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Thread: White Oak vs. Live Oak: Which is better?

  1. #1
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    Let me throw this out to you folks....

    If you were thinking of planting 20-30 trees in the hopes of providing some future boatbuilder with an awesome find, would white or live oak be the better choice?

    Is the idea frought with variables? Yes, it is. But, let's assume the best for a moment. Assume that the trees will be well cared for and groomed (at least for the next 40-50 years) for one of our great-grandkids - all of the literature seems to refer to white and live oak pretty synonomously (help me out there Don) with regards to boat building suitability.

    So...which one would you like your building progeny to get a hold of in 150 years and why?

    TIA, Ethan

  2. #2
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    Let me throw this out to you folks....

    If you were thinking of planting 20-30 trees in the hopes of providing some future boatbuilder with an awesome find, would white or live oak be the better choice?

    Is the idea frought with variables? Yes, it is. But, let's assume the best for a moment. Assume that the trees will be well cared for and groomed (at least for the next 40-50 years) for one of our great-grandkids - all of the literature seems to refer to white and live oak pretty synonomously (help me out there Don) with regards to boat building suitability.

    So...which one would you like your building progeny to get a hold of in 150 years and why?

    TIA, Ethan

  3. #3
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    Let me throw this out to you folks....

    If you were thinking of planting 20-30 trees in the hopes of providing some future boatbuilder with an awesome find, would white or live oak be the better choice?

    Is the idea frought with variables? Yes, it is. But, let's assume the best for a moment. Assume that the trees will be well cared for and groomed (at least for the next 40-50 years) for one of our great-grandkids - all of the literature seems to refer to white and live oak pretty synonomously (help me out there Don) with regards to boat building suitability.

    So...which one would you like your building progeny to get a hold of in 150 years and why?

    TIA, Ethan

  4. #4
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    Live oak is quercus Virginiana. White oak is q. alba.

    Live oak is an evergreen, not deciduous as is white oak. Its wood is 30-40% denser than that of white oak (s.g. 0.88 vs. 0.68 at 12% MC).

    Live oak is slightly less stable than white oak. Shrinkage, green to oven-dry:

    White oak: 4.4% radial, 8.8% tangential, 12.7% volumetric
    Live oak: 6.6% radial, 9.5% tangential, 14.7% volumetric.

    Live oak is significantly stronger than white oak. modulus of rupture: 127,000 kPa vs. 103,00 kPa, work to max load: 130 kJ/m<sup style="font-size:smaller;">3</sup> vs. 102 kJ/m<sup style="font-size:smaller;">3</sup>.

    Etc., etc.

    It's also more decay-resistant.

    White oak does win in one category: it's a tall, upright tree with a high crown, growing to 60 to 150 feet under the right conditions. Live oak is a squat, spreading tree. It depends on whether or not you want furniture wood or boat wood.

    White Oak:



    Live Oak:

    <span style="font-family:serif;">The national champion live oak was discovered in 1976 near Louisburg, Louisiana. It had a diameter of 11.65', height of 55', and crown spread of 132'. The Florida champion live oak, as given in the 1984 revised list, was found in Alachua County and measured 108" in diameter, 83' in height, and had a spread 150.5' [more]


    And finally, Live oak will grow faster, I believe, than white oak.

    [ 03-03-2006, 12:37 PM: Message edited by: Nicholas Carey ]

  5. #5
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    Live oak is quercus Virginiana. White oak is q. alba.

    Live oak is an evergreen, not deciduous as is white oak. Its wood is 30-40% denser than that of white oak (s.g. 0.88 vs. 0.68 at 12% MC).

    Live oak is slightly less stable than white oak. Shrinkage, green to oven-dry:

    White oak: 4.4% radial, 8.8% tangential, 12.7% volumetric
    Live oak: 6.6% radial, 9.5% tangential, 14.7% volumetric.

    Live oak is significantly stronger than white oak. modulus of rupture: 127,000 kPa vs. 103,00 kPa, work to max load: 130 kJ/m<sup style="font-size:smaller;">3</sup> vs. 102 kJ/m<sup style="font-size:smaller;">3</sup>.

    Etc., etc.

    It's also more decay-resistant.

    White oak does win in one category: it's a tall, upright tree with a high crown, growing to 60 to 150 feet under the right conditions. Live oak is a squat, spreading tree. It depends on whether or not you want furniture wood or boat wood.

