Among all the woods from northern Europe, oak has probably been of the biggest historical, architectural and cultural interest. The oldest known oak trees can be over 800 years old but they usually grow around 300 years of age. Oak has been proven as a reliable building material still supporting some buildings in Germany as old as 9000 years.
Oak is fairly hard, heavy and dense. It is slightly heavier to work with if hand tools are used. The color of the oak is mostly light to medium brown. There is also a medium distinguishing between hard and sapwood. Grain patterns, although mostly straight, still create attractive figures.
If the finishing is done with natural oils, it enhances the grain pattern. The color can be darkened with certain wax, or made lighter by a whitewash. If you like a neutral strong wood that has no outspoken figuring nor much color misbalances, oak is certainly the best choice to go for.