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Hickory

Hickory wood resembles Ash but has a reddish-brown heartwood. When appearance is important, the white sapwood is often preferred to the reddish heartwood. Hickory is a ring porous wood, meaning that the pores of the spring wood form a well-defined ring. It is believed that the strongest woods are those that of wide ringed trees.


Properties:

  • Wood is heavy and strong, however it shrinks during drying
  • It is dense with high toughness, bending, stiffness and crushing strengths and exceptional shock resistance.
  • It can be difficult to machine and has a moderate blunting effect on tools
  • Experts recommend a 20-degree cutting angle when irregular grained wood is used
  • Stains and finishes very well
Thicknesses

Subject to availability

4/4
5/4
6/4
7/4
8/4
9/4
10/4
12/4
16/4
20/4
1/2"
3/4"
1"

Distribution

Eastern United States

Scientific Name

Carya ovata

Specific Gravity: Basic

0.64

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

0.8

Janka Hardness

1880

Colour/Appearance

Heartwood tends to be light to medium brown, with a reddish hue; sapwood is a paler yellowish brown. Boards with contrasting heartwood and sapwood create a somewhat rustic appearance that's sometimes marketed as Calico Hickory.

Grain/Texture

Grain is usually straight, though occasionally wavy, with a medium texture.

Endgrain

Ring-porous; large to very large earlywood pores in a single intermittent row, medium to small latewood pores solitary and radial multiples of 2-3, few; tyloses common; parenchyma reticulate (bands absent from earlywood row in true hickory group, but present in pecan hickory group); narrow rays, close spacing.

Rot Resistance

Considered to be non-durable to perishable regarding heartwood decay, and also very susceptible to insect attack.

Workability

Difficult to work, with tearout being common during machining operations if cutting edges are not kept sharp; the wood tends to blunt cutting edges. Glues, stains, and finishes well. Responds well to steam bending.

Odor

No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity

Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Shagbark Hickory.

Pricing/Availability

Various species of Hickory and Pecan (Carya genus) are typically mixed together and simply sold as Hickory. Prices are usually in the low to mid range, depending upon local availability. Hickory prices should compare similarly to other utility hardwoods such as Red Oak or Soft Maple.

Sustainability

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
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