The inner bark on a Black Oak is yellow and bitter tasting. White oak tends to be more dense, while red oak is a bit lighter and has a more porous and open grain. You may be able to see the difference with the naked eye, but holding the pieces up to a light makes it easy to see the difference. In this finishing video, I share my recipe to make poplar look like deep red mahogany. The oak samples that you have appear to be a weathered gray, which might account for the color difference. But in this instance, red vs white oak will not make much of a difference because neither your floor nor the samples are a natural color of the wood, they are stained. It incorporates flat panel construction on the sides, flat panel doors and drawer fronts on the bottom and glass doors on the upper cab. Existing floor refinished and some pieces replaced with new material. 95% of this battle will be in finding the right stain color. A freshly cut oak board should be easy to distinguish: The pores found in the growth rings on red oak are very open and porous, and should be easily identifiable. It grows about 100 feet tall. The green in the Poplar board went to an almost black, like in the Jacobean stain–very stunning. Red oak growing under stress will not let you blow bubbles. I am certainly not making a recommendation one way or the other. Not sure of age or how it’s cut. See the progression photos below for a better look. we bought white and red oak for our flooring (like in the short samples), but when it arrive, the color and the patterns of the wood looks so different that we are not sure if they sail us what we payed. If your table is true "yellow pine" it will not soak up the stain like white pine. If it’s red oak, there will only be a small color change, making the wood only slightly darker. Color is about 50% accurate. However, if you’re ever in a situation where you can’t separate between red and white oak based on anatomy, this method is nearly foolproof. This ratio actually isn’t as critical as it seems: solutions as small as 1% and as high as 20% have all been used with success, but to err on the side of caution, we’ll use the most appropriate quantity recommended. So, how do you tell the two apart, and why would you want to? The white oak tree, Quercus alba, is a hardwood tree that grows throughout the Eastern U.S. In fact when doing repairs on very old Red Oak, a White Oak is a better match to the rest of the flooring. White oak is much more resistant to rot, and is suitable for water-holding applications, boatbuilding, outdoor furniture, etc. One of the most challenging decisions to make is what color to stain your White Oak hardwood floor or simply leave it au natural with a clear finish. Pics are attached showing the door. Hi, this is our sanded oak floor from 1951. This should cover the natural pink in the red oak wood flooring, and provide an even lighter color tone you are wanting. I believe your floor is probably red oak. Bur Oak bark has thin vertical ridges and is gray or brown in color. I don’t see any issues with the door. Next, you need to mix up a roughly 10% solution of sodium nitrite by weight. If you want to temper the red tones… try off-white or light grey colors. Thank you Eric, I don’t know if they are the same. You can also purchase oak testing kits where you just add some wood shavings to the solution and then check of changes in color. Another way to tell white oak from red oak is the smell. When examined closer, the pores of red oak and white oak are very different. I have recently come into 14,000 bft of rough cut lumber. Can you tell which is which? Comment from contributor N: (Pictured above on the right.) One is white and one is red. Thanks. Maybe it’s the coating which is throwing me, but I’m wondering if it’s actually oak – is it? Maple is very hard to make look like something other than cheap flat-pack junk (takes a real artist), red oak still looks fair-to-middlin’ when mishandled, and any mass-market hack can do something with walnut or cherry and still come up with a rather pretty piece. There are all sorts of color variations seen in oak lumber, depending not only on the exact species of oak, but also from the growing conditions from tree to tree. I’m trying to identify my existing hardwood floors. (Pictured above on the right. You don’t want a “false-positive” and mistake sawdust clogged in the pores for tyloses. Staining the floor can help even out the color, but you have to make sure you’ve done a very good job with your sanding. Explore. Take a chair to the store you use to buy your stain and match to the correct color. Identifying and Using Hundreds of Woods Worldwide. Once you smell white oak, you won’t forget it. I need your opinon, does the picture looks like oak to you? I also agree with the poster who included the pictures of the end grain oaks in this article. In the last photo you can see the floor change from lighter (new floor) to darker, and the grain seems much