Oak Wood Properties & Uses : The Key to Its Versatility

    properties of oak wood

    Oak or European oak is a popular commercial hardwood which is prized for its hardness and durability. It has been used as a building and construction material for ages and continues to remain a popular choice for furniture, construction, cabinetry, decking, panelling, and decorative uses.

    Oak is also a durable wood and has good resistance to moisture and fungus. It was also historically used for building warships. It is not just strong but it also looks very attractive.

    Due to the high popularity and demand, it is widely available all over Europe. You can easily find or import oak anywhere in the world from a reliable online wood seller like White Knight Consulting Ltd.

    Wondering what makes it one of the most sought-after hardwood species in the world? Let’s take a look at the various oak wood properties and its exceptional uses in detail.

    Physical Properties of Oak Wood

    Knowing about the various physical properties of oak, such as appearance, workability, durability, etc. can help you make the right choice when buying hardwood for your next project. It is considered superior to many popular kinds of wood such as pine and poplar in many terms. It has outstanding strength and great flexibility. Let’s look at each oak property more closely.

    Oak Wood Origin & Trees

    It is found all over the world, including Europe, America, Asia, and other regions.

    The trees are generally very large and can reach up to thirty metres in height, which means the yield per oak tree is very high. This ensures that large boards of oak are easily available for use in furniture, flooring, and cladding. This also helps speed up the progress as fewer pieces of wood are required for a job.

    There are more than 60 types of oak, of which white and red oak are the most famous.

    Oak Wood Appearance

    Oak is prized for its naturally golden hue, which turns silverish or darker with age. However, different species of oak can have different color types. White oak, for instance, is beige-brownish, while red oak is darker reddish. The color can vary even in different parts of the same tree. The sapwood is lighter but not always easy to differentiate.

    It is also renowned for its beautiful and rather unique grain pattern. Even the texture looks very attractive and allows the wood to be used without any decoration or coloring. It has a straight grain and a typically uneven texture which is responsible for its distinctive grain pattern.

    Some species, including white oak, have closed pores, which make them resistant to moisture. Other variants like red oak have open pores.

    The color and grain are uniform throughout which ensures consistent finishing results, which is crucial for large projects. Oak wood is also generally stained to achieve different looks to fit various purposes.

    Strength & Durability

    A testament to the strength and durability of oak are the many classic oak framed buildings that are still standing upright or oak beams that continue to hold many floors on them.

    It is a very strong, hard, and naturally durable wood. In fact, it is considered one of the hardest and strongest woods out there.

    With a Janka score of 1,360 lbf, white oak is the hardest species of oak. Red Oak, with a Janka score of 1,290, is close second. The hardness is the reason why oak furniture and products last very long and need very little maintenance.

    It has a high proportion of tanning which gives it outstanding resistance against insects and fungi. This is also the reason for the longevity of oak trees and structures. Moreover, oak wood is naturally resistant to water and can withstand extreme weathering conditions without decaying or rotting. White oak, particularly, is the perfect wood for outdoor applications because of its closed pores and extreme hardness. The wood is also resistant to wear and tear.

    Oak timber is naturally weatherproof and can be used outdoors without requiring any treatment. The texture of white oak is dense and without pores and it doesn’t absorb water easily, which means it can be used outside without waterproofing. It also needs very little maintenance.

    Dried oak is extremely resistant to warping or shrinking and will last very long without cracking over time.


    Despite being a hard and dense wood, Oak is fairly easy to work with. It is easy on cutters and other machinery. Moreover, it takes stains, polishes, and finishes very well. It is also easy to glue.

    Oak is widely used for veneering, as the wood can be easily split and sliced to make beautiful veneers. Nailing and screwing is also easy because of its straight grain and no pre-drilling is required.

    Because oak has a high tannin content, it can sometimes lose colour when in contact with iron. Also, it can be too heavy and slightly difficult to handle.

    Sustainability of Oak

    Though it is an easily and widely available wood, that hasn’t stopped people from illegally harvesting or deforesting this wood for personal profits. This is why you must always buy sustainable oak timber from an FSC-certified timber supplier.

    Because oak furniture and products have a very long life, it is one of the best examples of sustainable wood that doesn’t have to be replaced anytime soon. In many cases, oak items can last centuries with good care.

    Technical Properties of Oak Wood (White Oak)

    • Average Dried Weight: 47.0 lbs/ft3 (755 kg/m3)
    • Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): 0.6, 0.75
    • Janka Hardness: 1,350 lbf (5,990 N)
    • Modulus of Rupture: 14,830 lbf/in2 (102.3 MPa)
    • Elastic Modulus: 1,762,000 lbf/in2 (12.15 GPa)
    • Crushing Strength: 7,370 lbf/in2 (50.8 MPa)
    • Shrinkage: Radial: 5.6%, Tangential: 10.5%, Volumetric: 16.3%, T/R Ratio: 1.9

    Uses of Oak Wood

    Because oak is resistant to water and weather, it is a wonderful choice for outdoor furniture and other exterior woodworking applications such as exterior cladding, decking, and boatbuilding, Oak is also used for making waterproof wine barrels.

    As a hardwood that is naturally resistant to shrinking and warping, it is also commonly used for making doors and window frames.

    Other common uses of oak timber include flooring, structure for buildings, crafting, kitchen appliances, tools, cabinetry, interior trim, plywood, and veneers.

    Where To Buy Sustainable Oak Wood Online?

    At White Knight Consulting Ltd, we are an FSC-certified timber company that only deals in sustainable wood which has been produced in legal forests by credible farmers. We source our wood from highly trusted wood producers around the world.

    Moreover, our timber is locally processed at our UK factory by expert woodworkers and artisans to provide you with the best quality, sustainable wood products.

    You can now buy oak timber online by visiting our official website and explore our wide range of timber and wood products. We deliver our wood all over the world. Send your inquiry today.

    whatsapp icon