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Author Topic: Black Oak?  (Read 773 times)

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Offline Rhodemont

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Black Oak?
« on: January 12, 2021, 09:21:27 AM »
I have felled many large 24+ inch black oaks, the very dark bark, leaves and acorns are easy to identify and separate from the reds.  Throughout the forest I also have many much smaller trees that I always thought were a red maple and have not paid much attention to.  I have cut some as firewood that blew down or got knocked by a neighbor coming down.  One of these smaller trees uprooted and went down across a trail down in the back during a heavy wind storm late this past summer when still leafed out.  This past week end I cleaned it up for fire wood, about 10 inch in diameter and maybe 40 feet tall among large oaks.  The wood when fresh cut has very yellow inner bark and the heart greenish.  Growth rings very tight, I counted about 90.  With the small crown full of leaves to move out of the way I took a close look.  Wait, these are black oak leaves, and are not those acorns that are starting to form.  Guess I have had it wrong?  Are they stunted from the canopy of the big trees which tend to be 120 years old and would get darker bark if allowed to release from the canopy?



 

 

 

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Offline JohnW

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2021, 03:22:42 PM »
Some will tell me I'm crazy, but the first picture looks like sassafras.  However, the leaf and branches don't look like sassafras at all.

Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2021, 03:58:56 PM »
Some will tell me I'm crazy, but the first picture looks like sassafras.  However, the leaf and branches don't look like sassafras at all.
Those are my exact thoughts. 

Offline Rhodemont

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2021, 05:20:51 PM »
I am very embarrassed! thinking I should post this in Did something dumb today (last night). I was hung up on what this was so last night took a flash light and went to collect the leaves and stems.  A large branch from an oak had come down right next to the fallen crown from this tree.  I grabbed the oak.  Just went back down and got the correct leaves...yes sassafras,  some leaves with three fingers and some like mittens. I see sassafras around but very young and much smaller, did not know this is what the mature looks like.
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2021, 09:35:09 AM »
With Sassafras the fragrance is a dead sure tell. All oaks smell like acid wood? 
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Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2021, 06:00:43 PM »
What do you define as a black oak?  The native oak of Kansas is Burr oak, which is a white oak variety, but has a tan color, similar to red oak. Guys from Missouri call the Burr oak a black oak.  Could someone explain what a black oak is?
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Offline WDH

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2021, 08:10:54 PM »
Quercus velutina.  In the red oak group. 

Virginia Tech Dendrology Fact Sheet

Many common names are wrong. 
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Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2021, 09:19:53 PM »
I milled a small sassafras log a month ago and it was the strongest smelling wood I've milled.  It was like milling a bottle of A&W rootbeer with a little lemon thrown in.
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2021, 06:21:15 AM »
I made a log bed from sassafras and very lightly sanded the bark to eliminate the aspect of crumbs falling off on bedding. It has a nice reddish, perhaps best called russet color lying just beneath the outer crust. I doused it heavily in WATCO Danish oil after assembly and zero powderpost on it over the years. The pieces I'd stored for a 2nd bed did begin to show beetle dust soon after in dry storage. Only tree of that species on our land large enough to saw. 
When I was still living in Kansas on the western edge of Shawnee County, I helped my neighbor who farmed a large place. A creek that ran into the Kaw , not far from his home and slightly past where better known Mission Creek (called "cricks" in KS ;D which I've since lost to the creek talk ;D) flows into the Kaw east of there, had large red oaks(I thought at the time?) along the forested banks. We cut them now and then, took to a circle mill in Deliah, KS N of Rossville, KS for use as farm lumber. They certainly didn't have the lower heights, topping out at 80' as suggested by the VA link above nor a very tapered bole either. I doubt they were "KS pin oaks" but maybe just exceptional trees. Same trees and white oaks too, continued westward on the Kaws forested banks where I ran my trap lines. 
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Offline WDH

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2021, 07:12:54 AM »
Red oak is not one species but about 30.  Huge diversity of red oaks in the Deep South.  Not so with the North.  Just like people ;) :D :D :D.
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2021, 07:42:16 AM »
Northerner's lack diversity?  ::) sounds like "tricky" territory to me?  :D 
Humans , maybe not, though I'll agree when it comes to squirrels?  In KS we had mostly reds, some greys in the NE corner, and a rare few blacks, but I never saw a flying squirrel in KS. Tree wise, the greys seem to live where there are white oaks? Maybe it's a developed taste for that species acorns?   
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Offline Rhodemont

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2021, 03:41:30 PM »
Been keeping my eye out for more sassafras.  The ones that are identifiable by the bark (now that I know what they are) are mostly 4 to 6 inch diameter in my forest.  Have only found a couple in the size of the blowdown mystery tree.  Wish I had not bucked for firewood and rather had saved it for the saw mill even if I only got a couple narrow boards.  
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2021, 03:55:45 PM »
The wood is workable but also brash and mostly lacks grain thats anything special-but is not so commonly seen either. The one on our place I sawed two yrs back is the only one of logical mill size on this property.  
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Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2021, 06:55:19 PM »
Sassafras is one of my favorite woods. These closet doors are Sassafras(cross-pieces are air dried Black Walnut). I love the grain in Sassafras.

 


Offline WDH

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2021, 08:39:45 PM »
@Yellowhammer saws a lot of it.  I have never had the opportunity to saw any as the trees are normally very small here in central Georgia. 
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Online YellowHammer

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2021, 09:46:03 PM »
We get some monsters here, 2 foot and bigger, and a good deal of it.  Its a very good seller for specialty woodworkers.  We have a guy who builds $4,000 Appalacian swings and rockers.  I Appalacia, nearby on Lookout Mountain, Sassafras was used for pretty much anything and everything.  The bugs won't touch it, its very stable, saws like butter, and supposedly has the rot resistance of teak, so is top choice for boat builders.  It does smell like root beer, and its just a nice, fun, period nostalgia type wood to saw.  

I dread sawing hickory, sawing oak is just a job, but sawing sass is fun.

I'll post a picture tomorrow of my latest crop of sass logs, waiting to saw.
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2021, 06:43:51 AM »
Sassafras is one of my favorite woods. These closet doors are Sassafras(cross-pieces are air dried Black Walnut). I love the grain in Sassafras.
(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

What I meant was that the sassafras grain I've worked with never had much if any figure as they didn't live long enough to develop much. I got 4-6" 4/4 out of the one tree I've sawed.  It's similar to ash grain but varies in color from a muted yellow to a tan/lt brown or even sometimes definite but unusual greenish cast. I've seen others say it's rot resistant but in the woods that's certainly not true or at least until after the insects have moved in, it's often got rot defects and dies an early tree death. The typical of many size of them here in the  under canopy species is from young and plentiful seedlings up to head high then they thin out and run around 3-5" and tall but skinny poles mostly crooked. You'd grow old finding enough near me to make much from if it lasted forever.  
  I have never heard of an "Applachian swing" ? I've been making and studying Applachian chairs for many years though. Old porch swings here when homemade were thin oak of whatever they could get from a saw and mirror images of store bought swings. 
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Offline Greyhound

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2021, 04:09:34 PM »
I made this bookcase out of sassafras.  It has gotten darker and redder over time.  


 

 

 

Offline kantuckid

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Re: Black Oak?
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2021, 06:00:36 PM »
The top picture shows some nice grain! and proves what I've seen was plain jane in comparison. 
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