The Tree Journal – Chestnut Oak (Quercus montana)


The chestnut oak grows in the eastern United states, and belongs to the white oak group.  It reaches from Maine, down to Georgia, and as far west as Mississippi.  It prefers well drained soil and inhabits ridge lines and rocky habitats.  As a result, it usually doesn’t grow more than about 70 ft tall.

The chestnut oak distinguishes itself from other oaks with its deeply ridged bark.  It produces large, broad leaves between 5 and 9 inches long.  The leaves are oval with 10-15 shallow lobes.  Additionally, quercus montana produces some of the largest acorns among the oak family.

Uses for Woodworkers

Chestnut oak produces hard, dense lumber with a medium to light, brown color.  The grain is coarse with medium to large pores on the end-grain.  Due to its propensity for low branches, the grain can be wild and knotty.  It has excellent resistance to decay and good work-ability.  Though, slightly more expensive than red-oak, chestnut oak is generally affordable.  However, lumber yards will likely lump it under general white oak.  Finally, chestnut oak is not know to produce any severe allergic reactions.

In general, lumber from quercus montana should produce excellent furniture.  Its low branches could increase difficulty in regards to work-ability.  However, it should also increase interest in flatsawn boards.

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