Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Red Oak

Family: Beech (Fagaceae)

Common Names: Northern Red Oak, Common Red Oak, Eastern Red Oak, Mountain Red Oak, Gray Oak

Red Oak is a major timber tree of the eastern and midwestern United States, and the flagship of the red oak group that includes Pin Oak, Black Oak, Scarlet Oak, and Shumard Oak. Red oak may reach 120 feet tall by 80 feet in canopy diameter when found in the open, and typically live 200 years.

The sapwood of Red Oak is white to very light brown, while the heartwood is light to reddish 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.

Red Oak Oak wood dries slowly. It has good working properties — machines, nails and screws well (with pre-boring). Acid in the 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. Click to Enlarge Image

Red oak chest

Chest in Red Oak by Erasmus Designs.


Red oak is the most commonly available dimensioned hardwood, sold from stock by nearly all lumber yards and home centers. Widely used in furniture making, cabinetmaking, plywood, veneer. Probably the most common cabinet wood.