Color: Heartwood and sapwood are similar, with sapwood lighter in color; most pieces have a reddish tone. Slightly redder than white oak.
Grain: Open, slightly coarser (more porous) than white oak. Plainsawn boards have a plumed or flared grain appearance; riftsawn has a tighter grain pattern, low figuring; quartersawn has a flake pattern, sometimes called tiger rays or butterflies.
Variations Within Species And Grades: Over 200 subspecies in North America; great variation in color and grain, depending on the origin of the wood and differences in growing seasons. Northern, Southern and Appalachian red oak can all be divided into upland and lowland species.
Hardness/Janka: Janka:1290 Northern (benchmark). Southern: 1060; 18% softer than Northern red oak.
Dimensional Stability: Northern: average (8.6). Southern: below average (11.3; 31% less stable than Northern red oak.