Oak is a hardwood, and approximately 295 types of oak may be found around the world. Fifty of these grow within the United States. When it comes to making furniture, however, English Oak and American Oak vary greatly, both in appearance and ease of use.
Considered the most durable and beautiful of the oaks, English Oak (Quercus robur) varies in color from a pale gold-yellow to dark golden brown and produces a hard, satiny surface. Though difficult to work with, it was used to build both homes and ships until the Tudor period, at which time the government took action to protect the forests that remained.
Also referred to as "white" oak, American Oak (Quercus alba) may be found throughout the eastern parts of North America. The quality of the wood varies widely, but it is easy to work with and even durable under considerable contact with moisture. American oak is also known for being straight and plain, so it is preferred for furniture that is to be stained.
The location in which an oak tree grows can influence its structure, causing the same type of oak to produce different qualities of lumber.
- Photo Credit oak tree image by Zlatko Ivancok from Fotolia.com
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