    White Oak:



    Live Oak:

    <span style="font-family:serif;">The national champion live oak was discovered in 1976 near Louisburg, Louisiana. It had a diameter of 11.65', height of 55', and crown spread of 132'. The Florida champion live oak, as given in the 1984 revised list, was found in Alachua County and measured 108" in diameter, 83' in height, and had a spread 150.5' [more]


    And finally, Live oak will grow faster, I believe, than white oak.

    [ 03-03-2006, 12:37 PM: Message edited by: Nicholas Carey ]

  6. #6
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    Live oak is quercus Virginiana. White oak is q. alba.

    Live oak is an evergreen, not deciduous as is white oak. Its wood is 30-40% denser than that of white oak (s.g. 0.88 vs. 0.68 at 12% MC).

    Live oak is slightly less stable than white oak. Shrinkage, green to oven-dry:

    White oak: 4.4% radial, 8.8% tangential, 12.7% volumetric
    Live oak: 6.6% radial, 9.5% tangential, 14.7% volumetric.

    Live oak is significantly stronger than white oak. modulus of rupture: 127,000 kPa vs. 103,00 kPa, work to max load: 130 kJ/m<sup style="font-size:smaller;">3</sup> vs. 102 kJ/m<sup style="font-size:smaller;">3</sup>.

    Etc., etc.

    It's also more decay-resistant.

    White oak does win in one category: it's a tall, upright tree with a high crown, growing to 60 to 150 feet under the right conditions. Live oak is a squat, spreading tree. It depends on whether or not you want furniture wood or boat wood.

    White Oak:



    Live Oak:

    <span style="font-family:serif;">The national champion live oak was discovered in 1976 near Louisburg, Louisiana. It had a diameter of 11.65', height of 55', and crown spread of 132'. The Florida champion live oak, as given in the 1984 revised list, was found in Alachua County and measured 108" in diameter, 83' in height, and had a spread 150.5' [more]


    And finally, Live oak will grow faster, I believe, than white oak.

    [ 03-03-2006, 12:37 PM: Message edited by: Nicholas Carey ]

  7. #7
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    I love some of the streets here in Tampa that have live oaks on either side providing a tunnel of branches over the streets. They are some amazing looking trees. One other thing that can happen to them is that they have a shallow root system and during some of the even close calls with hurricanes, can be toppled as the sandy soils that they like, become very loose with heavy rains.I have a large live oak in the back yard that I see alot of stems,knees and crooks if it ever suffers such a fate.There has to be 2-3 boats worth of framing in that tree.

    They shed leaves (alot) a couple times per year but the leaves makes some mean compost and garden bed mulch especially with all the acid loving plants here in the south.In peak drought seasons I can get away with watering gardens once every 3-4 weeks and the abundance of earthworms provides plenty aeration. The only other thing I can think of that gives live oaks a fit other than lightning is when they get infested with spanish moss.


  8. #8
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    I love some of the streets here in Tampa that have live oaks on either side providing a tunnel of branches over the streets. They are some amazing looking trees. One other thing that can happen to them is that they have a shallow root system and during some of the even close calls with hurricanes, can be toppled as the sandy soils that they like, become very loose with heavy rains.I have a large live oak in the back yard that I see alot of stems,knees and crooks if it ever suffers such a fate.There has to be 2-3 boats worth of framing in that tree.

    They shed leaves (alot) a couple times per year but the leaves makes some mean compost and garden bed mulch especially with all the acid loving plants here in the south.In peak drought seasons I can get away with watering gardens once every 3-4 weeks and the abundance of earthworms provides plenty aeration. The only other thing I can think of that gives live oaks a fit other than lightning is when they get infested with spanish moss.


  9. #9
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    I love some of the streets here in Tampa that have live oaks on either side providing a tunnel of branches over the streets. They are some amazing looking trees. One other thing that can happen to them is that they have a shallow root system and during some of the even close calls with hurricanes, can be toppled as the sandy soils that they like, become very loose with heavy rains.I have a large live oak in the back yard that I see alot of stems,knees and crooks if it ever suffers such a fate.There has to be 2-3 boats worth of framing in that tree.

