The use of oak tree for furniture making has come down from the ages. All construction industries as well as furniture designers consider oak as an incomparable material that is not only strong but has an aesthetic appeal also. The finish and elegance of furniture made from oak especially green oak adds a distinguishing character to the furniture.
It is known that mostly dry wood is used for construction work. But one often hears about green oak and its various uses. Actually there is no specific definition of this kind of oak. It refers to that category of oak wood that has been sawn out freshly from trees that have been felled relatively recently. Green oak does not go through the mechanical processes of drying but gets seasoned through the passage of time.
Timber contains two categories of water or moisture in their cell cavities which is called free water and bound water is found in the cell walls. Oak trees that are freshly cut down naturally contain both types of moisture in them. Then gradually they dry up by a natural process as time goes by. Hence green oak is that kind of timber that has moisture content nearly 30% more as compared to other categories of wood.
Certain properties of Green Oak
The time it takes to dry up is approximately 1 inch per year. However green oak beams are used to make furniture mostly after a period of 2 years after they are felled. As a precaution one should not keep any item that is prone to damage by direct contact with moisture on tables or show-cases and other furniture that are made from green oak.
Green oak is less expensive than other kiln dried oak. Hence it is being used to make beams and sleepers nowadays. One must always remember that green oak is absolutely a natural type of wood and will therefore split. Experienced craftsmen use wax to control the splits. However splitting depends largely on how it is worked upon. After-care is absolutely necessary for all products made from this material. Another important property of green oak is that it has its own natural system of protection against rot and decay and so special treatments are not required.
Why craftsmen like green oak
Green oak is easier to handle and work with. Although shrinkage problems are there, a skilful and experienced grader can handle such details quite well. They use the outer edge of the tree to make the beams in order to get the best quality heartwood. Various cuts are made to achieve different grain effects.
Since green oak has a lot of moisture content and is soft, it is easy to make peg holes and joints. The tools too can be reused later as they do not wear away. Traditional joining methods include tendon, mortise, dowels and half lap joints to give a perfect finish to the furniture pieces. Designers are working on green oak to offer the customers amazing indoor and outdoor furniture apart from the pergolas, hand-turned bowls, goblets and others.