wheat oak?

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Forum topic by Whiskers posted 07-25-2013 03:38 AM 2040 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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389 posts in 2537 days

07-25-2013 03:38 AM

It seems I live in a little black hole when it comes to hardwoods. No white oak and no hard maple, only thing I can find around here is red oak, poplar, and aspen (is that a hardwood). However, my little local ma and pa store called one of their suppliers and they said they had something called wheat oak for $3.15 a board foot. That’s finished, not rough cut. They said it of the red oak family but is light in color like wheat. Kind of like white oak, but maybe not as light. Anyone ever hear of such a critter. It supposed to be something that grows up north where the polar bears roam like the northern United States. I’m down in the deep south of Alabama which is why it so hard to find white oak and hard maple etc.

$3.15 a board foot for real oak doesn’t sound bad for me for finished, but this seems like a strange thing since I never heard of it before, but who knows, maybe if it has a pretty grain etc, I can work with it

Aspen is a really nice clean white color, but it so soft and has no grain, seems useless, pointless point to the post, but thought I would mention it. I was able to indent it with my fingernail.

21 replies so far

View wbrisett's profile


205 posts in 2859 days

#1 posted 07-25-2013 09:34 AM

Aspen is not a hardwood, it’s a poplar (think pine).

You may want to look around for a sawmill or local sawyer (check out:, you may find better deals and better selections. I’ve made a connection with a local mill and while I have to dimension the wood, I love the fact that I get wood at a fraction the price the local fine lumber outlet here in town sells stuff for. I am at the mercy of the mill for selection, but right now I have maple, mesquite, cherry, pecan, and some sycamore waiting for me to build my projects with.

Wheat Oak… While I haven’t heard of anything in the red oak family specifically called wheat oak, there are over 50 types of oak trees in North America alone (and many more outside NA). It wouldn’t surprise me if there was some subspecies of red oak called wheat oak. Either that or just some label attached to it by the distributor due to the color.

Good luck in your lumber search, but I do think your best option may be a mill or sawer in your area.

View Woodmaster1's profile


1236 posts in 3097 days

#2 posted 07-25-2013 09:51 AM

Aspen is classified as a hardwood not a softwood, if it has leaves it is a hardwood. Aspen is soft not hard in texture. Wheat oak is a red oak just a lighter color than normal red oak. $3.15 is probably an ok price it depends on what is available in your area.

View mporter's profile


253 posts in 3088 days

#3 posted 07-25-2013 01:56 PM

Get the scientific name of the “wheat oak”, then you can easily find out exactly what oak that is. This is exactly why scientific names exist. I have heard that same oak species be called 10 different common names.

Just so you know, a hardwood has seeds with a covering, softwoods have no seed covering. Besides the composition of the cellulose, hemi-cellulose, and lignin of the wood, the presence or absence of a seed covering is the only way to distinguish a hard wood or softwood. It has nothing to do with how hard or soft the wood is or if the tree has leaves.

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 2403 days

#4 posted 07-25-2013 02:06 PM

Wheat oak? If this exists, I would like to know if I can also get:

- butter pine
- earl grey walnut
- western bread cedar
- raisinheart
- seabasswood
- sugarless fir
- brazil nut cherry
- smoked bacon hickory

And some male carpenters I know have trouble finding a lot of:
- nice white ash

But most of all, I’ve been trying to find this most elusive hardwood:
- hot barbeque buffalo-style wenge

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View firefighterontheside's profile


20581 posts in 2367 days

#5 posted 07-25-2013 02:30 PM

I looked in my book called Knowing Your Trees and did a few Google searches and found no mention of Wheat Oak other than when used as the color of a prefinished flooring.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View bold1's profile


328 posts in 2357 days

#6 posted 07-25-2013 10:19 PM

Northern Red Oak’s color is know as Wheat to lumber graders. I would say that that is what they were quoting you the price on.

