Is Oak Wood Strong? Here’s The Truth!

Is Oak Wood Strong

Oak wood is mostly used in making furniture, cabinetry, and flooring because of its high durability and excellent workability. It is a popular wood among woodworkers.

When it comes to woodworking with Oak wood, I was curious about its strength when making commercial products.

I did some research about it and found some useful information to share with you. So, let’s figure out, Is Oak wood strong?

Yes, Oak is a strong wood with significantly high compressive strength, bending strength, and durability than many other kinds of wood. Oak is a hardwood with high stiffness and excellent dimensional stability. Because of being strong, Oak wood is used for flooring and furniture that will last for so long.

But there’s a lot more to know about the strength of Oak wood.

In this article, we’ll explore whether is Oak wood strong, how strong Oak wood is compared to other woods, whether is Oak strong for furniture, bending, and outdoor use, and much more.

Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions as well.

Let’s dig in!

How Strong Is Oak Wood?

Oak is stronger, more durable, and resistant to wear and dent than many other kinds of wood. It is a quality hardwood you can buy for a cheap price point.

Oak is typically stronger than many softwoods and some hardwoods as well.

There’re main two variants of the Oak wood family. But they are quite different in terms of their strength.

White Oak is relatively stronger, harder, and more durable than Red Oak.

In order to get a better understating about the Red Oak and White Oak, you should definitely need to watch some proven scientific values.

The compressive strength and bending strengths of White Oak and Red Oak are as follows.

Wood TypeCompressive StrengthBending Strength
White Oak7,440 psi15,200 psi
Red Oak6,760 psi14,300 psi

As you can see both Red Oak and White Oak has some exceptional strengths in compression and bending which are quite useful for many different woodworking projects.

There’s around a 1000 psi difference in compression and bending strengths between White Oak and Red Oak.

Therefore, White Oak is a better choice for your projects in terms of its strength than Red Oak.

The strength of Oak not only depends on its compressive and bending strength. There’re some other factors as well.

Here’re several factors that help you to decide how strong Oak wood is,

  • Density
  • Hardness
  • Stiffness

So, let’s find out the values of each of the above factors to decide how strong is Oak.

Wood TypeDensityStiffness
White Oak0.68 kg/m31.78 Mpsi
Red Oak0.63 kg/m31.82 Mpsi

As you can see Oak wood has significantly high densities and stiffness which makes it stronger, heavier, and more durable compared to other woods.

When we look at the compressive strengths of popular woods, Oak wood is stronger than Alder, Aspen, Beech, Butternut, Poplar, and Sweetgum.

When it comes to bending strengths, Oak wood is stronger than Alder, Aspen, Basswood, Chestnut, Elm, Cherry, Soft Maple, Poplar, Cypress, and Pine.

Overall Oak wood is a superior wood with excellent strength and dimensional stability which is helpful literally for any woodworking project.

Let’s have a look at whether Oak wood is strong enough for furniture,

Is Oak Wood Strong For Furniture?

Oak wood is strong enough for making furniture. You can use Oakwood to make large and small furniture as you wish without worrying about its strength.

Oak wood has excellent strength for furniture which is helpful to live a long time with great stability.

Even with little maintenance, Oak wood furniture will last forever.

But I highly recommend you finish Oak wood furniture with a proper sealant like lacquer or varnish.

Plus, Oak wood is considerably cheaper than other hardwoods in the family.

This makes the wood affordable, and you’ll be able to experience the excellent strength of Oak wood for a reasonable price.

Oak wood can be used for both indoor and outdoor furniture since it has excellent weather resistance that helps to withstand temperature fluctuations, moisture, and weather elements.

But applying a proper sealant is a must especially for Red Oak since it tends to rot under high moisture and harsh environment. White Oak has moderate resistance to rotting.

But British and European Oak has excellent resistance to rotting and decaying.

White Oak is stronger, and more durable wood for outdoor furniture since it has better weather resistance than Red Oak.

Oak wood has excellent workability apart from being hardwood and you can make furniture using both hand tools and power tools quite easily.

