There are many varieties of this timber, but that chiefly imported into this country is the White Oak (Quercus alba), so called from the white colour of its bark. It is this variety that is generally known in this country as American Oak, or Pasture Oak. It is found from Canada to Carolina; the best comes from Maryland.
The wood has a pale reddish-brown colour, with a straighter and coarser grain than English oak.
The timber is sound, hard, and tough, very elastic, shrinks very slightly, and is capable of being bent to any form when steamed. It is not so strong or durable as English oak, but is superior to any other foreign oak in those respects.
This timber may be used for shipbuilding, and for many parts of buildings in which English oak is used.
Other varieties of American oak are -
The Canadian or Red Oak (Quercus rubra) has wood of a brown colour, light and spongy in grain, moderately durable; is used for furniture and cask staves, but is unfit for work requiring strength and durability.
The Live Oak (Quercus virens), with wood of a dark brown or yellow colour, fine grain, minute pores, distinct medullary rings, twisted grain. The logs are crooked, very strong and durable, suitable for ships. This wood makes good mallets and cogs for machinery. It is difficult to obtain in this country.
The Baltimore Oak, with wood of a reddish-brown colour, is generally weak, and soon decays.
There are several other varieties of American oak, generally inferior to the above mentioned, and seldom met with in this country.