American red oak is a classic looking oak wood, with a distinct pale reddish tinge, that injects a unique warmth to its finish. It has slightly less pronounced figure than white oak, due to smaller medullary rays and a more porous end grain structure. The wood is mostly straight grained with a course texture. It is strong, hardwearing and the most used hardwood in the USA. It is also good for steam bending.
The sapwood is creamy white and may be streaked, with the heartwood varying from pale yellowish brown to olive green. The green colour in the heartwood will tend to darken on exposure to UV light and turn brown. The wood has a medium to fine texture and is straight grained. The size of the sapwood and some physical characteristics will vary according to growing regions. The wood has many desirable characteristics and is suitable for a wide variety of important uses. Tulipwood is not a poplar (Populus) and has many superior properties. However the tree resembles the shape of the European poplar, hence its name in the USA.