Red Oaks are naturally light to medium brown with a reddish hue hence the given name "red oak" and is known for it's course texture and large, opened pores. However, since it's extremely porous, it makes it easier to stain. Likewise, it's best to be used indoors rather than outdoors because it is not water resistant
In comparison to the other woods, Red Oaks are a bit darker than Maple & White Oak but lighter than Alder. Since it's a naturally dark, it tends to stain easier with darker stains rather than lighter stains.
Grain & Knots
Red Oaks have a straight-grain with a course, uneven texture, and large pores. In addition, Red Oaks are known to have little to no knots at all. Even if they did have knots, the knots would be very small, blending along with the grain, and giving the wood some variation and texture. Additionally, Red Oaks have short rays that look like dotted lines, playing in to it's extraordinary texture.
Density and Durability
The density and durability of wood is often measured by the Janka Test which is a steel ball pressing against a block of wood to measure the amount of force for the steel ball to go halfway through the block.
Red Oak has a Janka rating of 1290 Jankas, making it the Industrial Median of Hardiness.
Red Oak vs. White Oak
White Oak is a bit on the pricier side ($$$$) of wood choices compared to Red Oak ($$) due to it being more durable (1360 Janka) and having the ability to hide wear and tear without looking faded or worn out. In addition, White Oak isn't as abundant as Red Oaks leading to a high demand for White Oak.
When it comes to pores, White Oaks have very small pores due to tyloses sealing off the pores and having different cellular growth from Red Oaks. Because of that, White Oaks are resistant to water, and has a strong resistance to rot and decay, unlike Red Oaks. Comparatively, White Oaks have long rays that run along the grain white Red Oaks have short, jagged rays that look like dotted lines.
However, since White Oaks are very light, they stain better with lighter colors and not so much with darker colors and vice versa with Red Oaks.
Works Done With Red Oak
Red Oak Dining Table