We’ve run into quite the debate online between self proclaimed “Old Timer” woodworkers and people newer to the craft, on what exactly is Roasted Oak.
Everyone is familiar with the term “Toasted Oak” which is commonly associated with Whiskey and Wine barrel production.
Here at Todd Alan Woodcraft we tend to use a lot of Roasted Oak in many of our serving and charcuterie boards. We’ve found roasted oak has many different cool colors and really unique characteristics.
With that in mind, we set ourselves on a mission to sort through digital mess and see what we can figure out through the vast amounts of conflicting information, that always seems to be readily available on an internet search.
At the beginning, one word we noticed popping up over and over was “torrified wood,” or the process of torrefaction. According to dictionary.com Torridied means, "subject to fire or intense heat; parch, roast, or scorch.” Some people were wrongly using the word “Char” and not understanding that charring is a whole different animal when it comes to the topic at hand. This isn’t Charred Oak.
Well awesome! That helps narrow things down (with a hint of sarcasm). In many forums, most everyone basically agreed Torridied also referred to wood being “roasted” and/or “toasted” of which both those sound better than “torrified wood.”
Imagine trying to sell a “Maple and Torrified Oak” board. First off, it doesn’t sound that appealing, and Secondly- it sounds like someone scared the poor tree before taking it down.
Still not getting a clear answer, we headed back to a variety of online wood forums and dove right back into our research.
After 3 days of scouring over 20 different pages, groups and forums- here is what we’ve been able to put together for oak.
Toasted oak = a high temperature for a short amount of time
Roasted oak = a lower temperature for a longer amount of time
So basically, SIMILAR RESULTS in the wood just a different process. Its the heating process that ends up changing the woods color, to a darker reddish / brown color by releasing tannins in the wood and also changes the scent of the wood- to something like a combination of burnt cookies, nougat, light roast coffee and oak (Just a note: If your oak scrap is untreated chemically, it makes amazing wood to smoke meat with as we’ve found out).
The oak almost looks like it has been stained, and almost takes on a medium dark Walnut color, if we were to give a close example in coloration.
There you have it!
Toasted and Roasted are very close to being the same wood, just through a different heating process. Of course there are more complicated details to the process. but we’re not going to get into all the chemical and structural changes in the wood through the two different processes. That’s for you to do, we don’t want to take the fun out of it for you by providing everything! Dig in yourself! You might actually find roasted/toasted oak interesting.
Either way if you continue the research or not, we hope you learned something, as we know we did doing the research for this blog. Do not try roasting or toasting your own wood at home. It’s a highly flammable process and if not done right, can be very dangerous.
If your local hardwood store ends up having some roasted oak come in, pick up a stick and play around with it- be creative- you never know, you might end up loving it as much as we at Todd Alan Woodcraft do!