Species of the Week: Hickory

Our Species of the Week is Hickory!

American hickory and pecan are different species of a very diverse group, but in the round (log) they are virtually indistinguishable from each other and therefore often processed by saw mills and sold mixed together.

The wood of hickory varies greatly in colour, grain pattern and appearance from this very diverse group. It is fine textured and the grain is usually straight but can be wavy or irregular. The sapwood is white and maybe tinged with brown, while the heartwood is pale to yellow brown to dark in colour. Deep purple mineral streaks are a natural characteristic. Bird pecks are also a common characteristic and neither is considered a defect.

Furniture, cabinetry, ladders, striking tool handles dowels and sporting goods. Traditionally used by wheelwrights and for making drumsticks. The hardwearing properties of hickory make it an excellent choice for flooring, especially in situations of high traffic use. Historically the first wooden golf club shafts were made from hickory, and NHLA lumber graders still use the traditional flexible hickory measuring stick.

Hickory is considered difficult to machine and glue, and very hard to work with hand tools. It will hold nails and screws well but tends to split so pre-boring is advised. The wood can be sanded and polished to a good finish. It can be difficult to dry and has large shrinkage, which may affect stability under variable moisture conditions and in wider width material.

The wood is non-resistant to heartwood decay and classed as moderately resistant to preservative treatment.

The wood of hickories is rather coarse and varies from strong to less strong but is heavy and very hard. It has good bending strength, shock resistance and excellent steam bending properties.

The hickories are an important group and the trees grow naturally throughout the Eastern U.S., from north to south. They are split into two groups; the more important true hickories and hickories producing pecan nuts, the latter being an important fruit-bearing tree. Trees vary in size enormously. Often referred to as pecan in the South.

*All information has been pulled from americanhardwood.org.

Images:

Tamilo Dining Room Table by Ashley Furniture.

Vaughan-Bassett Hamilton/Franklin Chest with 5 Drawers.

Pic Credit: furnops.com.

Vaughan-Bassett Bonanza King Bedroom Group.

Pic Credit: wayside-furniture.com.


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