Hickory is a hardwood species that belongs to the Juglandaceae family, with the scientific name Carya spp. It is known for its strength and versatility, and is highly sought after for a variety of uses. Hickory has a unique grain pattern which is usually straight, but can also be wavy or irregular. It has a coarse texture and a medium gloss. The sapwood is pale in color and is commonly referred to as 'white hickory', while the heartwood is reddish-brown and is referred to as 'red hickory'.
Hickory is a popular choice for tool handles, tools, furniture and more. It is renowned for its strength and durability, making it an ideal choice for applications that require strength and longevity. Hickory is available from sustainable and legal sources and can be easily sourced from a variety of suppliers.
Pignut Hickory (C. Glabra), Shellbark Hickory (C. Laciniosa), Mockernut Hickory (C. Tomentosa), Shagbark Hickory, Scalybark Hickory (C. Ovata)
Hickory wood has some durability but is considered non durable and not suited for exterior applications
The drying and seasoning of Hickory 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; Hickory - dries fairly quickly and this must be managed with care. High shrinkage, twisting and warping can be a problem. Hickory shows high stability 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.
Hickory is very dense and has high crushing, stiffness, bending and toughness qualities. Hickory has exceptionally good shock resistance and good steam-bending properties. The wood is quite challenging to work, especially with hand tools and has a tolerable to severe blunting effect on cutting edges. Hickory sands, turns, stains, oils and polishes well.
Furniture, Flooring, Cabinetry, Tool Handles, Firewood, Smoking Wood, Drum Sticks, Baseball Bats.
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)
Commonly asked questions about Hickory Wood
Is Hickory a hardwood or a softwood? Hickory is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Hickory hardwood or softwood? - Hickory is a hardwood.
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 Hickory 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 Hickory? Hickory can be described as brown, light brown, yellow/brown
Is Hickory good for outdoor use? or is Hickory good for exterior use? Hickory is most suited for internal/interior use. Hickory 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