French Oak is from managed forests with sustainable logging practices that began over 300 years ago.
The result is the ability to harvest mature lumber while still paying strict attention to the ecology and future generations as only the French can.
Timber that is processed in France is separated into four sections according to its usage.
1. The “Barrel Cut”: the base of the tree, known as the A-section is used for barrels
2 & 3. The “Parquet Cut”: the middle of the tree, are used for joinery or flooring
4. D-section is used for external applications, such as railway sleepers.
French Oak is processed and graded using strict guidelines by FNB, which manages many of the saw millers in France, they have very clear grading rules and methods for drying. Many products made with French Oak have single origin material, which guarantees consistency and the quality of the finished product.
There are a few distinct qualities that set French Oak apart from European Oak as well as Oaks from America and China. One inherent difference is that the tannin content is much higher in French Oak than all other oaks. Tannin allows for different tones and colors that cannot be found in other oak. As well, a tighter grain structure produces a more dense timber that is suitable for flooring and more stable in harsher climates.
European Oak comes from any Oak tree, anywhere in Europe. The age and species of the Oak does not matter, as long as it is an Oak from Europe. The source of this timber is not regulated, meaning that the age of trees, species and parts of the trees used are not controlled. The processing and grading regulations for European Oak differ between countries, however many countries that manufacture using this Oak purchase their material from a variety of suppliers. The end result is a mixed source in the finished product.
What does "CERTIFIED FRENCH OAK" mean?
French Oak must be one of two commercially sourced trees from France that have been obtained through approved purchase methods. Saw millers cannot go into the forest and cut down trees without having purchased tress and agreeing to replant removed trees.
The cost of Oak throughout Europe is relatively the same, the difference in price is the value added through replanting, selected logging practices and raw log processing requirements. Many Eastern European countries do not have these which results in the finished product being substantially cheaper.
French Oak is obtained from France, and transported with correct chain of custody documents which declare country of harvest, species and origin.