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French Oak


Technical Information:

French Oak is a hardwood common throughout the Europe and eastern Europe. The name 'French Oak' encompasses numerous species, eight of which are commercially available as timber. Very similar in appearance and colour to the European Oak. French Oak has light-coloured sapwood and a light to dark brown heartwood. French Oak is mostly straight grained with a medium to coarse texture. It has large distinctive growth rings, and some medullary rays may be present.

French Oak is used for a wide range of applications, including shipping and boat building, flooring, architectural joinery, exterior joinery, and timber bridges due to its strength and resistance to decay. It is also an excellent timber for high-grade furniture, interior woodwork and paneling. Because of its impermeability, the timber is suitable for vats and casks holding liquids such as wine and spirits.

French Oak is a hard, heavy wood, and has low stiffness and good overall strength, making it increasingly popular as a structural timber. It also has very good steam bending properties. French Oak machines well and is easy to glue, nail and screw. It readily accepts stains and polishes to a good finish. The heartwood is susceptible to lyctid borer attack and to termites.

French Oak is imported into Australia and is readily available through specialist wood dealers.

Botanical name: Quercus spp
Origin: United Kingdom and Europe
Heartwood:Varies from a pinkish grey to a rich reddish brown
Sapwood:Usually distinctively paler
Texture:Fine and even
Grain:Usually interlocked to varying degrees
Growth RingsNot easily distinguished
General comments:Material with considerably interlocked grain can distort severely in drying. Provided the grain is relatively straight it has good resistance to surface checking.Not easy to work.Not suitable for steam bending.It is very resistant to wear and has good resistance to splintering.High silica content.Its natural waxiness occasionally causes some adhesion problems with some highly solvent floor finishes but it is a very good base for paints and stains.Low in tannins and is much less inclined to stain than the eucalyptus when leached by rain.
Common Uses: Paneling, cladding, and timber flooring.
Average Hardness Rating - Dry Hardwood:


Density: 'Green Density' (GD) is the density of the wood at the time the living tree is felled. It varies considerably with the season, weather conditions, the age of the tree and so on; the quoted figure must therefore be accepted as a guideline only and when accurate green density figures are required for, say, assessment of transport costs, it is advisable to carry out accurate determinations on the materials involved.

'Dry Density' or 'Air Dry Density' (ADD) is the average density of the wood at 12 per cent moisture content. It too varies with conditions of growth, climate and maturity of wood.

There are published figures for both Green Density and Air Dry Density of most commercial species.

The figures given above have been rounded to the nearest 50.

Hardness rating: The hardness rating of a timber species is measured by the Janka Test. This is a standard test which measures the penetration into the timber of a common load and projectile. The results relate to a hardness capacity of the material and are expressed in kN. This information is useful where the timber may be subject to potential damage from impacts e.g. a dance floor. There are 2 sets of published figures; one for 'Green' or freshly felled timber and one for seasoned timber - i.e. timber with a moisture content of 12%.

The ratings given here are:
Soft - less than 5.5
Moderate - 5.5 to 7.0
Hard - 7.1 to 10.0
Very Hard - greater than 10.0.

Lyctid susceptible sapwood: Only the sapwood of some hardwoods is susceptible to lyctid borer attack. No softwoods are susceptible to attack.

Natural durability ratings: The natural durability rating of a timber species is a rating of the timber's resistance to attack by wood destroying fungi and wood destroying insects. The sapwood of all timber species has poor resistance and so the natural durability rating applies only to the heartwood of a timber species. The rating is based on the testing of stakes and poles embedded in the ground and on expert opinion of historical performance. There are 2 sets of ratings: one for above ground use and one for in-ground contact use. The lower the number the higher the performance in terms of durability. This information is useful for specifying material for external or exposed applications.

English Oak

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