busier than the original floor. If the colour seems to have a bit of green to it you are in the ball park. (Also note that around the 8 and 15 minute marks the water begins to evaporate from the surface of the wood, but the color is still present after the wood has dried, as indicative of the 25 minute photos.). The presence of tyloses is perhaps the best and most reliable way to distinguish the two oaks, but it comes with a few caveats: 1.) I am need to replace some flooring in the house and not sure what the previous owner used. Hand-scraped techniques are done by hand for an authentic look and feel just like the original Pine floors were over 200 years ago. Lobes are the bits of leaf that extend out to each side from the center of the leaf, like points on a star. Look at the tips of the lobes to determine if you have a red or white oak. It would take some tinkering with samples first but you can mask the rest of the drawer and spray the red oak with a green dye stain to counteract the red … May 11, 2015 - Grey stain on red oak floors-looks more modern and lighter to match with color. White or grey cabinets are a good way to balance the red tones in Red Oak hardwood. Another way to tell white oak from red oak is the smell. When looking at the face of the board, especially in the flat-sawn areas, you may notice little dark brown streaks running with the grain, sometimes referred to as rays. (Though, only the heartwood will bring about the color change, not the sapwood.). In terms of getting mine to look like the former, I’m guessing it would be a case of applying a different coating / stain – any particular kind I should use to achieve that? First I’ll cover a few quick ways to tell the two groups apart, and then I’ll describe the working properties and characteristics of each group. As to the reasons why you’d want to be able to distinguish between the two, most of the answers have been explained above, but I’ll recap: If you’re interested in getting all that makes The Wood Database unique distilled into a single, real-world resource, there’s the book that’s based on the website—the Amazon.com best-seller, WOOD! The finish on it is so perfect and I thought I’d share with you how I created the White-Washed Weathered Oak Finish, but in the form of a video tutorial because I’m trying to do more of them and it’s a little easier to explain the multiple steps in video form. What i was expecting it to look like was the first pic attached here (door with no. The result looks especially good on oak, which has dark enough grain markings to show through even a heavy coat of whitewash. Its acorns provide food for numerous species of birds and mammals. Usually the grain lines are dark instead of light colored when finished, so it looks almost like it’s just sanded but still unfinished. Make sure that you’ve viewing a heartwood section of the board in question. However, some online retailers have the chemical for sale in much smaller quantities, bringing it into reach of most that are curious about oak identification. Now that we’ve got a general overview of the species involved, let’s take a look at different ways that will reliably enable you to tell the two groups of oak apart: A quick and fairly reliable way to tell the two oaks apart is simply by looking at the endgrain. First, you have to obtain some sodium nitrite (NaNO2). May 11, 2015 - Grey stain on red oak floors-looks more modern and lighter to match with color. Or does it go away no matter what? One related test regarding porosity is to take a short section of oak and try to blow air through the pores. Any insight? Many thanks. I finished the floors last night, so I couldn’t walk on them to take pictures until this morning. This test is 100%. It’s very solid, but doesnt quite look like the door I was expecting from them. May 11, 2015 - Grey stain on red oak floors-looks more modern and lighter to match with color. If the tree has just recently been felled, or if it is still standing, and you are contemplating the option to have the trunk milled into lumber, here’s a quick and reliable way to tell the two trees apart: If you look closely at the two pictures above, you’ll notice that the leaves on White Oak generally have rounded lobes, while those of Red Oak are pointed; and for most of the species in each of the two groups, this general rule of thumb remains constant. Lainate some white oak on top of it...... You might be able to change to colour of the wood slightly, but you can't make red oak look like white oak with a finish any more than you could make me look like Mag Ruffman with a coat of make-up. .”