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Red Oak (excluding QS)

by Rich
posted 11-30-2018 01:10 AM


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83 replies

83 replies so far

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AZWoody

1461 posts in 1761 days


#1 posted 11-30-2018 01:11 AM

Alder? woops, just kidding folks…

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Woodmaster1

1272 posts in 3124 days


#2 posted 11-30-2018 01:20 AM

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I made my kitchen cabinets out of quartersawn red oak as well as other furniture pieces. I will not use anything but plywood for the cabinet carcasses and solid wood face frames. All my trim in the house is red oak but the house is a hundred years old this year.

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GR8HUNTER

6558 posts in 1250 days


#3 posted 11-30-2018 01:26 AM

thank you for YOUR OPINION :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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EarlS

3189 posts in 2885 days


#4 posted 11-30-2018 01:44 AM

I’m with Woodmaster – red oak is a fine quality wood. You have to take the time to find boards that compliment each other and don’t just slap things together. Even the nicest wood look like garbage if no thought goes into the aesthetics. A fine piece of furniture is much more than wood cut and pieced together to make something. The beauty and quality are where the craftsmanship comes in.

BTW – Woodmaster – that is a fine looking craftsman style cabinet.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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TravisH

686 posts in 2472 days


#5 posted 11-30-2018 01:47 AM

Personally I think it suffers for a few reasons. Cheap crap furniture, cabinets, and flooring all look like low end junk no matter the wood. I cringe at the “cherry” and “walnut” finish on the cheap furniture and flooring.

Also due to price a lot of flat sawn and the resulting cathedral grain gets used and over all nowhere as aesthetically pleasing or refined as rift or quarter sawn in my opinion. I just think it takes more skill to incorporate the flat sawn stuff but then again the general public is driving what I typically cringe at by their spending.

The other issue it is red oak is relatively cheap and plentiful so ends up being used by a lot novice woodworkers that don’t necessarily think about the finishing aspect or have the skills to do the wood justice. So you get some ugly pieces frequently.

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Rich

5001 posts in 1127 days


#6 posted 11-30-2018 01:49 AM

Quarter sawn is a completely different thing. Consider my post amended to exclude quarter sawn.

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diverlloyd

3681 posts in 2395 days


#7 posted 11-30-2018 01:49 AM

Alder since they stain it to look like red oak it must be lower junk.

Rich

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Rich

5001 posts in 1127 days


#8 posted 11-30-2018 02:11 AM


Alder since they stain it to look like red oak it must be lower junk.

- diverlloyd

lol, no, just the finisher is at fault in that case. If you paint a Mercedes paisley, it doesn’t speak badly about the car, just the loser who had it painted that way.

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GrantA

1954 posts in 1945 days


#9 posted 11-30-2018 02:39 AM

Damn. Maybe I need to start over on this desk top

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AlaskaGuy

5414 posts in 2846 days


#10 posted 11-30-2018 02:50 AM

”Is there any wood as ugly and cheap looking as red oak?”

Well Rich….......I have seen some pretty ugly pallet wood. :)

This would probably look better had he use flat sawn oak. Just saying.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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marc_rosen

164 posts in 3718 days


#11 posted 11-30-2018 02:53 AM

Rich,
You just shamed me into setting fire to my entire kitchen. (except for my Flame Box Elder refrigerator and matching closet door). Marc

-- Windsurfing, Woodworking, Weaving, and Woodducks. "Most woodworkers are usually boring holes"

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ColonelTravis

1976 posts in 2431 days


#12 posted 11-30-2018 03:01 AM


If you paint a Mercedes paisley, it doesn t speak badly about the car, just the loser who had it painted that way.

- Rich

At first I wasn’t sure if that would look stupid.
But now I’m convinced it would look stupid.

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

3681 posts in 2395 days


#13 posted 11-30-2018 03:06 AM

Rich depends on the quality of the work. I have seen a couple cars painted paisley that looked very good. One was a Porsche with the paisley pattern in silver then the racing stripes in red with the paisley pattern in color. It was impressive and have to had numerous man hours in it. I understand what you are saying though.

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Aj2

2529 posts in 2335 days


#14 posted 11-30-2018 03:16 AM

Rubber wood from Indonesia. It’s very blah the only wood i can think of that needs stain to look better. :(

-- Aj

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

3681 posts in 2395 days


#15 posted 11-30-2018 03:17 AM


If you paint a Mercedes paisley, it doesn t speak badly about the car, just the loser who had it painted that way.

