White Oak is a very strong and heavy wood that produces beautiful and durable wide plank flooring. However, it is used in virtually every area of the wood industry. It is now, and has always been, the entire world’s first choice for all types of flooring and millwork. European White Oak is native to most of Europe including France, Germany, Finland, Ukraine and Romania. The best American White Oak comes from the Appalachian range in the eastern US.
Many believe that the best White Oak is the European variety. It has a different color and many different characteristics than the European White Oak. This special white oak reaches heights of 130 feet+ and diameters up to 30 inches+. European oaks generally grow fairly rapidly for the first 100 or so years. After that, their growth rate gradually slows down. Along the way, the tree matures from a slender sapling with smooth bark to a deeply fissured, rough-barked tree of impressive girth. Decline starts setting in after about three centuries or so. This slow maturation results in a fine, tight grain much sought after for wine barrels and flooring.
European White Oak yields especially wide, long boards and generally has tighter grain and more uniform color than American White Oak. Typically it’s a warm honey color but ranges from light brown to a rich, dark brown. European White Oak has tannin content higher than other oaks and thus responds well to fuming (the process of exposing the wood to ammonia gas in a sealed chamber).