French Oak – Worth the difference?
Yes, oak is attractive. Whether in a carport, a garden room – or, maybe a pergola with Kent peg tiles for that great rustic look – Quercus Robur (Pendunculate oak), and Quercus petraea (Sessile oak), are aesthetically distinctive.
So, what is special about French oak?
French oaks grow slowly, and the space between the growth rings is compact, giving a tight, smooth grain. It is prizes for its tannin content (Enjoy the tannin in your cup of tea while you read this), which reacts very well to custom colouring, not always achievable on other oaks. Ideal for buildings. At the higher echelons of the market, French oak is prized.
Is it difficult to obtain?
It is possible to obtain – at a price, and maybe with supply delays. French oak forests are managed meticuleusement, so there is a steady supply of the product. Price? Well, yes – it is more expensive, but, as they say, “A thing of beauty is a charm for ever”. So are we saying it’s the best we can buy? – Well, you’d need to ask Asterix or Obelix that question – and if you say French is not the best, just see which highest branch of a quercus robur you find yourself catapulted to.
Will it last longer than other oaks?
Always an interesting one! How long do you want it to last? What advantage to a person whose lifespan is around 100 years, to know whether the product will last 300 years, or 320 years? It’s a bit like my brother H’s story when buying a carpet –
Brother H – “Is this hardwearing?”
Salesman - “Last for ever, Sir, its marvellous!”
Brother H - “What if I had underlay?”
Salesman - That’d make the carpet last twice as long!”
(Brother H is still going strong – not sure where the carpet is – or the salesman…..)
So, what are the alternatives to French Oak?
There are very attractive oaks from Britain, other European countries, USA, etc. All have a very attractive lustre & texture, and, in a thoughtfully-designed structure, are very pleasing to the eye.
And, actually, we’ve also admired some very attractive look-alikes in other hardwoods. There’s a lot available. It’s horses for courses, as they say. Talk to us.
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