- Rich

At first I wasn t sure if that would look stupid.
But now I m convinced it would look stupid.

- ColonelTravis


That’s busier then the Porsche. Locally we have a BMW that is fully chromed. A ass for every seat I guess.

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1436 days


#16 posted 11-30-2018 03:23 AM

Oak isn’t bad looking wood in my opinion, (of course there is no comparison to Alder)
I just think, for me here in Vegas, during the 80’s everything was built out of Oak.

I just got tired of seeing it, and now everytime I do, it makes me feel like it’s dated.

On top of that, woods like Alder, Maple, Walnut became popular in place of the Oak.

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2496 days


#17 posted 11-30-2018 03:24 AM

Oak is a poor man’s Alder.

Alder is a rich man’s Walnut.

Walnuts are delicious.

I’ll be around all weekend…

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

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shipwright

8397 posts in 3335 days


#18 posted 11-30-2018 03:53 AM

I’m not a fan of red oak. For one thing it has been overused in cheap furniture which is not the fault of the wood. The other is my boatbuilder’s bias against this rot prone cousin of “real” oak. In the shipyards we used to call it (excuse my french) piss oak.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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shampeon

1900 posts in 2721 days


#19 posted 11-30-2018 04:30 AM

Paul has the right idea here, though I disagree with him since I kind of like red oak. There was a period of a couple decades before everything became particle board where most cheap furniture and all manner of mill work was flat sawn red oak. Got some cabinets from the ‘70s or ‘80s? Chances are it’s flat sawn red oak with huge roundovers. All with that Minwax golden oak finish.

It’s not my favorite wood or anything, and all things being equal I’d use nothing but walnut. But:
  • it’s hard
  • it’s easy to work
  • it’s relatively inexpensive
  • it’s readily available everywhere
  • QS it’s rays are beautiful
  • rift sawn it’s still really nice looking

Keep hating red oak, people. Keeps it cheap. My feeling is that if red oak wasn’t so plentiful and cheap domestically, it’d be a prized import. E.g. everyone hates cathedral grain red oak panels, but loves cathedral grain teak.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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Rich

5001 posts in 1127 days


#20 posted 11-30-2018 04:51 AM

Even though it was intended to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I’m glad I posted this. I knew I despised the wood, but Travis’s post really pins down why. It’s that damned cathedral grain that is alway so random on cheap furniture and cabinets. Combined with cheap stain that settles in that deep grain, it’s just a nightmare That’s is, pure and simple.

In case anyone missed it, I amended this to exclude QS oak. Totally different animal and I love it.

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Rich

5001 posts in 1127 days


#21 posted 11-30-2018 05:03 AM


Rich,
You just shamed me into setting fire to my entire kitchen. (except for my Flame Box Elder refrigerator and matching closet door).

- marc_rosen

Marc, I’m so sorry. But I believe you will be better off once you rebuild.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10859 posts in 2023 days


#22 posted 11-30-2018 06:16 AM

The internet ate my long wonderful post.

So I will abbreviate. How dare you Woody. Diver sucks and so does red oak. Jbay and bronco are my new old best friends. And red oak sucks.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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SMP

1422 posts in 443 days


#23 posted 11-30-2018 06:39 AM

I think anything that gets that mass produced gets old quick and gets that stigma. Same with all the “mission” style furniture they sell at discount stores and walmart etc. It looks cheap. But then you an actual arts and crafts piece and you are taken back. I’m with you on the tract orange cabinets(they were in my tract home I bought, but are now painted white). But i have made furniture from it and it looks fine, stained differently than tract orange. And i can actually pick up decent red oak at Home Depot 2 miles from home for cheap.

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WoodenDreams

799 posts in 448 days


#24 posted 11-30-2018 07:01 AM

50% of my projects requested to build, are to built in red oak. 40% is aromatic red cedar. And about 10% are requested in mahogany, hickory, maple or poplar. When it comes to Memorial Urns, about 75% is requested in red oak. One of the funeral homes I supply with urns, requests only red oak. The Table I’m building now is also requested in red oak. All of my clients can’t be wrong. I think the average John Doe that sees furniture in the stores, imitation red oak over MDF boards, and judge their opinions from that. We all have different tastes. My wife wants me to make hickory cabinets in the kitchen, currently the kitchen is oak. She likes any wood that has irregular patterns or knots. Beauty in the eyes of the beholder. If someone commissions you do build out of red oak, are you going to refuse the work.

