The Mercian red oak is a broad tree with dark grey, horny bark and large, five loped dark green leaves. It is easily distinguished by its blood red inner wood.
Mercian red oak is highly prized because of the deep blood colored resin that permeates the woody interior of the tree. This resin soaked wood is impervious to the dreaded hull worm and ships made of this wood are immuned to such parasitic infestation. Typically, only the hull is fashioned from red oak. When funds are tight, a ship owner will sometimes build the hull from standard lumber and put one layer of red oak planks on top as a skin for the hull to keep the hull worms at bay.
Red oak is typically three to four times as expensive as "normal" lumber. Most of the ships in the royal Mercian navy have their hulls fashioned from this wood.
This website was last updated January 6, 2018. Copyright 1990-2018 David M. Roomes.