Burr Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Burr Oak

Family: Beech (Fagaceae)

Common Names: Bur Oak, Blue oak, Mossy-overcup oak, Scrub oak.

Burr oak is a part of the white oak group that includes the common American White Oak (Quercus alba). It has the largest acorns of all native oaks and is very drought resistant. It was a pioneer tree, planted frequently in shelterbelts.

Mature trees generally grow 80 to 100 ft. tall, 36 to 48 in. in canopy diameter, and live 200 to 300 years. Characteristically, they have a massive, clear trunk and a broad, open crown of stout branches.

The sapwood of Burr oak is white to very light brown, while the heartwood is light to dark brown. Oak wood is ring porous with a course texture; it is heavy, straight-grained, hard, tough, very stiff, and strong. Fast-grown oak, with wide rings, is stronger and heavier than slow-grown oak, the exact opposite of most woods. With great wear-resistance, oak has medium bending and crushing strength, is low in stiffness, but very good in steam bending.

Burr Oak Burr oak is a major timber tree in the U.S. The wood is commercially valuable and marketed as white oak. The wood dries slowly. It machines, nails and screws well (with pre-boring). Oak wood reacts with iron so galvanized steel or non-ferrous fasterners are advised. It finishes well and can be stained with a wide range of finish tones. The adhesive properties of oak vary from poor to good.

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Bur oak chest
Chest in English Oak and Burr Oak by John Barnard.
Burr oak is widely used to manufacture furniture and cabinets. It is one of the common "white oak" woods. Where not used as the primary cabinet wood, its strength and durability make it suitable for as the secondary wood for interior structures, drawer sides, rails and other non-visible parts of a cabinet. It is commonly available at lumber yards as "while oak", and is often with red oak, one of two hardwoods kept in stock.