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OAK, ENGLISH BROWN



Quercus petraea (syn. Quercus sessiliflora)
and Quercus robur (syn. Quercus pedunculata)


A NOTE ABOUT OAK NAMES



Quercus petraea (syn. Quercus sessiliflora) and Quercus robur (syn. Quercus pedunculata) of the family Fagaceae. Both are in the white oak group.

English Brown Oak is a form of European oak that (1) grows in England and Europe, and (2) is infected by a fungus that comes from a mushroom that grows on the tree and that changes the color of the wood, while the tree is still growing, to a rich beautiful honey brown.

Since English brown oak is not a species, one could argue that it should not have its own page on this site. Such an argument would miss the point that English brown oak is a totally separate MATERIAL than the European oak whence it springs and thus very much merits its own page on a site devoted to the craft of woodworking, not to the botanical nature of wood.

European oak is a very useful and attractive wood, but it pales in comparison, both literally and figuratively, to the wood once the fungus converts it to English brown oak.



my samples: --- colors are accurate throughout


plank and end grain


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above --- color is too rich on the closeup and just right on the update.


another plank and end grain cut from a different log than the one above.


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above


yet another plank and end grain cut from a different log than those above.


end grain closeup of the piece directly above


another couple of small pieces cut from the same plank as the one above, which was the first plank I ever saw of this material and that was over 10 years ago --- I really loved this plank; it was a rich honey brown and was even further enriched by polyurethane. I can't even remember now what projects I used it on, but I do remember it was beautiful.


both sides of a small but really terrific sample plank contributed by Joe Melton, whom I thank for this and many other contributions. I have seen a good-sized dresser made from similar EB oak and it was absolutely stunning.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


plank cut in half --- color is almost correct but the wood actually looks just a little more brown


taken from a centuries-old floor, this piece was sent to me by Iain Rankin, whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Iain did not specifically identify it as EB oak, but it was used in England and EB oak is the only oak I'm aware of that turns so dark over time, so I'm pretty sure that's what it is. Had it been put in use more recently and had this color, I might think it was bog oak but that far back, I don't think they were using bog oak.


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above. Now that I have done the end grain update, I'm even more convinced that this is English brown oak.


rift cut veneer with accurate color and obvious ray flakes


rift cut veneer


flat cut veneer and closeup


flat cut veneer


the ebay pics posted by the vendor who sold me most of the sheets directly above. His second pic has too much yellow.


quartersawn veneer


quartersawn veneer with ray flakes


both sides of a sheet of quartersawn veneer with ray flakes. The significantly different appearance of the ray flakes is not because it's a different side of the piece but rather because I took the pics from different angles. Ray flakes and the surrounding wood on quartersawn oak will typically show this kind of extreme color change as you move the piece through different angles to the light.


burl veneer pics submitted by Neal Kuwabara --- the first pic is very well focused but I believe the 2nd one shows the color more accurately. The closeups below show the grain very nicely but have a purple tint.


verious closeups of the burl veneer directly above --- pics submitted by Neal Kuwabara, who does nice pics; both levels of enlargement are available on all of these.



web pics:


planks listed as English brown oak / Quercus patraea


planks, all from the same vendor and all labeled English brown oak / Quercus robur


planks


planks listed as European brown oak


a plank with a moistened area


bookmatched flat cut veneer


quartersawn flaky veneer --- I had a piece myself that looked almost exactly like the one on the left but I forgot to take a picture of it. Anyway, I can vouch that these two look like real wood for sure because I saw a piece just like them at a wood show --- amazingly long ray flakes and rich honey brown color.


quartersawn veneer


quartersawn veneer with a color that is just ridiculous


particularly flaky quartersawn veneer


veneer with wet and dry areas --- I'm dubious about the gray color in the dry areas AND the green in the wet areas. Seems to me something that gray isn't going to turn green just 'cause you put water (or even mineral spirits) on it. Probably the whole thing is badly colored and it should be dark brown on light brown.


veneer


veneer; all appear to be quartersawn; the color on the 2nd one looks more like bog oak but that's probably just camera carelessness. The 3rd pic looks like the "foxy" veneer shown below, but was not labeled as such and I'm not familiar with "foxy" so can't say for sure. THe last one looks a little too green to me.


veneer listed as English brown oak / Quercus robur


veneer, flat cut and quartersawn, listed as English brown oak / Quercus robur


veneer, all from the same vendor --- color seems too pink to me, but that's typical of this vendor


veneer sheet closeups with both levels of enlargement --- the colors are too pink


curly veneer


figured veneer


curly veneer


"foxy" veneer


pippy plank


burl turning stock


burl veneer, some in matched pairs


burl veneer listed as English brown oak / Quercus petraea, all from the same vendor


burl veneer from a vendor who typically makes many woods look green whether they are or not


cluster burl veneer


bowl




OK, I did remember one of the projects I used it on. A big chunk of this bowl is made from it. The left front is English Brown Oak and the left rear is Osage Orange. The bottom is, from the left, pau amarello (yellowheart), tulipwood, a thin strip of walnut, and then kingwood which is much prettier than the almost black you see here.