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Oak, White


Hardwood 47 lbs. per cubic foot, 3.83 lbs. per board foot
White oak is a domestic Eastern wood often used in boat building. The problem with white oak, however, is distinguishing it from red oak that is not nearly as suitable for boat building since it is weaker and rots easily unless pressure treated with preservatives. The following characteristics should help in separating white oak from red oak. The heartwood pores will be plugged with abundant hair-like ingrowths known as tyloses, whereas red oak will contain few. The heartwood of white oak is tan or light brown, while that of red oak is reddish or pink. The pores in summer wood are very small and numerous in white oak, but with red oak they are few, large, and open. A chemical test using benzidine-sodium nitrate turns white oak heartwood dark brown or greenish brown, but that of red oak turns light orange. White oak is excellent for steam bending but should ideally be "green" for this purpose and not seasoned. It is durable, stiff, strong, hard, holds fastenings very well, is rot resistant, but is somewhat difficult to work and requires sharp tools. Because of the gallic acid in white oak, it reacts with plastic resin glue when submerged in salt water, and therefore this glue should not be used with white oak under these conditions.
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