After construction one of the characteristics of oak is that as it dries it will move, shrink and twist. This actually strengthens the joints in the oak frame as they tighten during this process. However consideration for this tolerance is required when incorporating ridged materials within the design such as glass and plaster. Due to the dense nature of this timber its “burn rate” to fire is in fact very low and therefore not easy to ignite. It is unnecessary to apply treatment to an English oak frame however some choose to apply wax or sand blast which changes its surface appearance.

Oak will reveal its natural tannins over a period of time when first cut, this unsightly stain can be washed off and removed but it is worth allowing the timber to settle first so to avoid repeating the cleaning process. The main concern is when the tannin leaks out onto masonry connected to the oak work, the use of oxalic acid can clean the stains. When oak is used for oak framing the beauty is in the joining connections deployed to connect the frame. When beams and posts tie together with mortice-and-tenon joints which are then finished with dowels, this always adds a particular beauty to the frame and in almost every case these types of connections are left on show to be admired. Some of the larger grand buildings curve the main upright posts and incorporate curved braces to create a lovely cathedral shape to the design. In time the grain may open and present timeless character to the structure, something other materials are unable to compare.

With time oak will silver and darken to eventually adopt the character seen in ancient buildings where the timber is used. Many prefer this natural finish to the freshly sawn look first presented on a new oak frame. Which ever your preference there is no doubt the joys of working or living with oak around you is incomparable to any other natural resource.
Detailed Oak Beam