Oak wood: characteristics and main uses

Oak wood enjoys great popularity due to its peculiarities and benefits. If you want to know them all, just keep reading and discover them.

Last update: 18 March, 2022

Oak wood has highly sought-after qualities in the wood industry and within the popular imagination. It is one of the best known and appreciated trees by man since ancient times. So it is not surprising that it is synonymous with strength, wisdom, endurance and inner strength.

They are recognizable by their thick trunk and their great height, which can reach up to 40 meters. They are distinguished by their beauty and the hardness of their wood. Thanks to their ability to sprout from the stump, oaks tend to create forests that provide great benefit to the conservation of the ecosystem.

What’s more, are adapted to survive in multiple soil types and climates. They are present in most parts of the world. In each place with a specific variety.

Oak wood and its characteristics

Oak wood is, along with pine, one of the most popular among carpenters and the general public, due to its excellent relationship between quality, resistance and price. Thanks to the large dimensions that oaks usually reach and the hardness of their wood, this is usually highly desired in the world of construction, furniture and decoration in general.

If you plan to use oak wood in your next work, read on and learn about all the features that will benefit your project.

1. High moisture resistance

One of the main peculiarities of oak wood is its great resistance. Its popularity in this aspect is such that the Spanish Navy used it during the 17th and 18th centuries for the production of boats, ships and frigates. But oak wood is not only used in the shipbuilding industry.

It is one of the most used in carpentry and interior design, either to assemble furniture, shelves or in structural elements of homes, such as beams and parquet floors. Its resistance to humidity gives it a long useful life.

Oak parquet could last for decades if installed correctly in the house.

2. Strength and density

Being a large tree, the oak has a slow growth that can last until the tree is 200 years old. Although it can easily live up to 600.

For its part, oak wood has a density of around 710 kg/m3, which places it in the category of heavy or light heavy. It has a straight fiber and is coarse grained. If you are looking for a type of log to lay the foundations of your new home or to make quality furniture, oak wood will not disappoint you.

3. Value for money

The cost of oak wood can vary, depending on its availability. It is not a cheap wood, but considering all the benefits it brings, it is not excessively expensive either.

It is noteworthy that other woods with the same characteristics are sold at a higher price, which makes it a perfect alternative in buildings and durable furniture. In addition, it presents a great variety of shades, depending on its class.

4. Symbology and spirituality

Since ancient times, the oak has been one of the most appreciated and revered trees by humanity, thanks to the symbology that hides behind its thick foliage. According to ancient Chinese dynasties, the oak symbolizes masculine strength and vigorwhile the feminine energy is represented in the flexibility of the willow.

The oak was of great importance to the Druids and the Celts, as it embodied the masculine essence of strength, in contrast to the feminine principle of resistance, attributed to the mistletoe. Its large trunk, from which broad branches with intense foliage emerge, represented generosity, wisdom and hospitality.

Types of oak wood

Oaks are native to the northern hemisphere and are found all over the world. But by having the ability to sprout from the strain, many classes have emerged:

  • American white oak (quercus alba): its light brown and olive tones stand out in the heartwood, reaching a cream color in the sapwood. It is found throughout the eastern United States. It has a straight fiber and a medium grain.
  • American red oak (quercus rubra): also light brown in the heartwood, but with subtle reddish lines and a whitish color in the sapwood. It is similar to white oak, but is usually cheaper.
  • European oak (Quercus robur): of brown tones in the heartwood and yellowish in the sapwood. It is very common in the old continent. It has a straight fiber and a medium grain.
The oak furniture gives a touch of class to the rooms.

What applications does oak wood have?

Oak wood is one of the most versatile in carpentry and serves as a material for the manufacture of many works. In addition, it has great qualities and benefits that give it strength and durability.

These are some of the objects that are recommended to be made with this wood:

  • decorative furnitureboth outside and inside.
  • Woodworking objects: doors, windows, baseboards.
  • Wine barrels (highlights French oak).
  • beams or wooden columns.
  • Boats or ships.

Now that you know all the main characteristics and benefits of oak wood, you may be more confident in making the investment. Remember that it is one of the most resistant, durable and aesthetic.

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