During colonial times the U.S. Navy used the oak tree’s hard wood to build its ships. The U.S.S. Constitution received its nickname, “Old Ironsides,” during the War of 1812 because its live oak hull was so tough that British war ships’ cannonballs lit erally bounced off it. Because the Constitution was built before shipbuilders learned to bend or steam wood into shape, the live oak’s long, arching branches were used as braces to connect the ship’s hull to its deck floors. Throughout the years, oak wood has been used as lumber, railroad ties, fenceposts, veneer, and fuel wood. Today it is manufactured into flooring, furniture, and crates.