Red Oak is also widely available through wholesale and retail lumber dealers.
In this blog, I almost always recommend several vendors with whom I have done considerable business and in whom I have great confidence. These vendors are: West Penn Hardwoods, Bell Forest Products, Got Wood?, NC Wood, WoodTurningz, Amazon Exotic Hardwoods, Griffin Exotic Wood, Exotic Woods USA, and Wood Turning Blanks 4U.
Of these fine vendors, only three are selling Red Oak at this time.
WoodTurningz sell small spindle sizes only ranging in price from $0.95 to $4.50 depending on the size, although the largest is only 2.75” x 2.75” x 10”, likely meant for a pepper/salt mill.
Bell Forest Products sells a range of dimensions, all of them small spindle sizes, with about half of the offerings actually being dowels. The largest piece is 2” x 2” x 32” selling for $10.80.
Finally West Penn Hardwoods is also selling Red Oak but only in dimensional lumber formats with various prices per board foot. It would be possible to cut down 8/4 lumber into small bowl blanks, but that isn’t the likely intended purpose.
The lack of availability from these vendors reflects that most of them are fairly focused on wood intended for turning on a lathe and Red Oak isn’t really an ideal wood for that purpose.
Woodfinder is an excellent website that is dedicated to advertising wood dealers. In your search for Red Oak, this can be an invaluable resource provided you use multiple search terms to capture all the possible listings. I can’t speak to the quality of any of the listed dealers, but Woodfinder does have the advantage of allowing searches to be performed based on location which might allow an interested buyer to visit a listed wood dealer in person to hand pick pieces at a comfortable price.
A significant problem with using Woodfinder is that many vendors are listed for woods that, upon further investigation, they do not offer. I don’t know if perhaps once they did and they didn’t update their listings or if some vendors use a standardized list of woods that include most everything conceivable with the idea that once you land on their page you will find something you want to buy even if you didn’t know it beforehand. It happens to me all the time!
Red Oak readily finds uses in cabinetry, furniture, interior trim, flooring, and veneer. Again, note that turning is not a common use for Red Oak.
Red Oak is not listed as being in any way threatened or endangered by the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendices nor does it appear on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
To the best of my knowledge, Red Oak is not subject to any special restrictions by any United States government agency.
I realize that inherent in working with wood is the killing of a part of the natural world that may be slow to return and if I become deeply concerned about this fact, I will have to find a new hobby. I hope that such a time does not come to pass or at least not any time soon. In part because I am concerned about legally and responsibly obtained wood, I am reluctant to buy from sellers outside of well-established and known vendors. I am highly unlikely, for example, to purchase any wood from auction sites, such as Ebay, because of uncertain sourcing and documentation, as well as the potential, even likelihood, of material being misidentified in order to achieve a higher selling price.