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WoodenDreams

799 posts in 448 days


#25 posted 11-30-2018 07:26 AM

A couple weeks ago someone wanted me to restore his old cherry coffee table. He got upset when I showed him the expensive cherry coffee table was actually made from MDF board to look like cherry. Red Oak isn’t the only imitated wood out there. I stopped in at a local furniture store to check out the advertised chests they’re selling. They told me it is aromatic red cedar. I asked the salesman “How come you can’t smell the cedar?” then I showed him the veneer covering over the MDF board starting to peel away. He gave me a strange look then walked away. This type of furniture helps my business, since I only use solid wood.

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Tony_S

1027 posts in 3620 days


#26 posted 11-30-2018 10:36 AM



Oak isn t bad looking wood in my opinion, (of course there is no comparison to Alder)
I just think, for me here in Vegas, during the 80 s everything was built out of Oak.

I just got tired of seeing it, and now everytime I do, it makes me feel like it s dated.

On top of that, woods like Alder, Maple, Walnut became popular in place of the Oak.

- jbay

Same.
90% of the jobs we did were Red Oak up until mid to late 90’s. 100’s of thousand of board feet….gets pretty boring to say the least. I could say the same thing about Maple right now. The last 10-12 years was 90% Maple. Again, 100’s of thousands of board feet milled….blech.
Markets shifting again though.
Probably 50% Maple, 30% Quarter sawn White Oak, 20% mix of everything else. Maybe 5% Red Oak?(if that)
Back in the 90’s Jatoba was all the rage here as well, until everyone figured out that in this climate at least, it’s nothing more than unstable, misbehaving garbage. Now it’s very rare to get a request, and even more rare to get an order once the customer finds out I won’t warranty anything made from the crap.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

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tomsteve

975 posts in 1756 days


#27 posted 11-30-2018 02:18 PM



Oak isn t bad looking wood in my opinion, (of course there is no comparison to Alder)
I just think, for me here in Vegas, during the 80 s everything was built out of Oak.

I just got tired of seeing it, and now everytime I do, it makes me feel like it s dated.

- jbay

i hear ya here! i was framing houses from the early 90’s up to 2006 all over west metro detroit. $250k mil to $2 mil homes and oak was the standard for flooring,trim,cabinets….. it got old.
i dont build homes any more but make stuff in my shop. i’ll build with oak occasionally but prefer to use something different.

View Steve's profile

Steve

1614 posts in 1120 days


#28 posted 11-30-2018 02:53 PM

I like Red Oak better than the barnwood or pallet wood look that’s the rage these days.

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TheFridge

10859 posts in 2023 days


#29 posted 11-30-2018 02:54 PM

Wooden Dreams, actually. All of your clients are wrong. Red oak sucks and is inferior to alder in every way.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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JCamp

1008 posts in 1088 days


#30 posted 11-30-2018 02:58 PM

Give it another 20 years and you’ll get sick of maple and walnut because it’ll start being used so much. With some of the import restrictions tho you’ll probably love mahogany cause the imports of that will probably get cut way back. In the guitar community walnut and cherry is starting to be used much more due to it being hard to import/export guitars being made with rosewood

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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DBDesigns

232 posts in 535 days


#31 posted 11-30-2018 03:16 PM

81 year old southern red oak floors throughout my house. They still look stunning with a dark stain. Every wood has its place if the craftsmanship is solid.

Also, wide quarter-sawn oak of all species (Some call it “Tiger Oak”) looks impressive when it is left to shine on it’s own. It’s like a fine steak cooked medium rare with no steak sauce. Simple but classic.

Plus, around here (Atlanta) red oak is practically free. You can pick up 4×4s on the side of the road where they are doing pipe projects because they use it to ship the ductile iron pipes on flat beds. It’s heavy, dense, and free. If you take six 4×4s and glue them up side to side and use the legs properly braced, it makes a kick ass work bench!

Don’t forget pallet wood either. Granted, I’m not making cabinets or chest of drawers out of this stuff but it sure is useful when it is so cheap.

-- I remember when Grateful wasn't Dead

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BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2496 days


#32 posted 11-30-2018 03:23 PM



The internet ate my long wonderful post.

- TheFridge

I feel that somehow we are missing wisdom in that original post. Although I am not surprised. That much effort was bound to be wasted on a thread named “Red Oak.”

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

3681 posts in 2395 days


#33 posted 11-30-2018 03:39 PM

You alder guys explain how it’s a better wood please? Looking at its stats it cheaper, weighs less,less durable and has no character. It one step above pine although pine does take more skill to finish well.
https://www.wood-database.com/red-oak/
https://www.wood-database.com/red-alder/
Are there and examples of antique furniture made of alder that have survived? I think the only people in the world that like the stuff are the 4 or 5 of you on this forum that make the “hur dur it’s alder” comments over,over and over again. Stats don’t lie it’s cheap junk period.

