Page:The Oak.djvu/163

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145
OAK TIMBER.

tifully speckled, and shrinking little (Fig. 39, middle). Such wood is excellent for sculpture and carving, and is very pretty; it is also well adapted for cooperage.

In deep soil of moderate quality, in hilly country, and growing as coppice under standards, we have a wood of irregular growth and not very valuable, but useful in an all-round way for sawing and splitting (Fig. 39, bottom).

Speaking generally, it is found that, other things being equal, the most resistant, closest, and toughest timber comes from isolated trees growing in the open: straight and long timber, less marked for the above qualities, comes, on the contrary, from trees grown in close, high forest. This is the conclusion arrived at by the naval authorities in France and England, and may be accepted as according with the facts of structure, etc. Some differences may be put down to the varieties, but probably Boppe is right in concluding that rate of growth, etc., due to differences in the soil and climate, are the determining causes.

The builder employs oak for sills, staircase treads,


Description of Fig. 39.—The upper one is from a rapidly-grown tree, in the open, and at a low altitude; the wood is very strong, hard, and heavy (density 0·827), because there is a preponderance of fibers in the broad rings. The middle specimen comes from a tree growing slowly in a forest at a considerable altitude; the narrow rings have too large a proportion of vessels, whence the wood is soft (density 0·691), porous, and weak. The lower section is from a tree which has grown very irregularly on poor soil, as shown by the variable rings; only the parts with broad rings are good—hence bad wood predominates (density 0·742). (Nanquette-Boppe.)