The Whomping Willow from Harry Potter is quite possibly the most famous tree in history. Granted, it’s (arguably) fiction, but that’s not about to stop it from being more famous than probably all of us combined. Murderous tendencies aside, it’s the willow that young willows strive to be. Other tree younglings are not fortunate enough to have role models as famous as the Whomping Willow, but it’s easy to see why Oaks don’t particularly need one. These guys grow into semi-literal tree monsters – 50 feet high, 10 feet wide, tough as a day old pancakes – the whole package.
Oak wood is, somewhat obviously, quite valuable. After yielding a ridiculously tough chopping process – think 3 feet stainless steel chainsaw tough – Oaks give brilliant, almost succulent wood that characterises the tough as nails that Oaks have become famous for. Seriously, for all the trouble people go through for cutting this beast down, you’d think their trunks were made out of solid gold or something. Almost, but not quite.
Oakie Oakson vs Teaky McTeakface –
Therefore, logically, Oak wood should yield excellent furniture right? Normally, this is the perfect sentence for a ‘No’ moment, but for a change, the answer is a resounding ‘Yes’. But furniture manufacturers usually prefer teak in furniture. The reason? Money. Teak is cheap. Like cheaper than pretty much every other wood cheap. Think about it, if you had access to a wood that was cheap but expensive-looking, kind of strong but not really, and looked passably great, you’d probably throw your moral compass in the rubbish and sell said wood into oblivion. Don’t be shy, we all thought of it; especially mainstream furniture companies.
Oak – Durable / Attractive / Tough / Fungal Resistant
Now, of course, I don’t mean teak is bad per se, just Oak does its job way better in almost every way imaginable; with the possible exception of its relatively high cost. But if you’d ask me, the cost seems well worth it considering it has a really long life bordering on absurd. In your woody face, teak.
The Elusive Wood –
Oak is also notoriously difficult to source as it is very choosy about the places it grows in. Uh huh, it’s almost as if it requires a particular temperature and climate to survive. Oh wait…
Joking aside, these reasons have made oak scarce in the pages of furniture websites. Even Wayfair, the cornucopia of furniture, doesn’t have many options. ‘Hazlewood Home’ is one good one that actually sells surprisingly good Oak. Not many – even corporations – like to go through all the trouble to find it and then even further trouble to chop it down (sustainably). So we’re basically left with fewer options than KFC for vegans. And trust me, it’s nigh impossible to find a veggie thing beyond like, fries and cardboard. Fortunately, we have some kind souls who went through virtual Armageddon to find the darn tree and make it available to those of us who don’t like to go on floral odysseys.
You’d hard pressed to find independent companies – or even chains – with Oak, so it was a pleasant surprise to find Artisan Furniture having a positively plethoric variety of the elusive wood. I have to admit my inner furniture nerd very nearly did a back flip, if I could do a back flip, that is. But I digress.
There you have it – Oak the Wonder Wood. Now that you know about the wonderful (hence the name) properties of Oak and the arduous difficulties in getting it within the click of a button, I’m sure you all would love to get yourselves some good ol’ Oak for your home. I’d love to see pictures of your sure-to-be-brilliant oak pieces!