Great American Wood

Deep in the forest where 1 hiked as a kid and hunted as a teenager was a towering white oak tree. Measuring 4 ft. in diameter, with an expansive crown, it stood proud among a younger generation of slender poplar, aspen and maple trees. For some odd reason, it must have escaped the lumberman's saw decades earlier.

White oaks can live for hundreds of years. One of Lhe most famous, the Wye Oak of Maryland, was estimated to be 460 years old until a storm brought it down in 2002. Il measured 32 ft. in circumference and held the record as the nation's largest white oak.

White oak is the perfect choice for a wide variety of applications. Woodworkers admire the beauty of its quartersawn grain. Boat builders take advantage of its strength and rot resistance. The warship USS Constitution, launched in 1797, was nicknamed Old Ironsides because cannon balls bounced off her thick white oak hull. Completely restored in the 1990's, she still sails the Boston Harbor. Although only 15 percent of the ship's wood is original, the keel-18-in. by 30-in. by 160 ft—is made of Lhe same four white oak timbers laid down over two centuries ago.

That's a hard act to follow, but in this issue you'll find two projects that also make the best of white oak's outstanding properties. The sunburst Patio Tabic (page 42), tough and rot-resistant, is designed to survive many backyard barbecue battles. The Steam-Bent Music Stand {page 51) takes advantage of white oak's pliability in steam bending. And, of course, white oak's beauty enhances both projects.

Happy July 4th,

Happy July 4th,

Randy Johnson Editor

[email protected]

Randy Johnson Editor

[email protected]

6 American Woodworker JULY 2O07

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