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Author Topic: What is black oak?  (Read 3736 times)

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Offline Handy Andy

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What is black oak?
« on: June 12, 2007, 11:23:54 PM »
  The oak that grows here in Kansas, they call black oak.  Looks more like red oak to me.  A lady I know who has an oak grove says it is burr oak.  Can anyone explain?
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Offline WDH

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Re: What is black oak?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2007, 11:54:10 PM »
Go to the Tree and Plant ID section of the Forum and look up the thread on Identifying Black Oak.  That should give you some idea of what Black Oak (Quercus velutina) looks like.  By the way, a Black Oak is in the Red Oak group, and the wood is not distinguishable from other Red Oaks. 

Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) is in the white oak group.  It does not look anything like Black Oak.  Totally different.

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Offline Kansas

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Re: What is black oak?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2007, 01:43:26 AM »
The true red oak in kansas will have a light pinkish color, with very little mineral streaking, with a smoother bark. It cuts out and yields well. Black oak, or what most loggers in kansas refer to as black oak, is a red oak that has a darker red, a lot more mineral streaks, a lot more knots a, bit of a rougher bark. Even the nice clean butt logs usually are full of knots. For the most part, its only good for pallet, blocking, etc. Watch out for loggers trying to mix or pass off black oak as good red oak.
Bur oak usually has a lot rougher bark, especially the big older ones. Its a white oak, blondish color, and makes excellent lumber, especially quartersawn lumber. Its denser than red oak. We cut the rougher logs up for trailer decking.

Offline Kansas

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Re: What is black oak?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2007, 01:51:27 AM »
If you go to the "Shows, events and places to meet" forum, go to page two and look up the KFPA fields days event. Larry posted a pic of us cutting a big bur oak. The bark on that log is pretty typical.

Offline ARKANSAWYER

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Re: What is black oak?
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2007, 07:23:41 PM »

  What we have here in Arkansas what we call black oak and it is brown and black inside with very hard red knots.  It is of no real use and often has a bad stress crack that will cull it as a tie.  Pallet and pulp wood is it's best use.  It often has lots of dead hard limbs on the tree and a very ruff bark.  It is of the red oak family but easy to spot the lumber in a pile.
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Offline WDH

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Re: What is black oak?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2007, 08:38:42 PM »
On a good site, Black Oak makes a fine tree.  At the edge of its range, it is scrappy.
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Offline Handy Andy

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Re: What is black oak?
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2007, 11:02:26 PM »
You are right about the knots.  I had a couple logs sawed before I got my mill, and one of those logs was full of tiny knots.  I thought the wood was kindof cool. Not many great boards in any of the logs I sawed.  About 40 so far, but some are kind of nice.  The only thing saving me is the helical blades on my jointer and planer, and the fact that defects are cool in wood right now. 
My name's Jim, I like wood.

Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: What is black oak?
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2007, 11:20:33 PM »
I've noticed that most sawyers will call just about red oak of poor quality a black oak, regardless of what it actually is.  My sawyer milled some birch for me last week, and I was looking through the logs on his deck while he was unloading my trailer.  I commented on the red oak logs he had, but he was quick to inform me that they were black oak, not red oak.  The quality was much poorer than red oak, he said.  Nevermind that the epicormic branches that were still on the logs held some leaves that were most certainly southern red oak :D :D :D.  Of course, I couldn't convince him otherwise ::).

My point is, a high-quality black oak will produce high-quality lumber.  A low quality southern red oak will produce low-quality lumber.  But regardless of what it's called, it's all red oak, and once it's sawn into lumber, it is impossible to identify a board to a particular species.
"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." -John Ruskin

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Offline WDH

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Re: What is black oak?
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2007, 11:24:14 PM »
According to a number of members on the Forum, it seems that Black Oak at the edge of its range is prone to black deposits and mineral streaks.  Probably the same for other oaks at the edge of their range ???.
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: What is black oak?
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2007, 11:41:02 PM »
Good point.  I know of one fellow who lives on the edge of scarlet oak's range in SC that noticed it has more mineral streaks than other red oaks.  There might be something to your theory :).
"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." -John Ruskin

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Offline oakiemac

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Re: What is black oak?
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2007, 06:34:17 PM »
I, for one, love black oaks. They can be full of mineral and knots but 50-60% of them are full of great lumber and the rays when qs are bigger then pure red oak.
The best part is that they grow huge which makes them good for qs and you can get them very cheap because most mills won't mess with black oak.
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Offline Larry

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Re: What is black oak?
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2007, 07:11:32 PM »
Wow...I never realized anybody could like black oak.  Its good we have a broad range of members that can relate there experiences.

I would nominate black oak for near the top spot on the noxious weed list...or maybe send em all to Georgia. :D :D  It always has a lot of dead limbs which are ready to fall with the slightest breeze to put a knot on my noggin. >:(  When felling the hinge wood is brash and will let the tree go anyplace it wants to.  I run into a lot of hollow ones...but I guess this is good.  Take a bath in the stump water and the skeeters wont mess with you the rest of the day...or anything else.

Ill take the bright pink of good red oak any day over muddy black oak.  And yes you can tell the difference in lumber quite easily...at least in our little corner of the woods.
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Offline oakiemac

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Re: What is black oak?
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2007, 07:44:54 PM »
It must be a local thing because I'll show you some of the nicest red oak lumber that you ever saw and it came from black oak.

Now some of them live up to their rotten reputation and arent good for anything but over half of them-at least the butt log-are good.
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Offline dad2nine

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Re: What is black oak?
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2007, 11:55:43 PM »
Lots of different kinds of oak some are red some are white. Black oak is a red oak, it splits easy and seems to have more defect than other red oaks I've seen, so mill it quick once it's off the stump, the ends check fast. Southern red oak is also red oak and smells a lot like a bar room on Sunday morning PUKE some worse than others. I got 6 big southern red oak logs to cut, I cut the first one yesterday, it stunk like puke so bad it made my eyes water. Others I cut were not near as bad smelling. I'm going to wait for the wind to blow in the right direction then I'll cut the other 5  :D

Here's a link with a few different species found here in NC, it might help?

http://www.ibiblio.org/pic/nctrees.htm


Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: What is black oak?
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2007, 10:53:17 PM »
I would nominate black oak for near the top spot on the noxious weed list...or maybe send em all to Georgia. :D :D

I appreciate the gesture, Larry, but if your black oaks are as bad as you say, you can keep 'em  ::)  ;).  I think a lot of the differences in the quality of the wood more have to do with the quality of the site than with the species.  We have a lot of black oaks growing on the rich loams in our river bottoms, and the good soil makes for tall trees with few knots .  I'll have to take a picture of some of our "noxious weeds" this week ;).  At least it'll give me an excuse to get out in the woods :).
"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." -John Ruskin

Any idiot can write a woodworking blog. Here's mine.


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