    They shed leaves (alot) a couple times per year but the leaves makes some mean compost and garden bed mulch especially with all the acid loving plants here in the south.In peak drought seasons I can get away with watering gardens once every 3-4 weeks and the abundance of earthworms provides plenty aeration. The only other thing I can think of that gives live oaks a fit other than lightning is when they get infested with spanish moss.


  10. #10
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    I'd plant White Oak without a second thought....just for the longer bole.

    Much more usable BF per tree and per acre for your investment in time and labor, in a species in high demand nation-wide for furniture. The boatbuilding market alone is way too tiny to relegate your descendants future to...keep their options open.

    Plus, I don't have a clue what environmental restrictions will be in place 60 years from now on a signature tree of the region. For the same reason I'd pick WO, others will, and there may be sufficiently few Live Oaks available in the future, your county or state may restrict cutting them, selling the logs, or both. It's already that way here for one hardwood species that's reasonably common, but requires a special permit (with heavy tax) to sell the logs.

    If you can, plant your trees tight to begin with and thin them out as they grow over time. Fewer branches and knots that way. Also fertilize annually in early spring beginning the second year after planting, and soak the roots a couple times a month during draught. Unlike softwoods, oak benefits from fast growth.

    [ 03-03-2006, 01:06 AM: Message edited by: Bob Smalser ]

  11. #11
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    I'd plant White Oak without a second thought....just for the longer bole.

    Much more usable BF per tree and per acre for your investment in time and labor, in a species in high demand nation-wide for furniture. The boatbuilding market alone is way too tiny to relegate your descendants future to...keep their options open.

    Plus, I don't have a clue what environmental restrictions will be in place 60 years from now on a signature tree of the region. For the same reason I'd pick WO, others will, and there may be sufficiently few Live Oaks available in the future, your county or state may restrict cutting them, selling the logs, or both. It's already that way here for one hardwood species that's reasonably common, but requires a special permit (with heavy tax) to sell the logs.

    If you can, plant your trees tight to begin with and thin them out as they grow over time. Fewer branches and knots that way. Also fertilize annually in early spring beginning the second year after planting, and soak the roots a couple times a month during draught. Unlike softwoods, oak benefits from fast growth.

    [ 03-03-2006, 01:06 AM: Message edited by: Bob Smalser ]

  12. #12
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    I'd plant White Oak without a second thought....just for the longer bole.

    Much more usable BF per tree and per acre for your investment in time and labor, in a species in high demand nation-wide for furniture. The boatbuilding market alone is way too tiny to relegate your descendants future to...keep their options open.

    Plus, I don't have a clue what environmental restrictions will be in place 60 years from now on a signature tree of the region. For the same reason I'd pick WO, others will, and there may be sufficiently few Live Oaks available in the future, your county or state may restrict cutting them, selling the logs, or both. It's already that way here for one hardwood species that's reasonably common, but requires a special permit (with heavy tax) to sell the logs.

    If you can, plant your trees tight to begin with and thin them out as they grow over time. Fewer branches and knots that way. Also fertilize annually in early spring beginning the second year after planting, and soak the roots a couple times a month during draught. Unlike softwoods, oak benefits from fast growth.

    [ 03-03-2006, 01:06 AM: Message edited by: Bob Smalser ]

  13. #13
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    You're correct about the restrictions. It is hard to cut a live oak down unless it is damaged and poses an immediate threat. And if you damage one,they make you replace it.It does have some interesting looking grain in the gnarly parts of the tree. What a job to split by hand. Takes 2 wedges,an axe and a hefty sledge hammer and only if it has sat awhile to have end checks to get a wedge started and you will work at busting a log.
    Excellent wood for the smoker and the fireplace.

    How far south do white oaks grow? Will they grow to be good boat wood in Alabama?

  14. #14
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    You're correct about the restrictions. It is hard to cut a live oak down unless it is damaged and poses an immediate threat. And if you damage one,they make you replace it.It does have some interesting looking grain in the gnarly parts of the tree. What a job to split by hand. Takes 2 wedges,an axe and a hefty sledge hammer and only if it has sat awhile to have end checks to get a wedge started and you will work at busting a log.
    Excellent wood for the smoker and the fireplace.

    How far south do white oaks grow? Will they grow to be good boat wood in Alabama?

  15. #15
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    You're correct about the restrictions. It is hard to cut a live oak down unless it is damaged and poses an immediate threat. And if you damage one,they make you replace it.It does have some interesting looking grain in the gnarly parts of the tree. What a job to split by hand. Takes 2 wedges,an axe and a hefty sledge hammer and only if it has sat awhile to have end checks to get a wedge started and you will work at busting a log.
    Excellent wood for the smoker and the fireplace.

