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The heartwood is a pale yellow-brown or “biscuit” color that may range from light tan to deep brown in color. It is usually straight-grained, but cross-grained material can occur in slow growing trees. English Oak displays conspicuous growth rings and has a coarse texture. The sapwood is easily distinguished from the heartwood, though similar in color (lighter). The wood typically has alternating bands of early wood that are large-pored and late wood, which is finer and denser in texture. Like many other oaks, broad rays, distinctive growth rings and a silvery grain produce an attractive figure when quarter-sawn. English “Brown” Oak took on its color from the beefsteak fungus. The color cannot be reproduced with stains, and is considered highly desirable.

Formal Name: Quercus petraea

Other Names: English Oak, European Oak, French Oak, Yugoslavian Oak, Brown Oak, Brown Oak, Pollard Oak


This species occurs throughout Eastern and Western Europe, including Poland, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland the United Kingdom and Yugoslavia.

Working Properties

Depending on whether the Oak is from a slow-growth or quick-growth tree, it ranges from fairly easy to moderately difficult to work. It produces a moderate to severe blunting effect on tools. It has good gluing properties, and pre-boring is recommended for nailing and screwing. English Brown Oak finishes beautifully and responds well to liming, waxing and polishing.

Main Uses

English brown oak is used for fine furniture, cabinetry, architectural millwork, wainscoting, joinery, shipbuilding and flooring. English brown oak, stained by the beefsteak fungus, is extremely desirable and is often converted into decorative veneers for use in furniture and paneling.