Advantages of Using White Oak for Furniture in Southern California

Three words describe white oak: big, bold, and beautiful. Throughout the centuries, white oak has been a reliable hardwood for making objects ranging from small trinkets to clipper ships. White oak is endemic to North America and grows widely on the East Coast of the United States from Maine to Florida. It is no wonder that white oak has been identified closely with our country’s history and heritage. White oak will always be available in our Los Angeles lumber yard if you are looking for a tough, affordable, and beautiful hardwood in Southern California.

Introducing White Oak, Including Flat, Rift, and Quarter Cuts 

Introducing White Oak, Including Flat, Rift, and Quarter Cuts

The heartwood of white oak is light to medium brown, typically with an olive cast. Its softwood is paler though not always demarcated sharply from the heartwood. White oak is dense and has a high hardness rating that reaches 1360 on the Janka scale. Though white oak trees are naturally knotty, higher quality wood can be sorted out to get the best grade of wood, which is preferred to be free of knots. Flat-cut white oak is the most widely available because it maximizes the lumber material of each tree. In addition to flat-sawn boards, white oak can be cut as a quarter-sawn or rift-sawn. Each maximizes the beauty and charm of the wood.

Quarter-sawn white oak is sawn perpendicular to the growth rings after first quartering the log. The resulting boards have growth rings positioned at around 60 degrees to 90 degrees relative to the face of the board. Quarter-sawn lumber has a beautiful flared appearance that often appears shiny. 

Rift-sawn white oak is prized because of the relative absence of knots and has straighter rays with saw cuts parallel to the medullary rays. This exceptional cutting creates a flaking effect. Its vertical grains result in a cleaner finish with almost no flakes. However, producing rift-sawn lumber wastes much more lumber material than other sawing methods.

Advantages of White Oak as a Material for Furniture

Advantages of White Oak as a Material for Furniture

Apart from differences in appearance, white oak has almost the same physical qualities regardless of cut. White oak is a preferred material for woodworking, especially in furniture making, because of several advantages. Here are the benefits of using white oak as a furniture material:


    1. White Oak Is Widely Available in Southern California

The timber yield from each oak tree is higher than most hardwood species. Moreover, its cultivation is closely watched by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). For the US market, you can be assured of its supply, and it is typically available in large amounts in various cuts and lengths. For woodworkers and furniture makers, you always have large oak boards easily sourced from our lumber yard in Los Angeles. Its availability ensures you have the best wood for dining tables, benches, and other large pieces. Because it is widely available and domestically sourced, oak wood is relatively affordable among all hardwood species. 

    1. White Oak Is Beautiful

One of the most endearing traits of white oak is its exceptional golden-brown color. Always present throughout the American history of joinery, its appearance is closely identified with our heritage and familiar to most of us. Various cuts, with more subtle grain patterns and cleaner edges, can enhance its appearance to complement modern design concepts. On the other hand, flat-sawn white oak lumber can give furniture the ideal accentuation to merge flawlessly in classic interiors. 

    1. White Oak is Extremely Durable

Compared to most hardwoods, white oak has a natural strength that can withstand abuse. White oak is solid and doesn’t wear quickly. It is comparatively more resistant to dents than most widely-available wood alternatives making it a sound choice, even as a flooring material or as furniture where it will see frequent use. Since it doesn’t absorb moisture or warp once dried, white oak is also naturally resistant to rot and insects, making it ideal as an outdoor furniture material.  

  1. White Oak Has Excellent Longevity

Because of its toughness and resistance to insects and decay, white oak is known to last longer than most woods. Consequentially, you will rarely see the need to replace white oak furniture. Aside from preserving its usability for a long time, white oak furniture ages beautifully. Not surprisingly, furniture and objects made of white oak that are centuries old can still be found today.

Disadvantages of White Oak as a Furniture Material

As a woodworker, there are things you need to watch out for when using white oak as a furniture material. Though the positive qualities of white oak greatly outweigh these disadvantages, these items are still worth mentioning:

    1. White Oak Prices Fluctuates Greatly

White oak grows slower than most domestic softwoods. Moreover, the demand for white oak is relatively high because of its excellent traits. Though white oak lumber yields per tree and wide availability make them comparatively more affordable than most hardwoods, their prices can fluctuate seasonally. If you are looking for quarter-sawn or rift-sawn white oak lumber, be prepared to shell out more money than for a flat-sawn piece with the same specifications.


  1. White Oak Is Challenging To Work With

White oak is exceptionally dense and has a rigid structure. Because of its hardness, sawing white oak can blunt cutting blades quickly. Though white oak can produce good results with machines or hand tools, working on white oak pieces requires significant skill. Working with flatsawn boards is challenging because of their high shrinkage rate. 


Other Uses for White Oak

Other Uses for White Oak

Because of its endearing qualities and its wide availability in the US, is often used for a variety of applications aside from furniture making:

Interior Trim:

White oak is ideal for interior trims because of its beauty and durability. Its hues match a vast range of interior design concepts, from rustic to modern.


Because of their excellent water-penetration resistance and durability, barrels are traditionally made from white oak. White oak also works well with bending, thus making it the ideal material for cooperage.


Because of its resistance to decay, water-penetration resistance, and density, white oak has been used for centuries as a preferred material for making boats. From tiny rowboats to massive clipper ships, white oak has been present throughout history as a boatmaking material.


Because of its hardness, density, decay resistance, and beauty, white oak floors have adorned many houses in North America for centuries. They are comparatively resistant to dents and can last for generations as a flooring material.

Decking and Outdoor Applications:

Because of its excellent weather and rot resistance, white oak is a domestic hardwood alternative for the toughest wood applications, such as for decking, fence material, house sidings, and for making outdoor furniture.



Because of its natural beauty, white oak is an excellent veneer to cover coarser or inferior wood for affordable varieties of furniture and trims.

Conclusion: For the Best White Oak Supplier in Los Angeles, Drop by Our Lumber Yard

Best White Oak Supplier in Los Angeles

Bohnhoff Lumber Co. has been a dependable hardwood supplier in Los Angeles for over a century. Keeping up with the demands of woodworkers in Southern California, we always ensure that our stock of high-quality white oak boards is plentiful. Various cuts and characters of white oak are available in our Los Angeles lumber yard, such as rustic, flat-sawn, rift-sawn, and quarter-sawn in various lengths and thicknesses. 

To ensure that you take home the perfect piece for your woodworking project, we also offer milling services and delivery services for larger pieces you want to take home to places such as Pasadena, Long Beach, Burbank, Santa Clarita, and throughout most of Southern California. To learn about stock, prices, and availability of the white oak in our lumber yard, call us at (323) 263-9361 or visit the Hardwood Lumber page on our site.