How to Identify Oak Wood? [4 Sneaky Ways]

If you are worried about not recognizing oak wood, it’s time to change that. To make sure that you’re only getting the best for your furniture or floor, recognizing oak wood doesn’t have an alternative. So, how to identify oak wood?

You can use the wood’s weight, texture, color, and grain to identify oak wood. Sometimes, if you know the history of the furniture, it can help identify the wood type.

Let’s not keep you guessing about the aspects mentioned above. Keep reading to get an elaborate idea about identifying oak.

How To Identify Oak Wood?

Comparing one feature may not be enough to identify a certain wood type. So, try to explore all the aspects I’ve mentioned. This way you can make sure that you aren’t confusing one species with another.

1. Weight

The weight of any wood part is one easy way to determine what type of wood that is. Oakwood is one type of hardwood. So, you are looking for density when identifying it.

The density also contributes to the weight of the wood. So, oak is comparatively heavier than other timbers. So, how can you use the weight of wood to determine what tree it’s taken from?

The most efficient way is to take a part of the wood and measure its weight. Now, you need a standard to compare the weight. You can use online references and data to find out what should be the weight of an oak wood part.

2. Color And Grain

Not all wood age the same way. The color and the grains are a great way to identify any type of wood. For instance, oak will have a light brown color. That goes for both red oak and white oak. However, the color of the red oak will slightly vary.

Another thing you can look out for is the grain. Oak will have porous grain that makes it easy to identify compared to other wood. You can see the growth rings for clues.

The growth rings will certainly be darker. In addition, there will be fewer knots. These features combined together, make it easy for anyone to identify oak wood.

When you look at oakwood in the light, it will almost be reflective. This is due to the technique used to cut the wood. The method is called quartersawn, which makes the wood show off its rays.

3. History

Sometimes the history of furniture can help you determine what type of wood was used. Sometimes, a piece of furniture is so old that it becomes nearly impossible to identify the wood by its physical appearance.

Unless you can chemically test the wood in a lab, searching for its history might be an easier option to explore. Find out the timespan it was made around and look for clues about what type of wood was used during that era.

I must tell you that it is not a very specific way of identifying oakwood. However, it can certainly narrow down your guesses. And if you’re lucky enough, you may be able to specify whether it’s oak or not.

4. Texture

There is a very distinct way of identifying old oak wood. Oak tends to split in a certain way that adds texture to furniture. Even though this feature is not limited to oak wood, it’s not usual to find this texture in other timbers either.

So, as an integrated method of identifying oak wood, you can run your hand over the furniture and feel the texture of old oak wood.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Oak Wood

If you’re considering getting oak wood for anything, you should know all about it. Even though people love this species for their furniture and floors, it does have some downsides. Let’s talk about the upsides first.


  • Oakwood is very attractive in appearance. You will certainly enjoy the best aesthetic appearance with oak. If proper methods are used, it can become very intense and provide you with a reflective view.
  • One feature that everyone is aware of is durability. Oak is extremely durable and can last years. The credit goes to the density of oak wood.
  • Another thing you will find very attractive about oak is that it’s very low maintenance. You won’t have to take very good care of it. As long as you clean it regularly and polish it, it will look as good as new.
  • The last thing you will get from oak is water resistance. Even though red oak is not naturally resistant to water, white oak certainly is. Besides, the finish used on furniture can increase the water-resistance feature and make it suitable for outdoor uses too.


we have gone through the good sides that everyone knows about. Now, let’s take a look at the downsides of oak.

  • Oak is common. For its obvious advantages, everyone wants this wood, which made it a very common thing in a lot of households.
  • The color of oak will darken over time. Even though this is seen as a positive thing, it can become negative in certain circumstances. For instance, when you have to add a new piece of furniture in a room that’s already furnished with old oak wood furniture.

You will certainly be able to notice the color difference between the old and the new pieces of furniture. This is not an ideal situation.

  • The density can also become a drawback for users. The heavier the wood, the more difficult it is to work with it.
  • Providing finish to oak wood can be a lengthy and bothersome chore to do. The reason is that some oak wood reacts poorly to oil due to the pores.

Final Words

Hopefully, you’ve learned how to identify oak wood by now. If you have no idea about the characteristics I have explained above, it may not be the best idea to identify the wood yourself. Remember that you can always ask for professional help in this case. They will not only help you identify oak wood but also be able to advise you whether you should go for it or not, depending on your situation.

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