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Oak, American white

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American white oak is a hardwood common throughout the eastern United States. The name 'white oak' encompasses numerous species, eight of which are commercially available as timber. Very similar in appearance and colour to the European oak, American white oak has light-coloured sapwood and a light to dark brown heartwood. White oak is mostly straight grained with a medium to coarse texture, with longer rays and more figure than American red oak. It has large distinctive growth rings, and some medullary rays may be present.

American white oak is used for a wide range of applications, including shipping and boat building, flooring, architectural joinery, exterior joinery, railways sleepers and timber bridges due to its strength and resistance to decay.  It is also an excellent timber for high-grade furniture, interior woodwork and paneling. Because of its impermeability, the timber is suitable for vats and casks holding liquids such as wine and spirits.

American white oak is a hard, heavy wood, and has low stiffness and good overall strength, making it increasingly popular as a structural timber. It also has very good steam bending properties. White oak machines well and is easy to glue, nail and screw. It readily accepts stains and polishes to a good finish. The heartwood is susceptible to lyctid borer attack and to termites.

American white oak is imported into Australia and is readily available through specialist wood dealers.  

 

Appearance

The heartwood of American white oak is pale yellow-brown to mid-brown, sometimes with a pink tinge. The sapwood is light coloured. It is mostly straight grained with a medium to coarse texture, and with longer rays and more figure than red oak. It has large distinctive growth rings and some medullary rays may be present.

Common Applications

In the United States American white oak is used for a wide variety of purposes, including structural, exterior and interior applications, and in the making of vats for spirits and wine. Due to its interesting and prominent grain pattern and consistency of colour throughout the range of subspecies marketed as American white oak, it is a popular species for flooring, and in Australia is mostly for this purpose and for joinery and furniture.

Common Form

Sawn

Workability

American white oak is a hard and heavy wood, with low stiffness and medium crushing and bending strength. It also has extremely good steam bending properties. American white oak is easy to machine, nail, glue and screw. It stains easily and can take a wide variety of colours. It is a slow-drying wood, so care needs to be taken to avoid checking. Also, given its high shrinkage rate, under variable moisture conditions it is susceptible to some movement.

Origin of Timber

North America

Readily Available

NSW

Availability - Further Information

American White Oak is readily available from specialist timber dealers throughout Australia.

Availability - Further Information

Native Forest

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High

Tangential :

6.60%

Radial:

3.20%

Unit Movement Tangential:

0.37%

Unit Movement Radial:

0.18%

Strength Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium High

Medium

Reasonably Low

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

S1

S2

S3

S4

S5

S6

S7

Seasoned:

SD1

SD2

SD3

SD4

SD5

SD6

SD7

SD8

Stress Grade

Structural
No. 1
Structural
No. 2
Structural
No. 3
Structural
No. 4
Structural
No. 5

Unseasoned:

Seasoned:

F14

F11

F8

F7

F5

Density per Standard

Seasoned:

750kg/m3

Unseasoned:

985kg/m3

Joint Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

J1

J2

J3

J4

J5

J6

Seasoned:

JD1

JD2

JD3

JD4

JD5

JD6

Colour

  White, yellow, pale straw to light brown Pink to pink brown Light to dark red Brown, chocolate, mottled or streaky
   

Mechanical Properties

Modulus of Rupture - Unseasoned:

57

Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned:

105

Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned:

8.6

Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned:

12.3

Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned:

25

Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned:

51

Impact - Unseasoned:

Impact - Seasoned:

Toughness - Unseasoned:

High - 25 Nm and above

Toughness - Seasoned:

High - 25 Nm and above

Hardness - Unseasoned:

4.7

Hardness - Seasoned:

6

Durability

Low Moderate Reasonably High High
(0 - 5 yrs) (5 - 15 yrs) (15 - 25 yrs) (more than 25 yrs)

In-Ground:

(0 - 7 yrs) (7 - 15 yrs) (15 - 40 yrs) (More than 40 yrs)

Above ground:

(0 - 20 yrs, usually < 5) (21 - 40 yrs) (41 - 64 yrs) (More than 60 yrs)

Marine Borer Resistance:

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility:

Susceptible

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility - Other:

Termite Resistance:

Not Resistant

Fire Properties

1 - non-combustible 2 - reasonably non-combustible 3 - slightly combustible 4 - combustible

Fire Properties Group
Number:

Average Specific Extinction Area:

<250

Bushfire Resistance:

BAL 12.5 and 19 - All AS 3959 Required Applications

Joinery

Timber joinery products offer a classic, unique and stylish touch to any interior or exterior design. The products are produced for a variety of internal applications including door and window frames, cabinetry, skirtings, mouldings and architraves. When looking to the outdoors, joinery products range from decorative eaves and posts to eye-catching railings.

