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White oak dealers see red-hot sales volume

With all that white oak has to offer, hardwood dealers are not surprised that the durable wood species is extremely popular these days. Those interviewed by Woodshop News report sales are strong and demand is high.

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Scott Roberts of Roberts Plywood in Deer Park, N.Y., is confident the trend for white oak will last for quite a while.

“White oak is hot. I can say that with a lot of enthusiasm. I’m stocking flat-cut FAS, character-grade, rift, quartered, European, live-edge slabs and fumed versions. There’s really so much to offer. On my Instagram I did ‘Oaktober,’ and there were 30 different things I showed off on white oak,” Roberts says.

“I think the color is in vogue and it stains well. I’ve seen it stained plain clear or with an oil finish. There are so many processes to achieve different colors and appearances. Some in the design community are taking white oak and making it gray for cabinetry, furniture and flooring.”

Terry Baird of Baird Brothers Sawmill in Canfield, Ohio, says white oak flooring sales have increased because of the wood’s high density and attractive uniform color. But supply can be a problem.

“It’s hard to obtain,” Baird says. “The staves market for wine and whisky barrels has dried up the supply of the better white oak logs.”

Scott Limone of Keiver-Willard Lumber in Newburyport, Mass., says prices have skyrocketed, particularly for rift and quartersawn.

“The demand for the rift is definitely really high. For that and quartersawn, demand has gone way up. The plain sawn is about the same, but even the cost of that keeps climbing,” Limone says.

White oak (FAS 4/4, flat cut) retails for about $4.25/bf. A wholesale order (minimum of 1,000 bf) sells for about $3/bf.

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue.

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Red oak holds steady interest

While it’s still considered an underdog to the highly popular white oak, red oak (Quercus rubra) remains in the game and has its share of fans, according to hardwood dealers interviewed by Woodshop News.