Species Profile: Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
Northern red oak, commonly referred to as red oak, is native to North America and can be found all over the state of Missouri, except in the bootheel. This large, fast-growing hardwood tree can reach up to 100 feet tall. High quality logs are used for lumber and veneer, while lower quality logs are split into firewood. Popular uses include flooring, cabinets, furniture, and boxes. Red oak can also be steamed and bent for making furniture such as chairs. The wood grain is open so it is not considered suitable for exterior applications.
After it dries, red oak is one of the most dimensionally stable domestic woods, even in wider widths. The open wood grain allows oak to finish and stain easily, without the blotching problems common to birch or maple. Darker stains enhance the prominent and attractive grain pattern. The high density of this wood makes using hand tools difficult, so your best bet is to work with sharp machine tools.