Many timber species are suitable for joinery products and care should be taken in selecting the perfect timber for the particular product and its intended finish. Rare and exotic species such as Teak and Rosewood can generate pieces of outstanding beauty but material cost and availability are also important considerations.

Commercially available species like Tasmanian oak, Australian cypress, spotted gum and the like, often make the more practical choice, with the added benefit that they can be easily matched with other timber products within the building, like flooring.

Solid timber for joinery products is generally supplied as ‘clear finish grade' but ‘paint grade' options are available and these are usually comprised of a composite material like MDF or glulam.

A large number of specialist suppliers and producers offer the consumer extensive choice of profiles for all of the most common and popular joinery products. Choice is in many cases, limited only by imagination.

Cabinetry is often associated with joinery and most typically includes, cupboards, benches and other similar ‘built in' furniture. Like joinery, cabinetry is generally specified as either paint or clear finish grade and naturally for clear finish grade timbers, appearance and surface finish are critical in achieving a successful application.

 

Mouldings

Timber mouldings add style, class and an elegant touch to any interior, offering a depth of beauty and warmth in a way only wood can. From period times to those more contemporary, timber mouldings have graced the most stylish and chic of interiors, decorating furniture, doors and windows. Decorative mouldings such as architraves, skirtings, cornices and ceiling roses remain an ever popular choice for designers seeking a finished result of beauty, style and quality. Like all timber products, mouldings are extremely versatile and durable, enhancing the aesthetics of any interior and functioning as the perfect finishing touch for designs with a focus on beauty and splendour.

Mouldings can be created from any commercially available species of timber and the moisture resistant wood product, MDF, is also a popular choice. When it comes to style and design, the sky is the limit with many suppliers offering custom matching to existing mouldings, as well as efficient supply of those that are individually designed. Installation is a breeze, with the majority of mouldings easily attached with a reputable wood adhesive. Finishes can be tailored by design requirements and the preferences of the end user, with mouldings commonly being both stained and/or painted.

Rails and Balustrades, Interior

The versatility, beauty and strength of timber makes it the ideal material choice for interior handrails and balustrades. Treated softwood and durable hardwoods are the most popular timber choices and these can be turned to create a range of unique styles and designs to suit a variety of tastes and decors.

When used internally balustrades and handrails are typically finished with a clear lacquer to showcase the natural beauty of the timber and with appropriate care and attention will last a lifetime. Find here general information on member sizes, connections and suitable materials, as well as important considerations, for the specification and construction of interior handrails and balustrades.

Stairs, Interior

Interior staircase work is considered a specialised area of carpentry and joinery as its construction requires high levels of workmanship, detail and accuracy. Many interior stairs are built from quality joinery timber, cut and seasoned especially for staircases. Interior stairs differ considerably in design, from simple straight flights, commonly used in domestic work, to more elaborate stairs, constructed purposely as stand out features in public and commercial buildings.

The construction procedure described here applies to most general type stairs of either conventional or contemporary construction.

Flooring

Whether for structural or finished flooring applications, timber offers durability, versatility and adaptability. The warmth, strength and natural beauty of timber flooring has proved enduringly popular in a wide variety of interior settings.

Timber flooring is a timeless product, offering a warmth and natural beauty largely unmatched by other flooring options. This article provides an overview of the installation of solid timber strip flooring over bearers and joists, timber based sheet flooring products and concrete slabs. Timber flooring is typically supplied as either solid timber or laminated wood products, made from layers of bonded timber. It fits together with a tongue and groove joint and once in place, is sanded and finished. There is a wide variety of species to select flooring from and the right species for a given application will be dependent on numerous factors. Information relating to species selection, environmental assessment, finish selection and recommended maintenance routines are all provided in this section.

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