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A Guide to Green Oak

What is green oak?

Green Oak is fresh Oak that has been cut between three and eighteen months of felling. You may also hear this timber being referred to as Fresh Sawn Oak. This timber is used without any drying or preservation treatments.

The name ‘green oak’ refers to the freshness of the timber.

Oak cut using this method contains between 60-80% moisture, which is favourable for those looking for a timber that can be cut and shaped more precisely. It will continue to ‘dry out’ naturally.

What is the difference between Seasoned Oak and Green Oak?

Compared to Green Oak, Seasoned Oak has been cut and stored outdoors to dry naturally.

This process reduces moisture by around 20-30% and can take several years. Sometimes the process is sped up using a kiln, and the Oak becomes Kiln Dried Oak.

Green Oak is ready to use but has a higher water content. This means it will shrink and split as it dries out so used for projects where more stable timbers are required. Seasoned Oak and Kiln Dried Oak have already been through the shrinking and drying stage,

When used structurally, this type of timber will move less than Green Oak and therefore is often used for window and door frames.

How long does it take for Green Oak to dry out?

The drying-out process begins the second the timber is cut. However, many are surprised to find out just how long Green Oak timber takes to fully season.

Green Oak dries at a rate of one inch of thickness per year. The thicker the timber cut, the longer the seasoning process.

However, you do not need to wait for the timber to fully season before it can be used.

In fact, timber that is only at the start of its seasoning process makes it favourable for a wide range of applications.

What are the benefits of using green oak?

Easy to work with

Because of the high moisture content, this timber is more forgiving. It’s easier to cut and work with, making it a highly versatile material that is suitable for a variety of applications.


Because Green Oak doesn’t require additional treatments and long drying times, it is much cheaper than other timbers. When used structurally, it may also be a more cost-effective option than other structural materials.

Environmentally friendly

Natural drying methods that do not demand chemical treatments and preservatives meaning that this type of timber is far more environmentally friendly compared to those that do require treatment.

What’s more, Green Oak can be cut to exact customer specification, reducing waste. And, any waste produced can often be repurposed as pegs or bracings for building construction, or as sawdust for animal bedding or fuel.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that timber in general has the lowest embodied carbon dioxide compared to many other building materials, therefore if you’re looking to complete a building project more sustainably, it’s well worth considering Green Oak as a core structural building material.

Strong and durable

When Green Oak dries naturally, also known as seasoning, it becomes harder. It also becomes resistant to uptaking any further moisture.

Green Oak is notoriously known for having a naturally high tannin content, which also bodes well in ensuring the timber is resistant to insect and fungal damage.

Things to consider when using Green Oak

It will shrink

As you know, Green Oak dries naturally. As the Oak dries out, it will certainly shrink, and therefore, you should factor this in, particularly if you’re using the timber for structural applications.

It’s nothing to be concerned about, if you take the right measures, and any good carpenter or builder, will know how to utilise Green Oak appropriately to create one of the most robust and durable building structures.

However, if you fail to factor in shrinkage, over time, you’ll lose structural stability and strength as joints literally move away from one another.

Avoid windows and doors

This notorious shrinkage has landed some homeowners and developers in sticky situations when used incorrectly. Green Oak shouldn’t be used for window and door frame applications, as when the timber shrinks, it can cause the glass to crack.

Does Green Oak need to be treated?

Whilst many timber products do require additional treatment, Green Oak is rather special.

There is no need to add additional chemicals or preservatives when used both indoors or outdoors.

As the timber seasons, you should expect it to turn a silvery grey colour. But, if you want to retain the original colour, you’ll need to find a suitable timber preservative or treatment.

What can Green Oak be used for?

Green Oak timber is an excellent building material that has been used for centuries to construct beautiful and enduring structures.

From thatched cottages to romantic country barns, Green Oak timber is a perfect choice to help create works of architectural art while staying true to traditional timelessness. It can also be used to make pergolas, front porches and timber frame garages.

And this wonder wood isn’t just aesthetically pleasing; it’s practical too.

Green oak timber is well-known for being durable and eco-friendly, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking for a sustainable solution.

Whether you’re constructing a rustic hideaway or an iconic structure, green oak should be at the top of your list!

In addition to structural applications, Green Oak is often used for furniture making, fireplaces and cladding.

When it comes to Green Oak, all imperfections are to be loved, enjoyed and embraced! Yes, it might have a waney edge, splits and knots but this all adds to the beauty and makes it what it is!

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