Heartwood is light brown. Some boards may have a pinkish tint or a slight grayish cast. Sapwood is white to cream.
Open, with longer rays than red oak. Occasional crotches, swirls and birls. Plainsawn boards have a plumed or flared grain appearance. Riftsawn has a tighter grain pattern, low figuring. Quarersawn has a flake pattern, sometimes called tiger rays or butterflies.
Considerable variation among boards in color and grain texture, but variations not as pronounced as in red oak.
During the finishing process, tannins at the surface can react with some liquids to turn the wood green or brown. This effect tends to be more pronounced with products that have a high water content, such as wood bleach and water-based finishes. Stains very well and accepts stain evenly.