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Tanoak

Tanoak (Lithocarpus densiflorus)

Tanoak is a domestic hardwood

Location

Tanoak (Lithocarpus densiflorus) has recently gained some commercial value, primarily in California and Oregon. It is also known as tanbark-oak because high-grade tannin was once obtained from the bark in commercial quantities. This species is found in southwestern Oregon and south to Southern California, mostly near the coast but also in the Sierra Nevadas.

Characteristics

Sapwood of tanoak is light reddish brown when first cut and turns darker with age to become almost indistinguishable from heartwood, which also ages to dark reddish brown. The wood is heavy and hard; except for compression perpendicular to grain, the wood has roughly the same strength properties as those of eastern white oak. Tanoak has higher shrinkage during drying than does white oak, and it has a tendency to collapse during drying. Tanoak is quite susceptible to decay, but the sapwood takes preservatives easily. Tanoak has straight grain, machines and glues well, and takes stains readily.

Primary Uses

Because of its hardness and abrasion resistance, tanoak is excellent for flooring in homes or commercial buildings. It is also suitable for industrial applications such as truck flooring. Tanoak treated with preservative has been used for railroad crossties. The wood has been manufactured into baseball bats with good results, and it is also suitable for veneer, both decorative and industrial, and for high quality furniture.
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