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White Oak

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Machining methods

Machining methods

White oak's hardness requires power tools, but it shouldn't give you any problems as long as you keep the following in mind:

  • Because white oak dulls cutting edges, use carbide-tipped cutters and saw blades.
  • The wood's straight grain presents only moderate resistance to ripping, but its hardness demands a slow feed rate.
  • White oak also has a greater tendency to splinter than red oak. That means that you should take a few shallow passes on the planer or jointer when removing stock.
  • When routing white oak, especially end grain, also take' shallow passes. And be sure to use a back ing board on cross-grain cuts for splinter- and chip-free machining.
  • In counterboring, only quarter-sawed or rift-cut white oak presents a problem. The eye-appealing rays may lift or chip out, so work slowly. This hardwood also requires slower speeds (about 500 rpm or less) on the drill press.
  • Again, the wood's hardness requires sanding with progressively finer grits. And don't attempt to orbit-sand this species because swirl marks are hard to remove.
  • White oak's high tannic acid, when used for outdoor projects, will turn ordinary screws black and stain the wood. Although they cost more, use brass or stainless steel fasteners for long-lasting good looks. And always predrill white oak for fasteners.
  • Don't use casein glue with white oak. Its components react with the high tannic acid content of the wood and the bond won't properly adhere.
  • White oak responds to all stains and finishes well, and unlike open-grained red oak, there's no need to fill for smoothness.

Continued on page 6:  Carving comments


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