European Oak Timber
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What is European Oak?
There are four good reasons why we are the preferred supplier of European Oak timber for discerning buyers.
European Oak, or French Oak, is grown across the whole country, but we predominantly source timber from the Burgundy and Dole regions. That’s because this area of France is close to the Swiss border and the trees here tend to grow more slowly due to the relatively harsh conditions. This gives the timber a consistent golden brown colour so you’ll tend to have less variation within your order.
We also stock a small amount of light ‘Cats Paw / Pippy' Oak in 27mm thickness. This is hedgerow-grown Oak and less intensively managed. As a result it has a beautiful character and is suitable for a range of different uses.
Quarter sawn oak planks are especially prized – they have an interesting medullary ray visible on the surface, which is aesthetically pleasing, but they are also more stable. We can exclusively select these premium boards if you require and you can even come and pick your own boards.
Oak takes a long time to dry and is generally kiln dried in only 27mm - 80mm thicknesses. However we do stock 100mm well air dried log sawn boards which are also usually wide and long.
Very Keen Prices
We deal direct with sawmills in France, thereby cutting out the middleman. This keeps our prices very competitive.
Service that makes it easy for you
We have our own mill and machine shop so we can do all the preparatory work, saving you valuable time and effort.
We can re-saw your timber to specific widths, easing handling and lessening the time spent converting. The product is straight, and consistent which makes it so much easier for planing, moulding or converting the timber.
We also offer planing, profiling and sanding timber services, saving you even more time and effort.
Finally, when we receive your cutting list we calculate the final lump sum price, including any planning or sanding.
You don’t have to calculate the costs yourself and means you instantly know exactly what you’ll have to pay.
Speed of Delivery
We carry ample supplies in stock, including beams. Because we have our own machine shop we can prepare everything on site - you can have whatever you require without delay.
You can collect from our yard or we will deliver to any part of the country. Delivery is usually made by lorry (curtain sided for kiln dried timber) or van if it's a small, urgent order. Our regular drivers have considerable timber experience and we are often complimented on their helpful attitude and careful handling of the timber.
Latin name Quercus robur, Quercus petraea, Quercus sessiliflora, Quercus pedunculata
Also known as European oak, English oak, French oak, Slovanian oak, Polish oak
Introduction The genus Quercus with more than two hundred separate species produces the true oaks. Most of these are found in the northern hemisphere where, in temperate regions they may form pure stands, or may be dominant species in mixed wood lands, while in warmer countries they tend to occupy the mountain areas. Most of the true oaks are trees but some are shrubs. The trees, on the basis of wood structure, fall into three groups; the red oaks, the white oaks, and the evergreen oaks or live oaks; the red and white oaks are deciduous.
Descriptions of the species that occur within Europe are as follows. European oak
Quercus petraea Liebl. (Q. sessiliflora Salisb.) and Q. robur L. (Q. pedunculataEhrh.) known also as English, French, Polish, Slavonian, etc oak, according to origin.
Environmental Not listed in CITES. Available from well-managed sources.
Distribution Q. petraea produces the sessile or durmast oak, while the pedunculate oak is produced by Q. robur: both species occur throughout Europe including the British Isles, and extend into Asia Minor and North Africa.
European Oak Properties
The Tree Both species reach a height of 18m to 30m or a little more depending upon growth conditions which also affect the length of the bole. When drawn up in forests at the expense of their branches, this may be 1 5m or so in length, but in open situations, the tree branches much lower down. Diameters are about 1.2m to 2m
The Timber There is no essential difference in the appearance of the wood of either species. The sapwood is 25mm to 50mm wide and lighter in colour than the heartwood which is yellowish-brown. Quarter-sawn surfaces show a distinct silver-grain figure due to the broad rays. The annual rings are clearly marked by alternating zones of early-wood consisting of large pores, and dense late-wood. Conditions of growth accordingly govern the character of the wood to a great extent; for example, in slowly grown wood the proportion of dense late-wood is reduced in each annual growth-ring, thus tending to make the wood soft and light in weight. The growth conditions in the various countries which export oak, vary considerably.
Baltic countries, including northern Poland, produce oak which is generally hard and tough, but further south in Poland the growth conditions become more favourable to the production of milder, more uniformly-grown oak, the rich black soil of south-east Poland producing the famous Volhynian oak, the character of this type of wood changing but little in countries in Central Europe such as Czechoslovakia and Hungary, but being generally a little milder in character in Yugoslavia, from whence Slavonian oak is shipped. The weight of oak varies according to type; that from the Baltic area, western Europe, and Great Britain being about 720 kg/m³ and that from Central Europe about 672 kg/m³ on average after drying.
So-called brown oak is the result of fungus attack in the growing tree. The fungus, Fistulina hepatica, causes the wood first to assume a yellow colour, then a richer brown or reddish-brown. A yellow-coloured streak sometimes appearing in oak is the result of another fungus, Polyporous dryadeus, but since very few tree diseases persist after the tree is felled, dried timber is no different from normal coloured wood, indeed, brown oak is often preferred for its decorative appeal.
Drying Oak dries very slowly with a marked tendency to split and check, particularly in the early stages of drying, and there is considerable risk of honeycombing if the drying is forced, especially in thick sizes. End and top protection must be provided to freshly sawn stock exposed to sun and drying winds, and sticker thickness should be reduced to about 12mm for stock piled in the open air during early spring and onwards until winter
European Oak Strength Both the sessile and pedunculate oaks have well known and high strength properties, and those hybrid oaks developed from both types and common throughout Europe, are similar in their strength properties.
* MECHANICAL PROPERTIES
Note: In BS 5268-2: 2002, there is a discrepancy between Tables 7 and 15 regarding characteristic density and Strength classes for use in joint design. The values quoted here should be used, rather than those included in the 14 March 2002 edition of the Code."
Working Qualities Medium to difficult - The working and machining properties of oak vary with the mild to tough material which either machines easily or with moderate difficulty. These basic properties are concerned with growth conditions, but they may be exaggerated by indifferent drying methods which allow plain-sawn boards to cup, or severe case-hardening to develop, causing excessive wastage in planing and moulding, cupped stock in resawing, and a greater degree of blunting of cutting edges. These must be kept sharpened, particularly where cross grain is present, and especially in planing highly-figured quarter-sawn surfaces where there may be a liability for the grain to tear out at the juncture of the wide ray-figure thus producing a shelly appearance. In general, oak finishes well from the planer or moulding machine although in some cases a reduction of cutting angle to 20° is preferable. The wood can be stained, polished, waxed, and glued satisfactorily, takes nails and screws well, except near edges, when the wood should be pre-bored, and takes liming and fuming treatments well.
Treatability Extremely difficult
Moisture Movement Medium
Abrasions Very Good
Density (mean, Kg/m³) 720 (Density can vary by 20% or more)
European Oak Texture Medium to coarse
Availability Readily available
Chemical Properties Iron staining may occur in damp conditions, similarly corrosion of metals.
Physical Properties High Strength properties. Medium bending and crushing strength. Low stiffness and shock resistance.
Working with European Oak
European Oak Use(s) Heavy structural use, Cladding, Joinery - Exterior, Joinery - Interior, Furniture, Flooring, Sleepers, Decking, Construction, Doors, Paneling, Timber Bridges, Coffins and Caskets, Architectural Joinery, Mouldings, Kitchen Cabinets, Barrel Staves
European Oak Colour(s) Yellow brown
Timbersource are a leading online hardwood timber merchant in the UK, supplying European Oak timber to the joinery, carpentry, construction and building trade at competitive prices. To Contact Us click HERE
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