    How far south do white oaks grow? Will they grow to be good boat wood in Alabama?

  16. #16
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    One other tree to consider growing for your descendants: Longleaf (heart) pine, pinus palustris. See also the USFS Silvics Manual.

    Used to be called "pitch pine" due to the high resin content, but that name is no longer used due to confusion with pitch pine (pinus rigida).

    Longleaf is the old slow-growing pine that used to provid much of the nations naval stores (pine tar, pitch, etc.)

    Our Sponsor, a while back, ran a good article on heart pine. Can't remember the issue though.

  17. #17
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    One other tree to consider growing for your descendants: Longleaf (heart) pine, pinus palustris. See also the USFS Silvics Manual.

    Used to be called "pitch pine" due to the high resin content, but that name is no longer used due to confusion with pitch pine (pinus rigida).

    Longleaf is the old slow-growing pine that used to provid much of the nations naval stores (pine tar, pitch, etc.)

    Our Sponsor, a while back, ran a good article on heart pine. Can't remember the issue though.

  18. #18
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    One other tree to consider growing for your descendants: Longleaf (heart) pine, pinus palustris. See also the USFS Silvics Manual.

    Used to be called "pitch pine" due to the high resin content, but that name is no longer used due to confusion with pitch pine (pinus rigida).

    Longleaf is the old slow-growing pine that used to provid much of the nations naval stores (pine tar, pitch, etc.)

    Our Sponsor, a while back, ran a good article on heart pine. Can't remember the issue though.

  19. #19
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    I planted 1.5 inch diameter live oaks (about 7 feet tall) 15 years ago. They are now 10+ inches diameter, maybe 35-40 feet tall. Actually, because they are planted fairly close together, they are quite tall and straight. Pasture oaks (solitary live oaks) will sprawl as shown in the photos of other forumites, but they tend to go straight up if planted close. Why not plant some of both species? The wood is heavy as hell, hard to split, even with a splitting maul! I had to cut a small one down and plan to make wooden planes out of a piece of it if I can ever get it slabbed.

  20. #20
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    I planted 1.5 inch diameter live oaks (about 7 feet tall) 15 years ago. They are now 10+ inches diameter, maybe 35-40 feet tall. Actually, because they are planted fairly close together, they are quite tall and straight. Pasture oaks (solitary live oaks) will sprawl as shown in the photos of other forumites, but they tend to go straight up if planted close. Why not plant some of both species? The wood is heavy as hell, hard to split, even with a splitting maul! I had to cut a small one down and plan to make wooden planes out of a piece of it if I can ever get it slabbed.

  21. #21
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    I planted 1.5 inch diameter live oaks (about 7 feet tall) 15 years ago. They are now 10+ inches diameter, maybe 35-40 feet tall. Actually, because they are planted fairly close together, they are quite tall and straight. Pasture oaks (solitary live oaks) will sprawl as shown in the photos of other forumites, but they tend to go straight up if planted close. Why not plant some of both species? The wood is heavy as hell, hard to split, even with a splitting maul! I had to cut a small one down and plan to make wooden planes out of a piece of it if I can ever get it slabbed.

  22. #22
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    I'm guessing that you can grow white oak in Alabama, depending on the local microclimate.

    http://forestry.about.com/od/treepla...od_theoaks.htm

    Ask around locally, or call some nurseries that specialize in trees.

  23. #23
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    I'm guessing that you can grow white oak in Alabama, depending on the local microclimate.

    http://forestry.about.com/od/treepla...od_theoaks.htm

    Ask around locally, or call some nurseries that specialize in trees.

  24. #24
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    I'm guessing that you can grow white oak in Alabama, depending on the local microclimate.

    http://forestry.about.com/od/treepla...od_theoaks.htm

    Ask around locally, or call some nurseries that specialize in trees.

  25. #25
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    Thumbs up

    Plant some black locust in the forest as well.

    Wayne
    In Texas.

  26. #26
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    Thumbs up

    Plant some black locust in the forest as well.

    Wayne
    In Texas.

  27. #27
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    Thumbs up

    Plant some black locust in the forest as well.

    Wayne
    In Texas.

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