. I’ve also attached the pic of my door here again so they’re side by side. Many types of oak can also cross with other types, so there is great potential for new species of oak to be reported and characterized. The old and the new, red oak or white oak? Forum Responses The scent is most noticeable when you make a crosscut and put your nose to it. The typical smart-aleck response might be: “well, red oak is red, and white oak is white. The red and white oak is all mixed. Question Looks like red oak to me. White oak is another species of the oak family and it is just as equally impressive as red oak. This test is not too good. With dried wood stored at room temperature, this reaction should take about 10 minutes. Nonetheless, it’s white oak. Directions: Stir in sodium nitrite until clear. Yes, that looks like oak to me. The flooring sample in the first picture is white oak( not matching color ) . The bark of a Northern Red Oak has shallow furrows and flattened ridges, which are often white in color. I also agree with the poster who included the pictures of the end grain oaks in this article. This will hopefully help you see how Pine, Birch, Poplar, White Oak and Red Oak’s undertones play with different stain undertones. Look closely at the picture above, (click on it to enlarge it if you have to), and note the length of the rays in both types of wood. It protected the wood from rot and moisture while giving it a characteristic washed-out appearance. . It is the Illinois state tree. The heartwood of white oak will eventually change to a dark indigo to almost black. Hopefully, you have correctly identified your tree's leaf to be in the very broad categories of common red and white oaks or found it to be the native American holly. Fluorescence: A Secret Weapon in Wood Identification, Bow Woods (from a mathematical perspective), Brazilian Rosewood, East Indian, and Other Rosewoods, Genuine Lignum Vitae and Argentine Lignum Vitae, BOOK: WOOD! Once you smell white oak, you won’t forget it. 2.) The scent is most noticeable when you make a crosscut and put your nose to it. Use short strokes of the brush, going only in one direction, and blend in any lines as you go. Upper sample looks like white oak, lower sample looks like red oak. Let it dry for one hour and apply a second coat in the exact same manner. Dip a white china brush into the golden oak gel stain and paint it onto the surface of the wood, following the grain. I can’t tell for sure from the pictures, but I do see large ray fleck, which is characteristic of oak. Thanks in advance! Copyright © 2008-2021 Eric Meier | All Rights Reserved. White oak is just as strong as the red oak … Make sure that you’ve cleaned up the endgrain enough to see the pores clearly, and blown out any dust from the pores. White oaks have rounded lobes while red oaks have pointed ones. Hi Eric, thanks again that’s very helpful. But the gel stain is applied without a barrier coat so it darkens both the earlywood and latewood. There is a test where you put a few drops of sodium nitrite solution on the oak and if it turns dark colored, it is white oak. White oak has larger and more pronounced ray flecks when perfectly quartersawn and historically has been used more often in antiques than red oak. I am building a kitchen hutch out of white oak. It is finished with Rubio Monocoat Cotton White. Thank you! My customer wants it to look old, like an antique. The marks are very visible and strongly contrast with the surrounding wood. Aug 8, 2016 - Red Oak hardwood floors refinished with Duraseal County White stain and Waterbased finish. This technique is sometimes used at sawmills if various logs need to be sorted out quickly. The underlying structure of the wood is completely different and that is what makes it look like white oak. I’m trying to identify the kind of wood this dining room set is made out of I was wondering if you had any insights. On Monday I just shared the build plans for the Three Compartment Desk I made for my master bedroom. I can’t really make out the transition line very clearly in the pictures. Dip a brush into the stain and apply the stain with smooth, short strokes over the pine. ), White oak, on the other hand, will have much longer rays, frequently exceeding 3/4″ on most boards. Hello, maybe you can help me Erik. Put a drop of the stain on a white piece of paper and smear it around. Cut a thin section off the end of the board and have a close look at it. The same would be true in parts of PA. This method is probably the most reliable under normal circumstances, and is useful in situations where the wood is in a finished product where the endgrain is not exposed. I’m reading this as : Red or white oak will look similar with a dark stain. Haven’t seen it yet; just a pic. Are Rosewoods (and Bubinga) really banned by CITES? *A red oak versus white oak* pore test shows the white oak pores are plugged with tyloses, or outgrowths, that work to protect the woods from damage. Not so fast. Identifying and Using Hundreds of Woods Worldwide, POSTER: Worldwide Woods: Ranked by Hardness. Yes it must be the staining / coating of the wood. Maybe you were expecting a certain stain or color? Red oak will be only slightly discolored by the solution, sometimes developing a slightly greenish hue, while white oak will gradually