Red Oak is Never Gray
I recently bought some kiln-dried red oak, but when I jointed and planed it, the underlying wood was gray rather than red. What would cause this, and will it ever turn red?
Steve Pate, Madison , WI
Your red oak, I believe, isn’t red oak at all, but white oak. The color you see after jointing and planing is the true color of the wood. Any oak that has a gray cast to it is white oak.
It’s easy to get confused about red and white oak. Neither is a specific species of tree, but a name that applies to a group of species. There are about nine species in the white-oak group, and eleven in the red-oak group.
Within each group, the species cannot be accurately distinguished from one another, which is why they are grouped together. So, you will find variation within each group. While…