The Beauty of Oak in Timber Structures

As the official “National tree of England”, it’s fair to say the common oak holds a special place in our hearts. We love it so much that we don’t chop it down to make hardwood timber, instead sacrificing white and red oak trees.

Oak has been used as a hardwood timber for thousands of years. White oak and red oak trees (both native to North America) mature between 40 and 120 years old, so the oak we use to make oak structures was grown over decades.

Over the last decade, it has become common to substitute oak for white ash in timber structures. This is a builder’s decision rather than a designer’s because ash is cheaper in bulk and sometimes easier to get hold of.

However, oak remains the best hardwood from an aesthetic perspective for timber structures. Oak is straight-grained, ages beautifully, and meets structural requirements for strength, workability, durability and lifespan.

The beauty of oak

The beauty of oak is its versatility. It can be used to make everything from exquisite furniture and ornaments to roof trusses and timber frames. This versatility makes oak one of the best universal woodworking materials.

There are also three different grades of oak:

  • Character oak for general use
  • Joinery oak for general joinery and carpentry
  • Prime oak for flooring, furniture, carvings and ornaments

Most oak used in timber structures is joinery oak, with few knots and imperfections. Character oak has more knots, imperfections and colour variations, making it a great choice for furniture. For fine furniture and flooring, prime oak is used.

From a woodworker’s perspective, working with oak isn’t as easy as other woods because it dries exceedingly hard, but this is all part of the charm. With work, oak transforms into one of the finest structural materials on the planet.

Of course, other hardwoods have a place. Structural elements that are hidden or will be painted are a waste of good oak. Ash and other woods can be used here to save oak for the structural elements that customers can admire.

We love working with oak because it provides consistent quality. We use it to make outbuilding structures, roof trusses, timber frames and many more structures. It’s also a great housebuilding material.

For more detailed information about TimberStruc’s oak structures, call us on 01924 730 103 or email Thank you.

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