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Forum topic by cowboyup3371 posted 05-11-2020 11:22 PM 440 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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cowboyup3371

170 posts in 965 days


05-11-2020 11:22 PM

My daughter’s boyfriend gave me some pieces of oak he had laying around but couldn’t tell me for sure what type. I want to get some white oak for a project I am planning and hoped to use it; but, to me, it looks like red oak instead. Would I be right from the pictures I could take after sanding off what was on top?

-- Cowboy Up or Quit - If you are going to quit than get out of my way


14 replies so far

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CaptainKlutz

3139 posts in 2261 days


#1 posted 05-11-2020 11:57 PM

https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/distinguishing-red-oak-from-white-oak/

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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cowboyup3371

170 posts in 965 days


#2 posted 05-11-2020 11:59 PM

Thanks Klutz and yes I already looked there which is what reinforced my idea of it being Red. I just wanted some other personal eyes on it to help confirm my thoughts.

-- Cowboy Up or Quit - If you are going to quit than get out of my way

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

2103 posts in 2950 days


#3 posted 05-12-2020 12:02 AM

Looks like red to me, but a fresh cut on the end grain would tell you for certain.

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

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CaptainKlutz

3139 posts in 2261 days


#4 posted 05-12-2020 12:41 AM

Original pictures would only be a guess with 50/50 odds. :-(

+1 need a close up view of the polished end grain to know for sure.

Sorry I didn’t explain my short answer the 1st time.

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View JohnMcClure's profile

JohnMcClure

1014 posts in 1407 days


#5 posted 05-12-2020 12:44 AM

Looks like red, unless there are rays hiding in the end grain.

End grain of my white oak side table top for comparison.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

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Aj2

3066 posts in 2565 days


#6 posted 05-12-2020 01:16 AM

White oak has a different smell then red oak.

-- Aj

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ibewjon

1614 posts in 3560 days


#7 posted 05-12-2020 01:20 AM

If there are pores in end grain, it is red oak. You can see through the pores in a thin sliced. That is why red oak rots. White doesn’t have the straws that wick water.

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

6575 posts in 2488 days


#8 posted 05-12-2020 01:26 AM

I have seen medullary rays in white and red oak so their presence should not be a qualifier one way or another. The pores of white oak are always filled with tyloses and will not allow air or water to pass while those of red oak are hollow and will.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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Woodmaster1

1469 posts in 3354 days


#9 posted 05-12-2020 01:45 AM

It looks like red oak base on the end grain picture. Red oak has medullary rays I use quartersawn red oak all the time. I still have about 500bdft to use on projects. Below is an example of quartersawn red oak.

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therealSteveN

5735 posts in 1341 days


#10 posted 05-12-2020 06:14 AM

The magical word everyone is dancing around is Tyloses. White Oak has them, they are like little plugs. Red Oak does not.

You can actually drink water through a short length of red oak, due to the open canals that go to the top of the tree. On white oak, nope, glued shut every few inches. Also why you can use WO outdoors, and not red.

Capn K posted the correct page, just takes a bit of reading and looking to suss it out.

https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/distinguishing-red-oak-from-white-oak/

-- Think safe, be safe

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tomsteve

1037 posts in 1986 days


#11 posted 05-12-2020 09:11 AM



White oak has a different smell then red oak.

- Aj2

different taste,too. :)

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

3771 posts in 1989 days


#12 posted 05-12-2020 05:40 PM

Sodium Nitrate (can be found as a food preservative in larger grocery stores or Amazon if you need a lifetime supply)

Mix with water, about a tsp of water with a pinch of the nitrate (you only need a tiny amount of solution for the test).

Place a drop onto a hidden area of the wood and wait for maybe 10 minutes, white oak will turn black.

This has saved my bacon a few times with red oak boards I had assumed where white oak (and vice-versa)

https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/pdf1985/mille85a.pdf

https://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Distinguishing_White_Oak_from_Red.html?printfriendly

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Fred Hargis

6232 posts in 3260 days


#13 posted 05-12-2020 06:20 PM

The sodium nitrate test is foolproof, and easy. After I read about it I keep a small bottle of it around just for those boards that don’t want to be identified otherwise.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View cowboyup3371's profile

cowboyup3371

170 posts in 965 days


#14 posted 05-13-2020 01:35 AM

I did one better today. Since I have never seen white oak up front and I’m testing out a thought for my next project, I stopped in at my local Woodcraft to get supplies now that they are open again. I grabbed a short 1/3 bf piece of QS White Oak and will work with it later this week. Just a quick look at the grain on the white oak piece confirmed that what my daughter’s boyfriend gave me is red oak.

Thank you all for the advice; now I know for sure.

-- Cowboy Up or Quit - If you are going to quit than get out of my way

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