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For a lot of the students, this was their first time using red oak.

“This seems partly due to the long-term market dominance of U.S. white and European oak, partly the word ‘red’ which puts buyers off, even if at most red oak has a subtle rose pink striation. But it’s used extensively in other markets, including the USA itself, and in a huge range of applications, from flooring, through stairs and joinery to furniture and construction. It is also the most prolific wood in the U.S. hardwood forest, accounting for 20% of the total and growing at the rate of a football pitch every two minutes. That also makes it the most sustainable U.S. species, which means using it makes most environmentally sound use of the forest resource.” – David Venables, AHEC’s European Director.

Red oak is the dominant species in the U.S. hardwood forests with distinctive grain and wood that is not always red in colour. The name is supposedly due to the Autumn leaf colour. Red oak trees grow only naturally and almost exclusively in North America, although planted elsewhere. Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) data shows red oak growing stock is 18.7% of total U.S. hardwood growing stock and that while 33.9 million m3 of American red oak are harvested each year, more than 32 million m3 are naturally growing over the same period. In general, the sapwood of red oaks is light brown and the heartwood is often pinkish to reddish brown. American red oaks have very good overall strength properties relative to weight. Its main uses are furniture, flooring, doors and certain construction applications. 

Find out more about American red oak >