Therefore, even a beginner in woodworking can try to make strong furniture using Oak wood.

Oak wood is easy to shape, screw, nail, and drill. Therefore, it can be used for wood carving furniture projects as well.

Here’re some examples of Oak wood furniture,

  • Cabinets
  • Doors
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Desktops
  • Drawers
  • Panels
  • Bed frames
  • Bookshelves

Here’re some advantages and disadvantages of using Oak wood for furniture.

Pros And Cons Of Oak wood For Furniture

ProsCons
High strengthNeed light sanding
High dimensional stabilityDent and scratch easily
High durabilityDarkens with age
High weather resistanceSusceptible to insect attacks
Easy to work with 
Easy to finish 
Need little maintenance 
Inexpensive 

As you can see, you’ll be able to get lots of benefits from using Oak wood for making furniture with great strength.

Is Oak Wood Strong Enough to Bend?

Yes, Oak wood is strong enough to bend. Oak wood has high bending strength which can bend easily by steaming or by softening . It won’t crack or break quite easily.

Oak wood has excellent hardness and flexibility. Therefore, it won’t tear, crack, warp or split upon bending.

The bending strengths of Red Oak and White Oak are as follows,

  • Red Oak has bending strength of 14,300 psi
  • White Oak has bending strength of 15,200 psi

First, you need to steam Oak wood for 75 to 90 minutes per inch and do the bending using the correct techniques.

When you’re bending the wood, you’ll notice Oak wood is remarkably strong and won’t crack. Better to go for woods with fewer knots when bending.

Bended Oak wood has great strength which can be used for many applications such as,

  • Making boats
  • Making hockey sticks
  • Musical instruments
  • Tools
  • Athletic sticks
  • Furniture making

With proper staining and sealing Oak wood bending applications will last forever.

Is Oak Strong Enough For Cutting Boards?

Oak wood is strong enough for cutting boards since it is strong, dense, and hard. You can make strong cutting boards using Oak wood.

Because of being a hardwood with high density and hardness Oakwood can withstand sharp knife edges without damaging the wood surface.

Cutting boards made with Oak wood are significantly more durable and heavier than softwood cutting boards.

But because of having an open porous grain structure, there is a possibility of bacterial growth inside Oakwood cutting boards.

Food particles can trap inside the open porous structure of Oak wood and eventually bacteria tend to grow inside those pores.

In order to prevent that, you should seal Oakwood cutting boards before using a food-safe oil like linseed oil or walnut oil to seal the Oakwood surface by preventing foot particles from trapping inside of the wood.

Other than that, Oak wood is great for making cutting boards. You can use them in moisture conditions with no issues due to the excellent water resistance of Oak wood.

Plus, Oak wood cutting boards will last for so long due to their excellent strength and dimensional stability.

Is Oak Wood Strong For Outdoors?

Both Red Oak and White Oak are strong enough for outdoor applications.

Oakwood can withstand outdoor elements such as moisture, temperature fluctuations, and weather elements.

But applying a proper stain and sealant before keeping Oak wood outside is a must since under extreme weather conditions moisture may penetrate inside of the wood and cause wood to rot.

Once the wood starts to rot, there’s no point in applying a sealer above the surface since the rotting process will continue from the wood inside.

In those cases, you should restore wood by removing the rotted area and applying a quality product like Flex Seal to stop the wood from rotting further.

Generally, White Oak is stronger than Red Oak for outdoors since it is denser, tougher, stiffer, and heavier.

Plus, White Oak has a tighter grain and lack of pores which is great to get protected from moisture and water damage. These qualities make White Oak strong enough for outdoor use.

Both Red Oak and White Oak cannot withstand UV light which can damage the wood and cause wood splitting and cracking.

By applying a sealant with anti-UV agents, they’ll absorb UV light and stop them from damaging the wood, and protects the wood for a long time.

The other drawback of using Oak wood outdoors is they tend to darken with age, especially under direct sunlight.

Sunlight turns Oakwood into darker color. You can minimize this effect by applying a proper sealer. Or by placing Oak wood outdoor furniture under a shade.

