Let's Talk Red Oak

In the North American hardwood lumber industry more than half of all the timber harvested and manufactured are oaks. Red oak and white oak are both beautiful hardwoods to work with. However, in most instances, red oak is the dominant species type when it comes to the volume of lumber utilized.

Red Oak lumber is used in nearly every application from cabinetry and flooring to millwork and furniture. It is still one of the most sort after products by our customers on a monthly basis. Throughout our sawmills and lumber concentration yards we manufacture various red oak products. Of course we provide the standard NHLA lumber grades of FAS, 1 common, 2 common and 3 common in most thicknesses ranging from 4/4” through 16/4”. We also regularly provide customers a full complement of custom length or width sorts in an attempt to improve their manufacturing yields. Recently, we have also been providing customers with ripped hardwood blanks using SLR2E & S4S services to help them produce decorative panels, moulding and millwork products more efficiently.lets talk red oak american

Also, when it comes to red oak, we find customers sometimes categorize the lumber of this species into two general classes. Northern red oak and southern red oak.

When we speak of northern red oak we are referring to lumber from the Quercus rubra family. This is typically found in the hardwood forests stretching from Southern Canada to Tennessee. When we refer to southern red oak, (a.k.a. pin oak, Spanish oak or scarlet oak) we are referring to the species of Quercus falcate which is mostly found the southeastern states spanning from Mississippi to South Carolina.

In most instances, our manufacturing and distribution customers request one type of red oak versus the other because of their specific needs or application. For example, Northern Red Oak, because of the shorter growing season and fewer native species variants, is known to have tighter growth rings and better color consistency. So for applications that require those special red oak characteristics Northern is their preferred choice. In addition, the size and quality of the logs also enable sawmills to cut thicker stock which means you are more likely to see Northern Red Oak used when thicker lumber is required such as doors.

On the other hand, Southern Red Oak, because of its longer growing season, can typically be attractive to customers that require larger average lengths and widths. Many of our moulding and millwork customers have requested southern red oak material for this very reason.

Both classifications of red oak can be of high quality and we at American Lumber can help you source what is best for you and needs.

If you are in the market for red oak please give us a call. We would welcome the chance to help you. Contact us today!

Anthony C.
American Lumber
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