Oak is one material that architects, artists and designers prefer to use. However, the type of oak determines where it can be used most effectively. So before you use the wood in Colne stoves or turn it into your house’s frame, make sure you know the difference between green oak and air-dried oak.
Reasons to Use Oak Wood
There are several reasons why many builders prefer to use oak wood.
- Distinctive Appearance: Oak is renowned for its distinct wood grain and rich hue. It looks elegant and can evoke a rustic feeling when used as an exposed beam.
- Durable: This wood is also known for its strength, durability, and resistance to moisture. Oak gets stronger as it gets older, which is why carpenters love using it as a foundation and as structural oak beams. As a matter of fact, houses built from this wood during the 1500s are still standing strong today.
- Versatility: Oak is also used in a variety of ways. Aside from being used as building material, it’s also used in floorings, furniture, ships and as firewood. Oak is actually a great material for ship building since it’s resistant to rot, insects and fungal attacks.
Understanding the Difference Between Green and Air-Dried Oak
Oak wood is sometimes described as green or air-dried and this affects how and where they can be used.
Contrary to what it’s called, green oak is not named after the color but rather the freshness of the wood. Green oak is cut from trees chopped within 18 months of being grown. It has a moisture content of 60% to 80%. This percentage goes down as the timber dries out in a process called “seasoning.”
Meanwhile, air-dried oak refer to oak wood cut to a specific size and stored away from the elements. This allows the timber to dry naturally. The air circulates between the wood planks, thereby reducing moisture content gradually. Season the wood in this manner can take anywhere from three to 10 years, depending on its thickness.
Why Choose Green Oak
Green oak is the go-to wood for oak kit frames, beams, posts, and roof trusses because of its durability and strength. Since green oak has a softer wood, it’s easier to cut into exact shapes. What’s more, the wood slightly shrinks across the width of the grain as it starts drying, leading to tighter joints. As a matter of fact, designers who specialize in oak frames take into account this shrinkage and incorporates it into the design. Plus, as oak timbers harden, the strength and durability of an oak frame increases.
Once green oak dries out, it splits and starts to age and the wood’s exterior becomes a silvery grey. The aged look is one of the things that makes oak look charming and unique.
The Argument for Air-Dried Oak
Air-dried oak has already been seasoned a little, with splits and cracks that surfaced during the drying process. It’s a good wood to use if the builder requires minimal movement and widths that are 75 mm or less. This makes air-dried oak ideal for joinery work like doors, floors, lintels, window frames, glazed panelling, and furniture.
Air-dried oak timbers are also great for restoration and renovation projects where the wood can be tied into the original brickwork or frame. But it’s not a good choice for framing where the wood has to be more than 100mm.
Why Oak is the Best Firewood
People also love to choose oak to use as firewood. There’s a good reason for this as well; oak is heavy, quite dense, and supplies more than enough heat for the home. Oak trees are also abundant and the wood is long burning.
Oak has three distinct species – the northern red oak, pin oak, and white oak. Each one has different characteristics but all can be made into great firewood. White oak can produce around 26.4 million BTU’s per block while red oak can supply abou 24.6 BTUs. BTU, or the British thermal unit, is the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
Oak also has a unique smell once it has been cut for firewood. It has been described by some as sweet smelling while others likened it to something fiery.
There are so many reasons for using it, either as firewood for your Stockport fireplaces, a frame for your house, flooring for your abode or the base of your latest sculpture. But the wood being green or aid-dried will affect its final use. So choose carefully so you can unleash oak’s full potential.
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