Overall, Oak wood is one of the best and strongest wood for any outdoor use.

Just need a quality sealant and good maintenance to keep the outdoor furniture forever.

What Is the Strongest Oak Wood?

White Oak is the strongest Oak wood. It is stronger, heavier, denser, more durable, and more stable than the Red Oak.

White Oak is strong in terms of,

  • Compressive strength with 7,440 psi
  • Bending strength with 15,200 psi
  • Stiffness with 1.78 Mpsi
  • Hardness with 1,360 lbf (6,050 N)

So, that’s it, folks! Hope you have gained a clear understating of, whether is Oak wood strong and how its strength is important in various woodworking projects.

Let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Is Oak Stronger Than Poplar?

Yes, Oak is stronger than Poplar. Both White Oak and Red Oak are stronger, denser, and harder than Poplar.

Even though Poplar and Oak both come from the same hardwood family, Poplar can be easily replaced by Oak wood in terms of their strength and durability.

The compressive strength of Poplar is 5,540 psi and the compressive strength of Red Oak is 6,760 psi and 7,440 psi which are significantly higher than the strength of Poplar.

When it comes to hardness, the Janka hardness ratings of Oak and Poplar are as follows,

Wood TypeHardness
Popular540 lbf
Red Oak1,290 lbf
White Oak1,360 lbf

As you can see Oak wood is more than two times harder than Poplar which makes it extra special for any project.

Is Oak Stronger Than Pine?

Oak wood is stronger, harder, and denser than Pinewood. But Yellow Pine is stronger than Oak wood. Sugar Pine and White Pine are weaker and softer than both Red Oak and White Oak.

Pine is a softwood and Oak wood is a hardwood with a tight grain fiber structure which makes it more stable and more durable than Pine. But yellow Pine is exceptional.

The compressive strengths of Oakwood and Pine wood are as follows,

  • Red Oak – 6,760 psi
  • White Oak – 7,440 psi
  • Sugar Pine – 4,460 psi
  • White Pine – 4,800 psi
  • Yellow Pine – 8,470 psi

As you can see yellow Pine is excellent in terms of its strength. But Oak woods are hardwoods with overall higher qualities than yellow Pine.

Is Oak Stronger Than Maple

Oak and Maple both have similar strengths. Hard Maple and Soft Maple have an almost similar hardness to Red Oak and White Oak it is hard to tell which one is stronger.

The compressive strengths of Oak wood and Pine wood are as follows,

  • Red Oak – 6,760 psi
  • White Oak – 7,440 psi
  • Hard Maple – 7,830 psi
  • Soft Maple – 6,540 psi

Is Oak Stronger Than Birch?

Birch is slightly stronger than Oak. Both Red Oak and White Oak are slightly softer but have an almost similar hardness to Birch.

Oak and Birch both come from the hardwood family.

The compressive strengths of Oak wood and Birch wood are as follows,

  • Red Oak – 6,760 psi
  • White Oak – 7,440 psi
  • Birch – 8,170 psi

Is Oak Stronger Than Hickory?

Hickory is stronger than Oak. Hickory is considered one of the strongest hardwoods on the planet.

Even though both Oak and Hickory come from the same hardwood family, you can easily replace Oak wood with Hickory in terms of their strength and hardness.

The compressive strengths of Oak wood and Pine wood are as follows,

  • Red Oak – 6,760 psi
  • White Oak – 7,440 psi
  • Hickory – 9,210 psi

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Is Oak Wood Strong?

In this article, we have deeply discussed, whether is Oak wood strong, how strong Oak wood is compared to other popular wood types, how the strength of Oak wood is useful in various projects, and a lot more.

Oak wood is a strong wood with compressive strength of 7,440 lbf and a bending strength of 15,200 lbf. Oak wood is a tighter grain hardwood with high density and high durability. Because of having good strength Oak wood can carry a lot of weight and stress without losing its stability.

Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions as well.

Hope you have gained good knowledge about, whether is Oak wood strong with lots of details.

Try to use Oak wood for your next woodworking project and experience how strong it is. Happy woodworking with Oak!

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him!

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