White oak is the premiere American hardwood
and especially Indiana species. Being strong and naturally durable,
it was used for at least the bottom logs in cabins and also for shingles.
Subsequently, large quantities of the species was used to build wagon wheels
and wagons to carry the pioneers west. For the same reasons of durability
and strength, the railroads used white oak to build their lines west.
Farmers split it for rails and posts. The brewing industry uses it
for tight cooperage. Quartered white oak was a major product of Indiana
forests at the turn of the century. This one species and product figured
substantially in the development of hardwood trade associations and grading
Today white oak is the premiere export species to Europe and Asia.
Domestically it is used for furniture, paneling and millwork and other cabinetmaking
related activities. It also remains the only native hardwood available
in large quantities that is naturally durable.