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2496 days


#34 posted 11-30-2018 03:52 PM



You alder guys explain how it s a better wood please? Looking at its stats it cheaper, weighs less,less durable and has no character. It one step above pine although pine does take more skill to finish well.
https://www.wood-database.com/red-oak/
https://www.wood-database.com/red-alder/
Are there and examples of antique furniture made of alder that have survived? I think the only people in the world that like the stuff are the 4 or 5 of you on this forum that make the “hur dur it s alder” comments over,over and over again. Stats don t lie it s cheap junk period.

- diverlloyd

Pine is a favorite among forest fires. Alder is glorious.

Listen diver, there are 3 kinds of people. Those who can take a joke, and those who are excellent with numbers.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

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Rich

5001 posts in 1127 days


#35 posted 11-30-2018 03:53 PM


I think anything that gets that mass produced gets old quick and gets that stigma. Same with all the “mission” style furniture they sell at discount stores and walmart etc. It looks cheap. But then you an actual arts and crafts piece and you are taken back. I’m with you on the tract orange cabinets(they were in my tract home I bought, but are now painted white). But i have made furniture from it and it looks fine, stained differently than tract orange. And i can actually pick up decent red oak at Home Depot 2 miles from home for cheap.

- SMP

Tract orange. I love that. Perfect description.

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HokieKen

11365 posts in 1676 days


#36 posted 11-30-2018 03:55 PM

I prefer White Oak but I just like Oak personally. QS is great and the ray flecking makes for nice highlights. I’m okay with flatsawn too though. It’s a classic wood and it has a classic look. It ain’t for everything but neither is any other wood. And it removes a financial barrier for a lot of people who want to make fine furniture for themselves and their families. $3/bf for red oak is a big drop from $8/bf for Walnut. Just keep the “Golden” stains off of it and don’t slather it with a dozen coats of glossy poly!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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Rich

5001 posts in 1127 days


#37 posted 11-30-2018 03:57 PM


Give it another 20 years and you’ll get sick of maple and walnut because it’ll start being used so much. With some of the import restrictions tho you’ll probably love mahogany cause the imports of that will probably get cut way back. In the guitar community walnut and cherry is starting to be used much more due to it being hard to import/export guitars being made with rosewood

- JCamp

You have me blocked, but feel free to post in my thread? Hmmm.

Your loss too, since I have some awesome knives I wanted to add to your “Show us your favorite knives” thread and it wouldn’t have wound up with 0 replies.

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Rich

5001 posts in 1127 days


#38 posted 11-30-2018 03:59 PM


I feel that somehow we are missing wisdom in that original post. Although I am not surprised. That much effort was bound to be wasted on a thread named “Red Oak.”

- BroncoBrian

As the author of the OP, trust me when I say there was no wisdom involved :)

View SMP's profile

SMP

1422 posts in 443 days


#39 posted 11-30-2018 04:02 PM



I like Red Oak better than the barnwood or pallet wood look that s the rage these days.

- Steve

What if I told you a lot of reclaimed barn and pallet wood is red oak? I have some I have been sawing off the patina, even found a really old pallet that had QSWO, all beautiful under the patina. Only problem is the blackened nail holes.

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1436 days


#40 posted 11-30-2018 04:56 PM



You alder guys explain how it s a better wood please? Looking at its stats it cheaper, weighs less,less durable and has no character. It one step above pine although pine does take more skill to finish well.
https://www.wood-database.com/red-oak/
https://www.wood-database.com/red-alder/
Are there and examples of antique furniture made of alder that have survived? I think the only people in the world that like the stuff are the 4 or 5 of you on this forum that make the “hur dur it s alder” comments over,over and over again. Stats don t lie it s cheap junk period.

- diverlloyd

This would not have had half the character if it was red oak.

Not everything has to be an antique to be enjoyed for many years.
I wouldn’t consider this to be cheap junk!

I do understand though that you just are annoyed with the Alder comments.

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ArtMann

1441 posts in 1353 days


#41 posted 11-30-2018 05:34 PM

I agree with you but I carve inspirational signs using a CNC router and many different substrates. Rough signs made with barn wood sell much better than finely finished walnut, maple or cherry. Here is an example from last year’s Christmas stuff. The material is 3-1/2” heart pine tongue and groove planking from a 19th century school house. If it were red oak, it would never have sold.


