Blogging instead of Woodworking #17: Calling all red oak haters

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Blog entry by Douglas posted 04-07-2015 11:50 PM 1750 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 16: Prairie Sofa & Loveseat, Part 1 Part 17 of Blogging instead of Woodworking series Part 18: Prairie Sofa and Love Seat, Part 2 »

I just posted a little story about my recent visit to the Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, with pictures and some thoughts on the furniture and woodwork, and … RED OAK.

As a woodworker, I find visiting museums and historic homes/buildings/places an invaluable source of learning and inspiration. What do you think?

-- Douglas in Chicago -

9 comments so far

View grantd's profile


108 posts in 2092 days

#1 posted 04-08-2015 12:11 AM

Agree 100% about both Frank Lloyd Wright and red oak. His designs are pretty but the real challenge of architecture is to make things that are functional and attractive. I’ve been hearing a lot of people bag on red oak lately too and I don’t really get it though you make a good point about the over use in the “Country” style.

I think a lot of woodworkers fall into this mindset that the only way to improve is to buy more and more exotic (and often endangered) materials. The beauty of the craftsman style was the simple materials and simple designs that were well designed and well executed.

View emart's profile


445 posts in 3237 days

#2 posted 04-08-2015 12:14 AM

my problem with hardwoods in general has to do with how expensive it is on the west coast. red oak costs about $4.75 a board foot here so it isnt exactly cheap since the stuff has to be shipped in from the east coast

-- tools are only as good as the hands that hold them

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3764 posts in 3718 days

#3 posted 04-08-2015 01:26 AM

I don’t understand hating on red oak, myself. Of course, I’ve just been given about 100 Bd Ft, so I can’t afford to be a hater, but a user, in any event. I’ve found some nicely figured red oak at Lowe’s, and I buy it every time I find it. Great for small boxes.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View Pat3's profile


132 posts in 2488 days

#4 posted 04-08-2015 04:10 AM

I agree about red oak, definitely depends on how it is used and finished.
Here is a pic of a hand plane cabinet I built using QSRO and a red dye with amber shellac, has a deep rich look IMHO.

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 3169 days

#5 posted 04-08-2015 04:41 AM

That’s a nice looking cabinet, Pat.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View Pat3's profile


132 posts in 2488 days

#6 posted 04-08-2015 05:42 AM

Thank you.

View Notw's profile


743 posts in 2362 days

#7 posted 04-08-2015 01:27 PM

I could be wrong and thinking of someone else and it’s been a while since I was in school but I think Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the earlyish architects who really enjoyed using materials from near the site of the project. And also incorporating nature into his designs as opposed to today’s mindset of clear cutting the land grading it flat and starting construction. So being in Chicago it would make sense to use Red Oak

View pintodeluxe's profile


6040 posts in 3422 days

#8 posted 04-08-2015 03:36 PM

Some of my best looking panels have been made from quartersawn red oak. The joint lines seem to visually disappear in qs red oak, where as white oak they are a little more noticeable.
Now flatsawn red oak… that’s hard to get excited about.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View JKMDETAIL's profile


220 posts in 2264 days

#9 posted 04-08-2015 05:17 PM

The Red Oak has been a long time favorite of mine. I am currently building a corner desk with it. Grabbed some number one and 2 for $2 a board foot. Heck that is as cheap as the white soft stuff from Lowes.

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