Hackberry Softwood


Hackberry wood is a versatile timber, with a wide range of uses, from furniture and joinery to cabinetmaking. It is also known by its botanical name Celtis occidentalis (Ulmacae). The sapwood of hackberry is pale yellow to greyish or greenish-yellow, and is often discoloured with blue sap stain. The heartwood is not very different from the sapwood, and is yellowish-grey to light brown, with yellow streaks. The grain of hackberry can be straight, interlocked, or irregular, and the texture is fine and uniform. It is said to resemble both ash and elm, making it a great choice for a variety of projects. Hackberry is a sustainable and legal source of timber, so if you’re looking for a unique wood to use for your project, hackberry should be at the top of your list.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Bastard Elm, Hacktre, Nettletree, Hoop Ash. Sugarberry (C. Laevigata) Is Also Referred To As Hackberry, And The Two Species Are Sold Interchangeably

Durability Notes:
Hackberry wood is non durable. It is perishable and should only be considered for internal use.

The drying and seasoning of Hackberry is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Hackberry - dries readily with minimal impact on the grade and quality of the wood. There is a chance of buckling with dry wood. Hackberry shows medium movement in service. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Hackberry is a heavy wood and shows high shock resistance but low stiffness. The wood has only medium bending strength but a good to very good steam-bending rating. Hackberry works well with both hand and machine tools, though it does have a tolerable blunting effect on tools. Hackberry, stains, oils and polishes to a good finish.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinetry, Flooring, Veneer, Musical Instruments, Scrollwork, Carving, Turnery, Boatbuilding.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)

Commonly asked questions about Hackberry Wood

Is Hackberry a hardwood or a softwood? Hackberry is a softwood. It is the same for; is Hackberry hardwood or softwood? - Hackberry is a softwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Hackberry family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is Hackberry? Hackberry can be described as light brown, white/cream (very light brown), yellow/brown

Is Hackberry good for outdoor use? or is Hackberry good for exterior use? Hackberry is most suited for internal/interior use. Hackberry should not be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

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