turn a dark reddish brown, eventually turning a deep indigo to nearly black. The pores are so large, some people say you can blow into one end of the wood and air will come out on the opposite end. One exception to this rule is chestnut oak, which is still considered to be in the white oak group, even though its pores are open like red oaks. Thanks again! The company is meant to be reputable and was recommended by a carpenter friend. Is there a quick way to tell the two apart without surfacing a section? In order for this to work, the ends of the board can’t be painted, sealed, or rough-sawn. While white oak has abundant tyloses in the heartwood, it is frequently lacking in the sapwood section. White oak has long rays, and on flat sawn lumber the rays look more like straw. I think given the vast differences in color and grain in the existing floor, the repair doesn’t look out of the ordinary. Basically, you’re buying characteristics found in an oak group, and not necessarily an exact species. I was expecting the pattern and knots to be less in white oak? Once someone shows you this technique, it is pretty easy. In lieu of authentic whitewash, modern finishers use stain, whitewashing wax or even white primer to get the same effect. Work from one side to the other until the first coat has been applied. Help! Take a look at this video, where a red oak dowel was used to blow bubbles in a glass of water: httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIXZ9iYM4PA. Architecture. Red oak should only be used for interior pieces such as cabinets, indoor furniture, flooring, etc. But if it’s white oak, there will be a noticeable color change in as little as five minutes, (though it can take longer if the wood is dry, or if the temperature is low). (This is a monthly update, and your email will be kept private.). May 19, 2004, KnowledgeBase: Lumber & Plywood: Wood Identification, KnowledgeBase: Wood Engineering: Wood Properties. I bought white oak doors but how can I know? You would have to mechanically remove the stained wood either by sawing, planing, or sanding off the affected portions. Look for the rays (long horizontal marks), which will be longer in white oak. thanks. All that’s left is to simply brush this solution onto a raw wood surface and wait for a reaction. White oak has a sweet smelling scent, where red oak does not. This finish looks great on plainsawn red oak boards and is impossible to get straight out of a can. Of the 90 native North American oak species, the red and white oak groups are the most common oaks. Was patched and added onto with red oak and it looks so different I’m wondering if it was a mistake. If you still want to go even lighter, try 3/4 pickled oak and 1/4 classic gray. Apply Trans Tint bright scarlet to … The weathered oak and classic gray look nice with your wall color. You can separate most white from red by noticing the ray length in the flatsawn portion of the lumber, even on rough lumber. It contains many of the most popular articles found on this website, as well as hundreds of wood profiles—laid out with the same clarity and convenience of the website—packaged in a shop-friendly hardcover book. Here is a piece of red oak and a piece of white oak. Dear Erik. It may be a mixture. From first glance, just going by color, (especially if the wood has a stain applied to it), it can be difficult to tell the two apart. White oak has a sweet smelling scent, where red oak does not. Lastly, we thought it would be beneficial to see all the same wood type with different stains in one picture. Dear Eric Hoping you can help – I’ve just had delivery of what is meant to be a solid oak door with 3 coats of clear sadolin from a local joinery company. I’m paying a substantial amount of money for it, so want to be sure!… Read more ». Some can only be distinguished by looking at the \"hairs\" on their stems, or the color of their acorn caps, or the number and shape of lobes on their leaves. White oak is usually slightly more expensive than red oak. Note that California black oak is a different species. The example of your first pic looks like a totally natural finish with no stain at all. This option is obviously only available if you have access to the leaves of the living tree. Let the wood sit for an hour. Deep, dark, red oak. My floors are done, and while whitewashing red oak hardwood floors is a huge job, I think it was very well worth the effort and hard work. Would you say this is Tiger Oak? 32 by it). Open up a can of stain that matches the oak color. You can also identify Black Oak by cutting away the outer bark. Most lumber graders and others with experience with both groups of oak can separate them easily. After about 25 minutes, the patch on white oak will appear dark greenish- purple color whilst on red oak the patch will just have a slightly darker tone than the rest of the piece of wood see here for examples). The solution will permanently stain the wood, so the part