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Why I Love Red Oak

Wood and Furniture Projects

I ask about the color of furniture during the initial discussion with a customer to help me determine what species of wood to recommend. I like to match up the project color with the natural color of wood without staining if possible. For example, if someone is looking for a tan or light brown color, I suggest going with an oak. If they are looking for a darker color, I recommend black walnut or African mahogany. Unless a customer knows what type of wood they want, I recommend based on color, budget, and grain.

About Red Oak

Red oak is usually light to medium brown with a slight red tone and has straight open grain. There are four domestic hardwoods I work with the most and red oak is the least expensive. This does not mean it’s less durable or less beautiful, but it is easy to obtain where I live. You get beautiful wood with open grain at a great price. Also if it needs to be stained, red oak stains very well.

When I Recommend Red Oak

If you are looking for a natural light brown color and don’t mind the reddish tones or are going to go with a dark stain. When I visit the mill, I am able to pick out pieces of Red Oak that vary in tone (light red to darker red). Depending on the project, I pick out pieces with the tone of red that I am looking for. Excellent hardwood for many projects.

Differences between Red Oak and White Oak

“Arguably the most popular hardwood in the United States, red oak is a ubiquitous sight in many homes. Even many vinyl/imitation wood surfaces are printed to look like red oak. Handsome, strong, and moderately priced, Red Oak presents an exceptional value to woodworkers—which explains why it is so widely used in cabinet and furniture making.”

Examples of Furniture I Built with Red Oak

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