I like Red Oak better than the barnwood or pallet wood look that s the rage these days.

- Steve


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Manitario

2787 posts in 3420 days


#42 posted 11-30-2018 05:35 PM

The only time I’ve seen something made of red oak that didn’t make me throw up in my mouth was a guy that used quartersawn red oak for a set of shelving. Looked ok, but still made me a bit queasy. Flatsawn, red oak (especially if darkly stained) instantly dates a piece to mid-80’s. There was some good that came out of the 80’s but a lot that should be left there, red oak included.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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Steve

1614 posts in 1120 days


#43 posted 11-30-2018 05:43 PM


I agree with you but I carve inspirational signs using a CNC router and many different substrates. Rough signs made with barn wood sell much better than finely finished walnut, maple or cherry. Here is an example from last year s Christmas stuff. The material is 3-1/2” heart pine tongue and groove planking from a 19th century school house. If it were red oak, it would never have sold.

I like Red Oak better than the barnwood or pallet wood look that s the rage these days.

- Steve

- ArtMann


I agree with you but I carve inspirational signs using a CNC router and many different substrates. Rough signs made with barn wood sell much better than finely finished walnut, maple or cherry. Here is an example from last year s Christmas stuff. The material is 3-1/2” heart pine tongue and groove planking from a 19th century school house. If it were red oak, it would never have sold.

I like Red Oak better than the barnwood or pallet wood look that s the rage these days.

- Steve

- ArtMann

Oh, I don’t blame you at all for capitalizing on the market.

I know a majority of the wood used inside the Biltmore House in NC was Red Oak. Lot of it was quartersawn

View Steve's profile

Steve

1614 posts in 1120 days


#44 posted 11-30-2018 05:46 PM

I agree with you but I carve inspirational signs using a CNC router and many different substrates. Rough signs made with barn wood sell much better than finely finished walnut, maple or cherry. Here is an example from last year s Christmas stuff. The material is 3-1/2” heart pine tongue and groove planking from a 19th century school house. If it were red oak, it would never have sold.

I like Red Oak better than the barnwood or pallet wood look that s the rage these days.

- Steve

- ArtMann

Oh, I don t blame you at all for capitalizing on the market.

I know a majority of the wood used inside the Biltmore House in NC was Red Oak. Lot of it was quartersawn

- Steve

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

975 posts in 1756 days


#45 posted 11-30-2018 06:03 PM



Wooden Dreams, actually. All of your clients are wrong. Red oak sucks and is inferior to alder in every way.

- TheFridge

and ya know what helps everyone that likes red oak and got hurt by all the comments?
BACON!!!!!
it help us,too, but just ‘cause we love BACON!!!

have scientists figured out how to make BACON wood yet???

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000

2859 posts in 1436 days


#46 posted 11-30-2018 06:16 PM

Here is another way we used to butcher Red Oak
Whitewash was all the rage.
Here is a kitchen I did in about 85’

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10859 posts in 2023 days


#47 posted 11-30-2018 07:57 PM

Jbay, I find paint is a perfect solution for red oak.


The only time I ve seen something made of red oak that didn t make me throw up in my mouth was a guy that used quartersawn red oak for a set of shelving. Looked ok, but still made me a bit queasy. Flatsawn, red oak (especially if darkly stained) instantly dates a piece to mid-80 s. There was some good that came out of the 80 s but a lot that should be left there, red oak included.

- Manitario

I have a man crush on this guy now :)

A nice piece of quarter sawn will be exempt from criticism. Notice I said nice.

I guess it’s a good thing all the barns around south Louisiana were built from cypress and not red oak. Otherwise there might be some serial barn burnings going on. Well. The 1 out of 100 that didn’t rot first.

Oh, and ignorance of the greatness of alder is still ignorance. What other wood do you need a mig welder for joinery? Thought not. Did you know that all petrified wood is just alder in its natural state Diver? When exposed to sunlight for for a couple days it intentionally softens itself to let you work it without diamond edge tools.

I will say. Red oak can at least say it’s not pine. Don’t get me started on pine.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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Rich

5001 posts in 1127 days


#48 posted 11-30-2018 08:16 PM

I have officially updated the title to exclude QS.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10859 posts in 2023 days


#49 posted 11-30-2018 08:18 PM

Don’t forget alder.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1127 days


#50 posted 11-30-2018 08:20 PM


Don’t forget alder.

- TheFridge

Alder speaks for itself.

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