White oak is very similar to its cousin Red Oak. The major technical differences are that whit oak is slightly harder and it is far more water resistant. The subjective differences are that white oak tends to be more gray or even slightly green in color. The grain in white oak tends to be more swirling. The oak family has several subspecies some are in the white family and others in the red. It becomes very difficult to differentiate in some of the subspecies.

Quartersawn boards are created by first cutting a log into quarters and then creating a series of parallel cuts perpendicular to the tree’s rings. The yield is not as substantial as in plain sawing. The grain in quartersawn wood is relatively consistent, and therefore the end product is stable and often preferred by woodworkers and furniture-makers.

White oak is generally preferred for furniture over red oak because of its grain pattern. Oak machines extremely well and it is the easiest wood to stain sand and finish. Contrary to popular opinion Red Oak and White Oak cannot be differentiated based upon color. The test to determine red and white oak is the length of the rays or the small bands that make up the “grain.” Red oak has bands that are short usually around 1/4″. White Oak has longer bands usually about 1/2″.

Stair Supplies manufactures and distributes a large number of white oak stair parts every day. Call a stair specialist for help in selecting the right parts for your stairs.