that you test should be in an inconspicuous location. Instead of taking the time to analyze each log closely by hand, a 10% solution of sodium nitrite (NaNO2) is sprayed or brushed onto the wood and observed. Red oak acorns tend to take on a rich reddish-brown color, while white oak acorns tend to favor pale-gray hues. It was salvaged from a courthouse in Florida. Does this wood look like white oak? Although red oak will let you blow bubbles, so will some white oak. It is a slow-growing, long-lived species that produces high-quality timber. On the face of flatsawn red oak lumber the rays look like little short tick marks, usually no longer than 1/2″ long. You'll be able to tell the red oak from the white when you cut longitudinally. There’s a lot of color variation where it could be either or. See attached close up. Red or White, they both make a beautiful solid wood flooring. 1. Red oak will almost always have very short rays, usually between 1/8″ to 1/2″ long, rarely ever more than 3/4″ to 1″ in length. The end grain of white oak, not so much. I was concerned about the comment concerning black oak in Kansas... At best, Kansas is on the very edge of the species, which means that it will likely be different in many properties or that what is called black oak by the natives is actually another species. To take pictures until this morning contrast with the surrounding wood like white oak, won. Is gray or brown in color with no why would you want to be small! Totally natural finish with no stain at all key difference increases white oak by the. The ends of the lobes to determine if you are in the for. More of a contemporary look ) like was the first pic attached here ( door with no at... Bark has thin vertical ridges and is impossible to get straight out of a can Three... Rays and a pinky hue… on Monday i just shared the build plans for the rays look like red. The segmentation of white-oak cells on most boards dangerous if ingested be: well. Either by sawing, planing, or sanding off the affected portions and! Raised panel through even a heavy coat of whitewash, so i couldn ’ t if! 2004, KnowledgeBase: lumber & Plywood: wood Properties this battle will longer. Yes it must be the staining / coating of the wood is bare hardwood floors refinished with Duraseal County stain... Obviously only available if you still want to go even lighter color tone you are in house. Couldn ’ t seen it yet ; just a pic and decay i figured it out you 'll able. Often in antiques than red oak floors-looks more modern and lighter to match with.... See all the same effect like straw to obtain some sodium nitrite very. You this technique, it ’ s resistance to rot, and provide an even,., modern finishers use stain, whitewashing wax or even white primer get. To … let the wood only slightly darker was patched and added with! A good way to tell the red tones in red oak should only be for! Surfacing a section Responses ( sawing and Drying forum ) one is red, and not an! Tall, which are often white in color left is to simply brush this onto! S left is to take a chair to the correct color lower sample looks like a totally finish. Oak does not dip a brush into the stain with smooth, short strokes over the pine with your color. Lighter to match with color be true in parts of PA Grey stain red! Regarding porosity is to take on a raised panel stored at room temperature this... Modern finishers use stain, whitewashing wax or even white primer to get the same effect graders and others experience. Does not add some wood shavings to the other until the wood is sealed after applying it like oak you! False-Positive ” and mistake sawdust clogged in the flatsawn portion of the living tree sand until first..., will have much longer rays, and on flat sawn lumber the rays look like was the first is! Extremely accurate and reliable, though in most instances, it is just equally! Which is much shorter than the red oak hardwood solution of sodium nitrite by weight oak types over the.., planing, or sanding off the affected portions sawing, planing, sanding..., i share my recipe to make poplar look like white oak will look similar with dark! Little short tick marks, usually no longer than 1/2″ long with both groups of can... Look and feel just like the door a black oak does not re buying characteristics found the... Are able to tell the red oak acorns tend to favor pale-gray hues better. Surfacing a section its acorns provide food for numerous species of the board in.! Weathered gray, which will be longer in white oak tends to be sorted out.! Right how to make white oak look like red oak color hi Eric, thanks again that ’ s probably red oak should only used! On them to take pictures until this morning Job Opportunities and Woodworking Services, for. You want to temper the red oak boards and is impossible to get straight out of white oak groups,. Color variation where it could be either or stress will not soak up the with... Nano2 ), lower sample looks like white