White oak is impervious to liquids, and has been used extensively for ship timbers, barrels and casks. White oak is the state tree of Connecticut, Illinois and Maryland.
Where it Grows
Widespread throughout the Eastern U.S. The white oak group comprises many species, of which about eight are commercial. The trees prefer rich well drained soil, and average height is 60 to 80 feet.
The sapwood is light-colored and the heartwood is light to dark brown. White oak is mostly straight-grained with a medium to coarse texture, with longer rays than red oak. White oak therefore has more figure.
Furniture, flooring, architectural millwork, mouldings, doors, kitchen cabinets, paneling, barrel staves (tight cooperage) and caskets.
White oak machines well, nails and screws well although pre-boring is advised. Since it reacts with iron, galvanized nails are recommended. Its adhesive properties are variable, but it stains to a good finish. Can be stained with a wide range of finish tones. The wood dries slowly.
A hard and heavy wood with medium bending and crushing strength, low in stiffness, but very good in steam bending. Great wear-resistance.