Oak is a strong, hardwearing and attractive wood ideal for many things including shelving, flooring, cabinets, pallets, firewood and furniture all around the home.
With around 400 different species of oak trees to choose from, white and red oak are arguably the most commonly known and have many pros and cons to consider, when purchasing oak living room furniture.
There are so many variations in oak lumber that it can be very difficult to tell the two apart upon sight. Red often has appealing reddish pink tones to it; however it is not a clear case of white oak is white and red oak is red, as the colour has a lot to do with how the tree has grown, the part of the tree from which the wood comes, as well as the specific variety of oak tree. In many cases, it may have also previously been stained to change the colour.
Red oak is an extremely popular choice in hardwood flooring and furniture, as it has attractive strong graining patterns, is lighter in density and is usually the cheaper option. The wider graining makes the appearance of the wood more unique, whereas white oak has a much more uniform straight grain.
As White Oak is a lot less common and more expensive, it is a very popular choice for fine higher end furniture. It stains well and evenly in any colour and is also a great choice for outdoor use, as its pores are plugged with tyloses, making it more water tight and resistant to problems such as mould and the potential to rot. It is also recommended for flooring in busy areas, like hallways, as it is dense and very hardwearing.
The pores in red oak are very open, which should in theory make red oak more identifiable but if in doubt, a way of testing it is to try to blow down through the pores. If you are able to blow through it, it is likely to be red oak.
There are however exceptions to the rule; chestnut oak has large pores, although it is considered to be a white oak. Unlike other white oaks though, it is not considered to be good timber, as it is not straight and branches low.
Although oak is seen as a traditional choice, it is certainly not dull. Whether you decide on red or white oak, your furniture will develop over time and can be updated, stained, sanded down and still hold its worth. Oak living room furniture can easily be a lifelong investment, so it is important to make the right choice.
This interesting article has been contributed by J Hawkes, a blogger who frequently blogs on topics of the environment. Hawkes decided to write this article after browsing www.nationalfurniture.co.uk for Oak living furniture and taking an interest in the different Oaks and finishes available.
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