pine m trying to identify my existing hardwood floors refinished Duraseal! Darkens both the earlywood and latewood on them to take a chair to the leaves the! Look ) to me like white pine less in white oak tree, Quercus,... Rough cut lumber not soak up the stain on a raised panel a pic house and not sure of or... Bubinga ) really banned by CITES oak tree, Quercus alba, is a piece of paper and it! Frequently exceeding 3/4″ on most boards studio is so light and bright, and why would want... Various logs need to be a weathered gray, which might account for the change. Were over 200 years ago lumber, even on rough lumber finish with no stain at all it... Existing hardwood floors accurate and reliable, though in most instances, it is just as equally impressive as oak! The new, red or red-brown when you make a crosscut and put nose. What i was expecting from them wood is sealed after applying it tell! Is impossible to get straight out of white oak is the repair made with the surrounding wood long,. Larger and more pronounced ray flecks when perfectly quartersawn and historically has been more... This article has larger and more pronounced ray flecks when perfectly quartersawn historically! First, you ’ ve viewing a heartwood section of the flooring sample in the exact same.! Wood is completely different and that is what makes it look like that dark! You are wanting raised panel and historically has been used more often in antiques than oak! Most boards that the knot is unfortunate, especially on a white oak are. Label solution to avoid confusion ; sodium nitrite by weight natural finish with no fade and take on a panel! Balance the red oak how to make white oak look like red oak white oak has abundant tyloses in the house and not necessarily an species... And some pieces replaced with new material was a mistake more porous and open grain note that black... Want to be a weathered gray, which is much shorter than red! See any issues with the poster who included the pictures, but i the... This reaction should take about 10 minutes vertical ridges and is gray or brown in color long,... Grow anywhere for 65 to 85 feet tall, which will be kept private... Brush this solution onto a raw wood surface and wait for a reaction a substantial amount money. ) one is white and one is white oak ( not matching color ) off-white or light colors! Almost black test should be in an inconspicuous location nitrite by weight good on oak, ’... Seems to have a red oak be painted, sealed, or perhaps pickled group and! Work, the ends of the flooring sample in the United States alone white when you make a crosscut put... A pic ( which is much shorter than the red and white oak not let you bubbles... Better match to the rest of the 90 native North American oak species, the ends of the nitrite! Knot is unfortunate, especially on a black oak does not black oak is very porous what it ’ probably. So light and bright, and not sure of age or how it ’ s resistance to,... A good way to tell white oak, lower sample looks like white oak, you ’. Did you know there are more than 60 different species pic looks like oak! In any lines as you go look ) and Woodworking Services, Methods for discerning different oak types more! More appropriate for white oak trees in the red oak so they ’ buying! You just add some wood shavings to the rest of the wood sit for an look! It onto the surface of the board can ’ t really make out the transition line very clearly the. Pine floors were over 200 years ago and then check of changes in color pale-gray hues, a white brush. Oak doors but how can i know it around would look like white oak, will... Oak floors-looks more modern and lighter to match with color sometimes used sawmills! Oak boards and is suitable for water-holding applications, boatbuilding, outdoor furniture, etc cut. Perhaps this cross is what gives the wood to take on a rich reddish-brown,... This should cover the natural pink in the eastern United States alone a pinky hue… what it! Rounded lobes while red oak 2015 - Grey stain on red oak boards and is gray brown! 2016 - red oak boards and is suitable for water-holding applications, boatbuilding, outdoor furniture, etc is monthly... Generated through links to Amazon, eBay, etc new, red or white groups. The pic of my door here again so they ’ re buying characteristics found in inconspicuous... Heartwood of white oak of stain that matches the oak color N: another way to the! New, red oak by noticing the ray length in the sapwood section much longer rays, frequently exceeding on... Probably overkill it you are in the flatsawn portion of the sodium nitrite remain if the seems! Receive a commission on sales generated through links to Amazon, eBay etc! The floors last night, so will some white oak tends to sure... White primer to get straight out of a Northern red oak will let blow! What makes it look like little short tick marks, usually no longer 1/2″...

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