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Author Topic: Red oak question  (Read 599 times)

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Offline welderskelter

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Red oak question
« on: May 01, 2021, 08:08:37 PM »
Well you all done a fine job on the basswood how about red oak? I seam to have a lot of it around here. My neighbor said if you use redoak for building you need to use it green as it dries so hard it is hard to nail in it. Is that right. Suppose you wouldnt want to use it in a house green tho. I do need a wood shed so will probably use it for that. What else?

Offline Larry

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Re: Red oak question
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2021, 08:38:51 PM »
About 35 years ago I built a 4 stall horse barn with a hay loft out of green red oak.  Yes, it was hard to nail even green.  I dropped the nails in a can of ATF which helped (a nailgun has no problem).  I sized my rafters the same size as they would be if using dry SYP.  Due to green wood, the rafters sagged a little and if you look close it resembles a Swiss chalet.  Didn't hurt anything and the barn is still being used and in good condition.

Red oak isn't high on my list as framing lumber....but if I had nothing else it will work.

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Offline welderskelter

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Re: Red oak question
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2021, 08:56:50 PM »
I

Offline barbender

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Re: Red oak question
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2021, 10:04:46 PM »
Oak does have a tendency to sag, I hear.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Don P

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Re: Red oak question
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2021, 11:19:50 PM »
Red oak is not as strong as most people think. If you want to compare a little hit the calc here, Design for Bending (forestryforum.com)

Plug in #2 red oak and then try something like 6" wide #2 SYP. Scroll to the bottom table and especially notice the difference in modulus of elasticity, stiffness.

Another interesting thing most folks don't realize is fast grown ring porous woods like red oak are a good bit denser and so stronger than slow grown trees. One of those cases where "modern" wood can arguably be "better" than old growth.

A lot of the old houses I work on have red oak frames. Hard to say on the sagging. Bless those carpenters pea picking hearts, most members are so undersized even a stiffer wood would have sagged. I've got a 2x4 porch roof hip here somewhere that I saved just for comic relief, it has a good 3" of sag in it. From back when common sense said a hip was self supporting  ::). It didn't fail in over a century but it was a pretty bad idea from day one.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Red oak question
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2021, 11:40:16 PM »
This is prime Northern Red oak country. Nobody frames with red oak. Not even timberframe. All grade, pallet stock  or donnage.
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Offline Southside

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Re: Red oak question
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2021, 11:42:12 PM »
Don - remind me if I don't get it to you but I have some photos of window headers to share that will make your carpenters look like modern engineers.  We are talking toe nailed 2x4's run together to make a header... fine craftsmanship!!  No idea how the walls stayed true.  
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Red oak question
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2021, 11:44:13 PM »
I need to amend my above post. I can't speak for what the Amish do, because I do not know, but there is a large population here.
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Red oak question
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2021, 09:06:54 AM »
There are many "common houses" in Appalachia, often still lived in, that were not built  by Amish nor by trained carpenters either. They did whatever they did with whatever they had that was close by and cheap. I've seen plenty of Red Oak rafters that sure didn't meet anyone's notion of correct size or spacing but they were still there when I tore them down, often with some swag. Many of those structures were built using low grade stuff from a mills off cuts or low grade boards, while others would have the wide boards never seen in todays builds. They saved old nails and reused them too, whatever it took to get a roof over their head.  
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Red oak question
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2021, 11:42:18 AM »
When you go to meet the Lord he isnt gonna be concerned with whether your house met code requirements.  Hes gonna want to know did you honor me and your wife and parents and love your neighbors in that house i gave you. 
Psalm 37:16

Offline Don P

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Re: Red oak question
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2021, 12:14:13 PM »
One goal though is to not arrive or send someone else to that gate because of your earthly habitation.

The nearby town was a furniture manufacturing hot spot for several generations before most of it went to China in the last couple of decades. Much of the framing was what wasn't useable at the mill so some pretty rough stuff in some of those. We were reroofing one house and during the tearoff discovered drawer box sides for sheathing.

Another simple single story house goes by several names, bargeboard, plank, Jenny Lind. The walls were a single thickness of boards nailed upright to the floor framing without any stud frame. At the top was a horizontal 2x4 rim flatways and then the ceiling joists and rafters atop that. There was one on the hill above us built by a Civil War vet. It has collapsed in my lifetime so it lasted about a century. Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian houses were an adaptation of that concept.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Red oak question
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2021, 04:20:14 PM »
Who do you think held those rat shacks together for a century don.  

:D
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Red oak question
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2021, 04:23:57 PM »
Thats what I was saying-> vertical wide, overlapping boards, but the last one I tore down that style was built during the great depression dated by the newspapers on the walls. Sometimes on those old ones I'd stop work just to read those old newspapers that sealed the drafts. 
Kan=Kansas;tuck=Kentucky;kid=what I'm not

Offline Don P

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Re: Red oak question
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2021, 10:25:48 PM »
We often say it was the termites holding hands that keeps a lot of those old things standing. I've been watching a nice old 3 story gristmill slowly collapse for the past few weeks. Always meant to go poke around inside but too dangerous now.

The stuff you find in the walls and underneath can be fun. A 1902 indian head penny came out while we were replacing a sill last week. I suspect it was the good luck coin and dates the house. Reading material is always fun. My first find on this one was a newspaper in the wall from during the Berlin airlift. We found WWII Life magazines used a shims in one house, folded in half and slid under a plate. WWI era newspapers were plastering the wall in an old cabin at the top of the mountain here. I cleaned up a strange looking piece of glass the other night. I had thought it was some kind of sediment bowl when I first saw it but it is a heavy wine glass with the stem broken off. A toy indian and the wing of a german biplane were also under the house.

I use the word "code" pretty often, it writes quick. Another way of saying the same thing that might be more PC is "according to accepted engineering practice".

Northern red oak is the longleaf pine of red oaks. If you look in those tables above it carries its own set of higher strength values. When looking for timbers it is the one I'm looking for. Scarlet is about my least favorite common red locally, it'll hold dead branches forever.


The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester


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