Wood species

European oak

Origin: Bosnia, Serbia, Albania.

Latin name.
The commercial name “oak” covers the material obtained from three botanically distinct species, i.e. wood types that are difficult to distinguish: Quercus petraea Liebl. (or real oak), Q. pedunculata Ehrh. (or European oak) and Q. Pubescens Willd. (or Downy oak).

Natural vegetation area.
In Italy, the European oak prevailed in the Pianura Padana area in the past, but now only covers very small surfaces, whereas the two other species prevail in the Centre and in the South. In Central and Eastern Europe, the European oak forms large and very good forests.

The European oak and oak trees can reach considerable sizes: heights sometimes above 40 metres, with diameter at breast height equal to 1.5 metres and over; the sizes of Downy oak are somewhat smaller. Normally, the trunks of these three species are considered as fully grown when their diameter is equal to 45-55 cm. The trunk of the former two species is rather straight and regular, with a thick and rather large foliage on big branches; the Downy oak generally features less regular trunks in shape. In all three species, strong internal stresses can often be identified.

The yellowish/whitish sapwood can be clearly distinguished from the dark brown heartwood, which becomes darker over time. The medullary rays are very clear, especially on the radial surfaces, where they form a shiny blaze. Thanks to the big vessels (pores) of the spring wood, the growth rings can be clearly identified. The fresh-cut material features a strong acid smell and very often some blackish stains caused by the contact with the metal of working tools.

Specific weight in the fresh condition.
In the fresh condition 1,080 kg/m³; after normal seasoning 780 kg/m³.

Histological structure.
Coarse texture; rather straight grain, which is not very regular in the proximity of branch insertions.


Mechanical characteristics.
Axial compression strength 60 N/mm² on average; bending strength 110 N/mm²; hardness from medium to high; the impact behaviour is good.

Modulus of elasticity.
12.500 N/mm2.

Most frequent structural defects and alteration.
Strong internal stresses; localized grain deviation, in particular in the proximity of the insertion of big branches.

Moderate for the sapwood; from good to excellent for the heartwood.


Texts taken from: “Manuale tecnico del legno”, FNALA CNA LEGNO LEGNO, by Prof. Ing. Guglielmo Giordano.


Species available for the following products: