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English Brown/Dark Oak

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Woodythepecker

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Due to the accident i have not done much in the last couple of days, but while pottering about my depleted wood stock i came across some forgotten English brown oak that a builder friend passed my way.

He has recently purchased a 300 year old church at a auction and according to the old caretaker this oak had been laying in the back garden for at least 5 or. 6 years, and before that it was stacked in the basement ever since he started attending the church some 50 years before. There are 20 18' foot boards each measuring 6"x2".
As you can imagine, due to being outside in all sorts of weather all but one of the boards are really dirty and black. The odd one out is also dirty, but this is a light grey in colour and the first 12 inches of each end has started to rot and crumble.

As far as i can tell none of these boards have ever been used because you can still clearly see where they have been stacked and sticked to dry at sometime in the passed.

Now i know that oak is heavy, especially 18 feet of it, and because of the accident i maybe feeling a bit feeble :oops: :roll: :oops: but this stuff is unusually heavy, something akin to lifting a RSJ.

Anyway to see what lay beneath i shoved it through the thicknesser and found it to be some of the darkest english brown oak i have come across, and when i say dark i mean dark, it is really nice. Or it would be if it wasn't for the small 1" to 3" cracks that run for the full 18 feet of the board. These cracks are black (which i presume is dirt) and on looking at the end grain they run about 1/4 to a 1/2 inch deep. Has anyone come across this before?
IMHO i believe that it has been caused by a few hot summers and a lot of rainy winters, but i don't really know.

I then ran another 2 boards through and these came out the same.

Any ideas what caused it and where i should go from here? I know that i have to dry it but would you do this outside or in the workshop?

Regards

Woody
 

gwaithcoed

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Hi Woody, Don't know what caused the problem you describe, but as regards"Where should I go from here" just parcel a couple of planks and send them to me you lucky sod :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :oops:
Good Luck to you.Sorry to hear abuot your accident, not to serious I hope
Cheers Alan
 

Chris Knight

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Woody,

It sounds as though you may have some very good quality oak. The small shakes are probably not a problem and will plane out I suspect.

To dry it, I should check the moisture content first and then during the drying process. If the MC is above 15% I would be inclined to sticker it under cover outside first, then take it into the workshop when the MC drops below this level.

The colour of the wood may be due to the brown oak fungus (fistulina)or simply the natural heartwood colour due to the extractives. Here are some examples of different colours which can caused by the fungus.

http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/ ... 0brown.htm
 

Woodythepecker

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Thanks Chris. I am going to have get myself a digital camera so that i can post photos of things such as this brown oak, because it would make things a lot easier if i could show members what i was talking about.

I have seen and used (when working for my previous employer) brown oak such as mine in the past, but it was only since reading an article last night that i realised in some parts it is somewhat rare. Is this correct or only someone else's opinion?

If this is the case then i have got quite a find and i will have to make sure i dry it properly and use it on some special projects.

One thing that i did forget to say was the grain on all 3 broads that i have so far thinknessed is very tight and straight.

Regards

Woody
 

Chris Knight

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Woody,

There is usually a hefty premium on brown oak, compared with regular English or French oak and it is rare for a whole tree to be uniformly infected/coloured so you don't often see a complete flitch sawn through and through.
 

Woodythepecker

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I will have to thickness the other boards, but so far the colour of all 3 is exactly the same throughout the 18 feet.

Regards

Woody
 

dickm

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Woodythepecker":3j4rcrsb said:
it is somewhat rare. Is this correct or only someone else's opinion?

If this is the case then i have got quite a find and i will have to make sure i dry it properly and use it on some special projects.

One thing that i did forget to say was the grain on all 3 broads that i have so far thinknessed is very tight and straight.
Wow, you lucky man - it's the most wonderful timber IMHO. As far as I know, it is relatively rare, because the fungus which causes it presumably only infects trees under the right conditions. Can't remember the specific fungus involved, but it doesn't seem to have a major effect on the strength of the timber, only its colour and to some extent working properties.
I think I said somewhere else that it planes beautifully, rather like planing chocolate might be!
 
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