View pintodeluxe's profile (online now)


5987 posts in 3323 days

#7 posted 07-25-2013 10:49 PM

Just make sure you are not getting Pin Oak AKA “Swamp Oak.” It stinks so bad when you mill it, one woodworker described it like “Lightning hitting the outhouse.” It is also full of knots and the figure is usually irregular.
I have bought plenty of northern red oak, but I have never heard it called wheat oak.
Don’t buy anything without a good inspection of the product.

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

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2997 days

#8 posted 07-25-2013 10:50 PM

You are in L.A. and can’t find white oak?

Make a drive over here to Texas, you can use my chainsaw mill and cut out a couple of hundred board feet for yourself….. I get 50% of what you cut.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View mporter's profile


253 posts in 3088 days

#9 posted 07-26-2013 12:35 AM

AHHHH!!! This is what I am talking about. Pin Oak and Swamp Oak are two totally separate trees.

Whiskers, if you live in Alabama you should be able to find Northern Red Oak and Scarlet Oak all day long.

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3595 days

#10 posted 07-26-2013 02:14 AM

I can remember when the dictionary defined hardwood as wood from a broad leafed tree, and some hardwood
furniture frames were made from cottonwood, which is definitely a broad leafed tree, and once dried is very
hard, but as one oldtimer said, if you build a stairway out of wet cottonwood, you have a very erratic

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View tenderfoot's profile


22 posts in 2277 days

#11 posted 07-26-2013 02:52 AM

I like red oak a lot for stuff, (Quercus rubra) but nothing I worry about shrinking or swelling too much! I use it on boxes for tools and such and it looks good (to me). I would just use that. You may be able to find Red Maple (Acer rubrum, Ive heard it called Swamp Maple before) and that is pretty great too. I use it a lot for tool handles and such.

EDIT: Aspen and Poplar, I belive, are in the same genus and are pretty similar in characteristics.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2865 days

#12 posted 07-26-2013 02:58 AM

well when you said deep south alabama,I was about to hook you up with some lumber sources, but when I figured out you were in north alabama, well my sources won’t deliver up there. Wrong side of the state, however you might try acadian hardwoods. They may deliver to your area, and they have a nice variety.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 2986 days

#13 posted 07-26-2013 03:27 AM

I am a Forester. I am a Dendrologist (a tree expert), and have taught tree ID for many years. There is no such thing as “wheat oak”. It might be an oak, but sounds like a marketing ploy. There are red oaks and there are white oaks. No “wheat oak”.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1329 posts in 2445 days

#14 posted 07-26-2013 03:57 AM

Ha. Redsled, I freaking love wordplay. You beat me to the punch. Well done

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2537 days

#15 posted 07-26-2013 04:05 AM

I appreciate all the informative posts so far. Most of them support what they said and what I already knew, but there was some good new info as well. My main reason for wanting something like white oak or maple was for these projects I wanted to finish in a light color since I’m using white Formica for the table tops, but my tablesaw outfeed table would look awesome and match up real good finished with ebony trim. I think I’ll order a little from these folks to test the waters so to speak since I am having supplier problems and see what kind of quality they deliver. This wheat oak may be the same thing our local Lowe’s is selling, I wouldn’t be surprised. In which case it definately cheaper thru this venue, and I like helping to keep my ma and pa store in business. They also have other woods which may be useful for my future furniture making plans.

I also saw all the flooring pics and mentions from google as firefighter said, and the color looked pretty, but maybe a little darker than i wanted. I’ve never heard of or seen the scarlet oak someone mentioned, and red maple? your kidding right? it may be a beautiful wood but red maple is a tiny tree, might make a nice staff.

Speaking of weird woods, I have a great big cherry laural that is invading my porch, and i’m going to cut it down. Not big enough for a furniture project, but i might can think of something to make out of it. If nothing else I plan to use it to just chew into sawdust learning how to operate a lathe, but was wondering if anyone ever had any experience with it.

Oh, and as someone else mentioned, I said I’m in the deep south of Alabama, not in south Alabama, I’m actually only about 30 miles to the Tennessee Border.

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