Botan. Name: Quercus spp., Quercus alba
Oak is and always has been a popular wood in furniture making. Not only is the tree itself considered to be very robust with a life span of 500 years and older in some cases, but the wood is also particularly durable in the processed state.
Oak plays a special role in all periods that are important for the antique trade. It was used as solid wood at all times, but oak was also well suited as a support material for applied veneers, as it does not warp much and was always considered a sign of good quality. As a native wood that was found in large quantities, oak was also relatively cheap and easily available.
The wood grows in straight lines and is one of the coarse-grained woods. Characteristic are the medullary rays that run across the annual rings in the wood and are visible as so-called "mirrors" in the processed state.
Waxes were used to completely close the pores of the wood. Oak wood is not suitable for shellac polishes.
The burl wood of the oak was also popular for designing furniture fronts. Small knots surrounded by irregularly grown annual rings in the trunk create the centres of circular and wave-like structures in the wood as dark cores.
Oak wood is well suited for carving and so it was also used for sculptures, especially in northern Germany. Due to its good carving properties, oak wood really blossomed during the Rococo period, when carvings of both figurative and ornamental elements were very popular. The antique furniture from Aachen and Liège in particular is absolutely famous and a household name to anyone involved in the art and antiques business.
Oak wood has a light brown tone when untreated. Light and air cause the wood to darken, and oak wood was and is often stained dark.
The oak wood used in the period of origin of our antiques came from the respective region of origin of the furniture.