Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

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Common Name(s): Pin Oak

Scientific Name: Quercus palustris

Distribution: Eastern United States

Tree Size: 50-75 ft (15-23 m) tall, 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 44 lbs/ft3 (705 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .58, .71

Janka Hardness: 1,500 lbf (6,650 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 13,860 lbf/in2 (95.6 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,713,000 lbf/in2 (11.81 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 6,750 lbf/in2 (46.6 MPa)

Shrinkage:Radial: 4.3%, Tangential: 9.5%, Volumetric: 14.5%, T/R Ratio: 2.2

Color/Appearance: Has a light to medium reddish-brown color, though there can be a fair amount of variation in color. Conversely, White Oak tends to be slightly more olive-colored, but is by no means a reliable method of determining the type of oak.

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

Endgrain: Ring-porous; 2-4 rows of large, exclusively solitary earlywood pores, numerous small latewood pores in radial arrangement; tyloses absent; growth rings distinct; rays large and visible without lens; apotracheal parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates (short lines between rays).

Rot Resistance: Red oaks such as Pin Oak do not have the level of decay and rot resistance that White Oaks possess. Durability should be considered minimal.

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: Slightly less expensive than White Oak, Red Oak is in good/sustainable supply and is moderately priced. Thicker 8/4 planks, or quartersawn boards are slightly more expensive per board foot.

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

Common Uses: Cabinetry, furniture, interior trim, flooring, and veneer.

Comments: Pin Oak falls into the red oak group, and shares many of the same traits as Red Oak (Quercus rubra). Red Oak, along with its brother White Oak, are commonly used domestic lumber species. Hard, strong, and moderately priced, Red Oak presents an exceptional value to woodworkers—which explains why it is so widely used in cabinet and furniture making.

Related Species:

Related Articles:


Pin Oak (Quercus palustris)

Pin Oak (sanded)

Pin Oak (sealed)

Pin Oak (sealed)

Pin Oak (endgrain)

Pin Oak (endgrain)

Pin Oak (endgrain 10x)

Pin Oak (endgrain 10x)


  1. Kyle February 23, 2018 at 11:15 pm - Reply

    We have a pin oak tree at the golf course I work at that is only about 50 ft tall but the trunk diameter is over 6 ft (that is not an exaggeration). It is a massive tree and it must have been there for a really really long time. I’m not sure how old a pin oak tree would be if it was 6 ft in diameter. It is longer than a golf cart! My guess is that the tree was remained undisturbed for the longest of time, probably well before the United States even became a country. It is remarkable that it is still alive.

  2. TincanJoey December 24, 2016 at 4:53 am - Reply

    I agree that the pin oak falls into the red oak category, but it should really be in a category by itself when it comes to uses. Pin Oak is “stringy” (for lack of a better term), therefor it is not sought out for its lumber like a cherry bark would be. It is actually a very common pallet wood where I come from as most do not like to use its lumber for woodworking/furniture applications.
    And while trees (like people) tend to be different from one to the next, I find most pin oaks to have a stale, urine smell (which also might explain why people tend to shy away from them for furniture). That smell is so common where I’m from in Kentucky that many refer to the tree as “Piss Oak” rather than Pin Oak. It is a fast growing tree, yet very susceptible to the Gall Wasp. The tree is popular for firewood.

  3. Gargoyle November 25, 2014 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    Being the Oak species most likely to be planted by people, the wood should be used more.

  4. Ed Sweeney November 8, 2012 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    My wife’s parents are going to remove a pin oak tree from their front yard. it is over 50 feet in height and about 40 years old. would this tree be worth them trying to do more than simply have it cut down and hauled off? I believe it will be expensive to have removed and wondering if there is sufficient value to make it economically beneficial versus a large expense. They live outside Memphis Tn.

  5. Weaver Loy September 25, 2011 at 12:50 am - Reply

    my pin oak trees, (2,age=about 40 yrs) are light brown with a very dark brown, almost black heartwood.
    I’ll send a picture next time I cut some :)

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