Common throughout the northern and middle states and Canada, the red oak attains a large size only on good soils; the wood is of little value, being coarse and porous, but it is largely used for cask-staves; the bark is a valuable tanning material.
The barrels employed in the transport of petroleum products are made of well-seasoned white-oak staves bound by six or eight iron hoops.
They are coated internally with glue, and painted in the well-known colours, blue staves and white heads.
As regards the development of the form of the pastoral staff, there are four principal types: (I) staves with a simple crook, the oldest form, which survived in Ireland until the 12th century; (2) staves with a ball or knob at the top, a rare form which did not long survive as a pastoral staff; (3) staves with a horizontal crook, so-called Tau-staves, used especially by abbots and surviving until the 13th century; (4) staves with crook bent inwards.
These last already appear in miniatures of the 9th century; from the II th onwards they predominated; and in the 13th century they ousted all other forms. Originally plain, the crook was from the lath century onwards often made in the form of a snake (5), which in richer staves encircled the Lamb of God or the representation of a figure.