Originally Posted by TheGreenWizard
Hey Sean C,
I see you're from Arizona - scrub oak is the common name and can refer to 4 or 5 different species in your area. Regardless, what PlantedRich said is correct - oak is a great hard wood with little to no tannins, especially when there isn't any bark on it. However, it does need a LONG drying period. I have a slab of white oak (Quercus alba) recently cut from a log (as per a forestry-lumber mill field trip) and it will take about 9-10 months for this to dry out completely in the open air. Now, I could do a kiln, but that would still take 2 months tops, to dry it out.
I feel this is often overlooked by many who don't deal with wood very much. Time is about the only way I know for wood to dry. And it does takes years for it to dry completely if it is very thick at all. A piece that is 1/2" thick may dry in 8-10 months but a 4 inch thick one may take years!
There is the big difference in kiln dried to lumber use standards and totally dry. When picking up lumber at the store it is still "green" and will likely still have tannin in it.
To get wood like oak that is really dry, I find it has to be up off the ground so that weather can work on all sides of it without bugs, fungus, etc. eating it up.
I can find that wood in places we often overlook. Washes where wood gets washed down and hangs up in trees, etc. is one spot to look. Washed up on the beach in storms is another. Places often missed are the piles of wood left after bulldozers have cleared land or tipped over trees in fields that have been laying out exposed for years.
I find there are two ways to deal with the question of getting wood that works in my tank. I can pick at random and fight the tannin fight for months or I can pick more carefully and let nature do the work.
I'm for not working when I can get by with it!!!