Characteristics of Oak Wood [Video]

It’s traditional, hard, and strong. But you may be asking yourself: is oak wood the right wood type for your furniture? Well, keep watching as we break down the distinctive characteristics of oak wood compared to other wood types for furniture.

What are the characteristics of oak wood?


When you think of “traditional” Amish furniture, you’re probably picturing a blonde stain on oak wood. It’s the most commonly used hardwood in America for furniture. Oak is also widely used in buildings, cabinets, flooring, and even boats because of its strength and resistance to rot and decay. There are a few reasons for its popularity that go beyond its durability.


First: Along with brown maple, it is one of the least expensive hardwoods. For the price-conscious customer, this makes it a favorite consideration.

Distinctive grain pattern

Secondly, the grain pattern is very distinctive. Oak grain is deep and rough. That means it catches a lot of stain. Light and medium-colored stains accentuate the pattern. Even when painted, the deep grain’s texture will show through. For this reason, we generally tend to recommend a smoother grained wood for painted pieces, such as brown maple. The grain can be identified by long, curving arches and loops, compressed into thin, parallel lines in some sections. If this is attractive to you, it may indicate that you’re a fan of traditional style furniture and light finishes on oak wood. Or, you may simply want to match the color and grain pattern of the existing oak furniture, flooring, or trim in your home.


While oak wood’s hardness provides many benefits, but also makes it challenging to distress, so we’d recommend an alternative such as brown maple or cherry if you want distressed hardwood.

Variations of oak wood

All oak wood will have knots, and on many Amish furniture products you can select “Rustic Oak” if you want a more rustic, knotty finish. You may also consider “Quarter Sawn White Oak,” a different cut of oak lumber with a totally different grain pattern than traditional oak wood. Want to dig deep and learn more about the different cuts of oak wood? Watch this video from Woodworkers Source on YouTube.

Summary of oak wood characteristics

In summary, oak is a very hard, heavy wood type with a rough, distinct grain pattern and low price for hardwood furniture. It’s generally associated with traditional style furniture, but with the right hardware and finish oak can be a fitting option for contemporary style as well. It’s great for tables and desktops, chairs that get heavy use, and matching the finish of oak wood in your home. Maybe not the right choice for you if you struggle to move heavy furniture in your home or prefer contemporary style. So, what do you think? Is oak wood right for you?

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