Holm Oak (Quercus ilex)
Holm Oak (Quercus ilex)

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Common Name(s): Holm Oak, Holly Oak

Scientific Name: Quercus ilex

Distribution: Mediterranean Basin

Tree Size: 65-85 ft (20-25 m) tall, 3-4 ft (1-1.2 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 50 lbs/ft3 (800 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .62, .80

Janka Hardness: 1,610 lbf (7,150 N)

Modulus of Rupture: No data available*

Elastic Modulus: No data available*

Crushing Strength: No data available*

*Values most likely very similar to White Oak

Shrinkage:Radial: 4.6%, Tangential: 8.4%, Volumetric: 13.0%, T/R Ratio: 1.8

Color/Appearance: Has a light to medium brown color, though there can be a fair amount of variation in color.

Grain/Texture: Has medium-to-large pores and a fairly coarse grain.

Rot Resistance: Good rot resistance: frequently used in boatbuilding applications.

Workability: Easy to glue, and takes stain and finishes very well.

Odor: Has a tell-tale smell that is common to most oaks. Most find it appealing.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, oak has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation, as well as asthma-like symptoms. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Rarely if ever imported, Holm Oak is likely only available in or around its natural range surrounding the Mediterraenean Basin. Prices are likely to be comparable to other native oaks, such as English Oak.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Tools, cabinetry, furniture, wine barrels, turned objects, and firewood.

Comments: The term “holm” oak is another word for “holly,” so named because the foliage of Quercus ilex resembles Holly. (The tree is also sometimes known as Evergreen Oak, since it keeps its leaves year round, with old leaves falling off after the new ones appear. Holm Oak falls into the white oak group, and shares many of the same traits as White Oak (Quercus alba).

Related Species:

Related Articles:

Scans/Pictures: A special thanks to Steve Earis for providing the wood sample of this wood species.

Holm Oak (Quercus ilex)
Holm Oak (sanded)
Holm Oak (sealed)
Holm Oak (sealed)
Holm Oak (endgrain)
Holm Oak (endgrain)
 

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Steve g
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Steve g

The Holm Oak end grain on the data base isnt very high res but it really looks too ring porous in vessel pattern . ?

STEVE G
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STEVE G

Hi, I would really like to know if there is and way to differentiate between Holm oak and Live / Virginian Oak purely by the end grain pattern .
hhh2 is Holm oak but the unknown is hhh1, very similar vessels but the Holme tends to be a single radial line of vessels whereas hhh1 is multiple….does this mean it is not Holme? could it be Live Oak ?

Richard
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Richard

From my reading into the nature of holm oak many years ago , when got a wind blown limb from an old wood .
1. Beautiful grain colouring like the plumage of a trush
2. Seasoned well with less cracking or shakes than common oaks . Air dry for best results.
3. Use in olden times for strong load bearing parts in wooden ship building.

Harold Hoogenboom
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Harold Hoogenboom

Hi Tomas, thank you for this very important info. I’m from the Netherlands and I’m also sure that the values from wood database are far from correct. It is indeed much harder and dense as they describe it. In the north of Europe it grows in England that I know of, but it can’t be compared to holmoaks in southern Europe for sure. I’m surprised that wood database didn’t answer your comment after more then a year or even bother to correct the values for holmoak. It’s an amazing wood. In the Netherlands it’s used in windmills for centuries. A… Read more »

Tim Germain
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Tim Germain

i’m mot a wood technician but rather a designer-maker. i just made a box for the ashes of my mate jerry out of holm oak that we got from a local park back in 2015, hence reasonably well seasoned as it was cut into 3/4″ planks. from working with it, i can say it machines as if it were even harder than english oak, it feels even denser and the silvergrain is quite magnificent unfortunately, given its use this time, i am not going to be able to keep an eye on how well it ages but i would be… Read more »

tomas lainas
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tomas lainas

hi! im really sorry to say so, but i cant help noticing the values for holm oak are not relevant to the species Quercus ilex that grows in Spain. i assume its not easy to find relevant information in english, but since this tremendously heavy and hard wood is a tree very common to Spain, it is possible to find information in Spanish. the only drawback is they do not use the Janka test, but the Monnin wood hardness test. the hardness value of Quecus Ilex is 14.3 – measured by the Madrid Polytechnical university. in Spanish Hollyoak is Encina.… Read more »