ring porous page


(the live oaks, from both the red and white groups, are diffuse porous and are with the domestic diffuse porous species)

NOTE: unless otherwise specifically stated, all of the images shown on this
page are of 1/4" square end grain cross sections shown at 12X with the top
of the image towards the bark and the bottom towards the pith so that
earlywood is towards the bottom of the growth rings and latewood is towards the top

general characteristics of oak end grain: strong rays combined with the classic ring porous look make oak one of the easiest woods to identify

One reliable, but sometimes quite difficult (at the level of shop work and a 10X loupe), way to tell red oak and white oak apart is by the fact that most pores in white oak show tylosis and those in red oak never do. Tylosis is a shiny substance and the pores that are clogged with it look a bit like tiny little round windows that have been smashed up and glued back together with the pieces crooked. It is difficult on my own white oak samples below to tell that there is tylosis (even though there is) because I fine-sand my samples rather than using razor cuts and the images are not as clear at that level of detail as I would like. SO ... to clearly show what the tylosis looks like in white oak, I found a couple of pics on the internet and use them here to show what the tylosis looks like and the difference between that and red oak which has no tylosis (the clogging in some of the red oak pores in both the pic here and the ones below in my own red oak samples is not tylosis). My best guess is that all of these pics are shown at about 20X

white oak with tylosis red oak (no tylosis)

STILL NEEDED ON THIS PAGE: comments on each species



































old growth white oak / Quercus alba --- This piece is not representative of the species but I included it as an interesting look at a particular kind of ring porous wood, namely very high ring count wood. This tree grew so slowly that the tiny amount of late growth at the end of each year is swamped by the large pore of the single ring of pores in the next year's early growth so you see almost nothing but a mass of pores. Because of the very high density of pores, this piece is remarkably light for oak





















(I don't know which group, red or white, these belong in)