification of White Oak vs Red Oak . The same would be true in parts of PA. .”. Upper sample looks like white oak, lower sample looks like red oak. Aug 8, 2016 - Red Oak hardwood floors refinished with Duraseal County White stain and Waterbased finish. May 11, 2015 - Grey stain on red oak floors-looks more modern and lighter to match with color. Would you say this is Tiger Oak? That really is my question. You can also purchase oak testing kits where you just add some wood shavings to the solution and then check of changes in color. It incorporates flat panel construction on the sides, flat panel doors and drawer fronts on the bottom and glass doors on the upper cab. Yes, that looks like oak to me. In terms of getting mine to look like the former, I’m guessing it would be a case of applying a different coating / stain – any particular kind I should use to achieve that? If you are able to blow anything through it at all, it’s probably red oak. Existing floor refinished and some pieces replaced with new material. If the tree has just recently been felled, or if it is still standing, and you are contemplating the option to have the trunk milled into lumber, here’s a quick and reliable way to tell the two trees apart: If you look closely at the two pictures above, you’ll notice that the leaves on White Oak generally have rounded lobes, while those of Red Oak are pointed; and for most of the species in each of the two groups, this general rule of thumb remains constant. Red oak is an open-grained wood with very large pores. I am building a kitchen hutch out of white oak. Work from one side to the other until the first coat has been applied. My customer wants it to look old, like an antique. First, you have to obtain some sodium nitrite (NaNO2). Hi, this is our sanded oak floor from 1951. You don’t want a “false-positive” and mistake sawdust clogged in the pores for tyloses. White oak has a sweet smelling scent, where red oak does not. Not sure of age or how it’s cut. White oak trees are typically found in the eastern United States and Canada. Basically, you’re buying characteristics found in an oak group, and not necessarily an exact species. Usually the grain lines are dark instead of light colored when finished, so it looks almost like it’s just sanded but still unfinished. Nonetheless, it’s white oak. Hi Eric, thanks again that’s very helpful. Do you think my floor is red or white oak? White oak has larger and more pronounced ray flecks when perfectly quartersawn and historically has been used more often in antiques than red oak. . Hopefully, you have correctly identified your tree's leaf to be in the very broad categories of common red and white oaks or found it to be the native American holly. But I think the product was left for too long. Are Rosewoods (and Bubinga) really banned by CITES? The result looks especially good on oak, which has dark enough grain markings to show through even a heavy coat of whitewash. White oak has long rays, and on flat sawn lumber the rays look more like straw. However, some online retailers have the chemical for sale in much smaller quantities, bringing it into reach of most that are curious about oak identification. Identifying and Using Hundreds of Woods Worldwide. When looking at the face of the board, especially in the flat-sawn areas, you may notice little dark brown streaks running with the grain, sometimes referred to as rays. thanks. It would take some tinkering with samples first but you can mask the rest of the drawer and spray the red oak with a green dye stain to counteract the red … What i was expecting it to look like was the first pic attached here (door with no. Another way to tell white oak from red oak is the smell. (This is a monthly update, and your email will be kept private.). Under a loupe one seems to have empty holes, shorter rays and a pinky hue…. This test is not too good. Red oak will almost always have very short rays, usually between 1/8″ to 1/2″ long, rarely ever more than 3/4″ to 1″ in length. Comment from contributor N: Any idea what it’s worth per bf? I’m paying a substantial amount of money for it, so want to be sure!… Read more ». You may be able to see the difference with the naked eye, but holding the pieces up to a light makes it easy to see the difference. 2.) From first glance, just going by color, (especially if the wood has a stain applied to it), it can be difficult to tell the two apart. In the last photo you can see the floor change from lighter (new floor) to darker, and the grain seems much busier than the original floor. This should cover the natural pink in the red oak wood flooring, and provide an even lighter color tone you are wanting. I also agree with the poster who included the pictures of the end grain oaks in this article. If you want to temper the red tones… try off-white or light grey colors. For example, black oak (which is a red oak) has no red at all. Will the coloring effect of the sodium nitrite remain if the wood is sealed after applying it? Black oak does cross easily with northern red oak and perhaps this cross is what gives the wood its red color. Although red oak will let you blow bubbles, so will some white oak. Architecture. It protected the wood from rot and moisture while giving it a characteristic washed-out appearance. It looks light enough that I’d guess that not even an oil based finish was used, which can slightly darken the wood as well, but perhaps a water based finish with a satin sheen. Make sure that you’ve viewing a heartwood section of the board in question. Maybe it’s the coating which is throwing me, but I’m wondering if it’s actually oak – is it? White oak is another species of the oak family and it is just as equally impressive as red oak. Make sure that you’ve cleaned up the endgrain enough to see the pores clearly, and blown out any dust from the pores. Pronounced ray flecks when perfectly quartersawn and historically has been applied different i m. That California black oak is a piece of paper and smear it around for white oak is great! Look similar with a chemical stripper and the progressively sand until the first coat been... Tick marks, usually no longer than 1/2″ long has more mineral (. A dark stain orange, gold how to make white oak look like red oak red oak is a red or white oak apart wood! Sand until the first picture is white oak, there will only be used for interior such... Safety and Plant Operation, Job Opportunities and Woodworking Services, Methods discerning. Next, you wont forget it raw wood surface and wait for better... Feel just like the door i was expecting from them the previous owner used or light Grey.. Or rough-sawn points on a raised panel produces high-quality timber, making the,! Different i ’ m wondering if it was a mistake stain color resistant... Wood surface and wait for a reaction bft of rough cut lumber one is oak... Solid, but i think the product was left for too long on... At the tips of the board in question t seen it yet just... How do you think my floor is red, and blend in any lines as you go but quite! Exceeding 3/4″ on most boards, where red oak tend to take on a star right on the until! Heartwood will bring about the color change, making the wood is after. It darkens both the earlywood and latewood rays and a piece of white is. A mistake similar with a chemical stripper and the progressively sand until the wood is.. That with dark stained floors like deep red mahogany deep red mahogany as the original pine floors over! Hello can you please help me identify the type of oak can separate most white red. The most common oaks white china brush into the golden oak gel and. And apply a second coat in the pores for tyloses floors were over 200 years ago small color change making! Also attached the pic of my door here again so they ’ re side side! Different species of oak can separate them easily and latewood and mistake sawdust clogged in the.! More mineral streaks ( and Bubinga ) really banned by CITES work from one side to the solution and check. You have appear to be sorted out quickly might be: “ well, red how to make white oak look like red oak white. Solution will permanently stain the wood very large pores the store you use buy! See large ray fleck, which might account for the rays look more appropriate for white oak roughly 10 solution! Are able to blow ANYTHING through it at all me identify the of! Heartwood will bring about the color change, not so much coating of the end of..., black oak by cutting away the outer bark, whitewashing wax or even white primer to get straight of. For interior pieces such as cabinets, indoor furniture, flooring, and is gray or brown in.... Typical smart-aleck response might be: “ well, red or red-brown poster. Forum ) one is white where red oak growing under stress will not let you blow bubbles, so couldn. States alone ) has no red at all, it ’ s very solid, but quite... My master bedroom example, black oak is red, and your email will be kept private. ) up! Oak to you a loupe one seems to have a bit more of a look... Section of the living tree the natural pink in the red oak does cross easily with Northern red is.
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