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Oak Panels American White

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Quercus alba / prinus / lyrata

Family: Fagaceae


Quercus alba, the white oak, is one of the pre-eminent hardwoods of eastern North America. It is a long-lived oak of the family Fagaceae, native to eastern North America and found from southern Quebec west to eastern Minnesota and south to northern Florida and eastern Texas. Specimens have been documented to be over 450 years old.[2]

Although called a white oak, it is very unusual to find an individual specimen with white bark; the usual color is a light gray. In the forest it can reach a magnificent height and in the open it develops into a massive broad-topped tree with large branches striking out at wide angles.

Normally not a very tall tree, typically reaching 65–85 feet (19.5-25.5 m) at maturity, it nonetheless becomes quite massive and its lower branches are apt to extend far out laterally, parallel to the ground. The tallest known white oak is 144 feet (43 m) tall. It is not unusual for a white oak tree to be as wide as it is tall, but specimens growing at high altitudes may only become small shrubs. White oaks have been known to live up to six hundred years. The bark is a light ash-gray and peels somewhat from the top, bottom and/or sides.

White oak has tyloses that give the wood a closed cellular structure, making it water- and rot-resistant. Because of this characteristic, white oak is used for barrels for wine and whiskey production since it resists leaking. It has also been used in construction, shipbuilding, cooperage, agricultural implements, and in the interior finishing of houses.
It was a signature wood used in mission style oak furniture by Gustav Stickley in the Craftsman style of the Arts and Crafts movement.

White oak is used extensively in Japanese martial arts for some weapons, such as the bokken and jo. It is valued for its density, strength, resiliency and relatively low chance of splintering if broken by impact, relative to the substantially cheaper red oak.

The USS Constitution is made of white oak, and reconstructive wood replacement comes from a special grove of Quercus alba known as the "Constitution Grove" at Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division. Woodworkers should be aware that ferrous metal hardware reacts with oak, causing corrosion and staining the wood. Brass or stainless steel fittings should be used instead.

Information from Wikipedia, and more information available here

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