Color/Appearance:Heartwood is a light to medium brown, commonly with an olive cast. Paler sapwood is not always sharply demarcated from the heartwood. Quartersawn sections display prominent ray fleck patterns (seeimagesbelow).Red oak(Quercus rubra)tends to have a slightly redder cast (as opposed to olive), but color alone isn’t always a reliable method ofdetermining the type of oak.
Rot Resistance: Rated as very durable; frequently used in boatbuilding and tight cooperage applications.
Workability: Produces good results with hand and machine tools. Has moderately high shrinkage values, resulting in mediocre dimensional stability, especially in flatsawn boards. Can react with iron (particularly when wet) and cause staining and discoloration. Responds well to steam-bending. Glues, stains, and finishes well.
Odor:Has a distinct smell while being worked that is common to most oaks. Most find it appealing.