An attractive 19th century oak refectory table, the four supports formed by a quadruple cluster column, well carved and resting on sledge bases.
Oak wood has a great density, great strength and hardness, and is very resistant to insect and fungal attack because of its high tannin content. It also has very appealing grain markings, particularly when quarter sawn. Oak planking was common on high status Viking long ships in the 9th and 10th centuries. The wood was hewn from green logs, by axe and wedge, to produce radial planks, similar to quarter-sawn timber. Wide, quarter-sawn boards of oak have been prized since the Middle Ages for use in interior panelling of prestigious buildings such as the debating chamber of the House of Commons in London and in the construction of fine furniture. Oak wood, from Quercus robur and Quercus petraea, was used in Europe for the construction of ships, especially naval men of war, until the 19th century, and was the principal timber used in the construction of European timber-framed buildings.