Everything You Need to Know About Hickory Wood: Characteristics and Uses

Hickory Wood Definition

The first type of solid wood that good for the tabletop is walnut. It has long-lasting durability. It is also strong and sturdy. 

It is not only perfect for a tabletop, but also for furniture that has complicated carves since it can make its shape lasts for a long time. 

Spending money for this type of wood is an investment because your furniture pieces won’t easily get broken.

Hickory wood has certain characteristics. It feels hard to the touch and very stiff. The density of the wood is quite high. 

This wood is also known for its excellent resistance, thanks to its structure. It is capable of repelling moisture. 

Another characteristic that defines this wood is its high energy level. These characteristics imply what this wood is often used for.

Hickory Log Identification

How can you tell if a wood log is a hickory species? Upon the first glance, you will immediately notice its distinctive bark structures. The bark surface has rough ridges formed in vertical direction. 

The ridges can be close together or far apart. When you are looking closely at the log, it should have tan colored center part. 

This center might be star shaped or having five sides. Usually, wood will have spongy part in the center but this wood certainly does not.

Common Use of Hickory Wood

This wood is commonly used in daily life for centuries. You will likely to have seen items made out of this wood in your life. 

It is used to make various equipments such as cutleries, walking sticks, and even paddles. In the past, you might have seen that most baseball bats were made out of this wood. 

So were other sport equipments. Currently, though, it has been replaced with composite materials.

The wood is also used for construction of houses. You can see it being used to create floorings and cabinetry for houses. 

Some people have even utilized hickory wood to create the frame of their houses. The versatility of this wood is mesmerizing.

What Is Hickory Wood Good For

If you want to know what this wood is good for, you have to scrutinize its characteristics. 

As stated, the wood is notorious for its toughness and resistance to shock. Those characteristics imply that it will be an enduring material. 

Thus, it is good to build furniture or even structure of a building with this type of wood.

The energy level contained in this wood is also magnificent. It is good to use the wood to fuel fire because it can produce high amount of heat without having to use many pieces at once. 

It is also known to burn for longer time period. This wood is also often used for cooking, particularly smoking meats like steaks and chicken.

Hickory Wood for Smoking

When burned, hickory emits quite unique smell. People describe it to have savory scent with underlying sweetness tone. 

The scent is often said to resemble bacon, thus people associate the burned hickory with smoked meat. 

This wood is considered a classic when it comes to smoking meat. Although it can work with any type of meat, commonly you will cook pork chops and ribs with the wood.

If you want to use it for smoking, you need to consider the equipment that you are using first. 

An offset smoker will need the wood in form of sticks or chopped logs. Meanwhile, if you are utilizing charcoal grill or electric smoker which is smaller, the wood should be in the form of chunks or chips. 

For oven user, wood planks will be the best form of fuel. Because the flavor can be a little bit intense, you can mix it with milder tone of woods like maple.

Hickory Wood Floor

For their house, some people often choose hickory wood. Compared to other hardwoods, its hardiness is nearly unmatchable. 

No matter how long you walk on top of the flooring, the wood will still maintain its integrity. It is also a great choice for flooring if the theme “rustic” is what the homeowner wants. 

You will see beautiful streaks of red and tan across the wood. It is also a favorite because the fact that you do not need to perform difficult maintenance. 

For a part of the house that is utilized often, low-maintenance quality is very important.

When you are looking for flooring made of this wood, you will be greeted by so many different choices. 

According to people who have installed the wood for the flooring, the engineered type turns out to the best option. 

It is because the wood has been treated in a manner that prevents it from warping or shrinking easily. 

Not to mention that the installation process would be easier with engineered wood.

Hickory Wood for Furniture

Other than for flooring, you will also see this wood being used to make furniture. 

As expected, the choice comes from its enduring characteristic. Not only its endurance, it is also the fact that despite its density, the wood is only mildly heavy. 

This character is great because it means that you can move furniture without difficulty.

Although you might often hear it being used to create cabinetry, the range of furniture products made out of this wood is rather vast. 

It is a favorite material for bed frame because the sturdy nature means that it can handle weight alright. 

The wood is also used to create dining tables, chairs, and even cupboards. If you are not keen on making the furniture on your own, you can actually shop for ready-made hickory wood furniture. The options are nearly limitless.

Building with Hickory Wood

It is not rare to see people arguing that the wood is a “tough nut to crack”. Some homeowners reported that they failed to turn the wood material into things that they had planned. 

It is important to have woodworking experience prior to working with the wood because in the building process, this can be quite finicky.

You need to utilize highly sharpened tool made to deal with tough hardwood. This will ensure that you can create cuts as necessary because dull tool will not fare well due to the wood’s density, not to mention that it can be dangerous to the woodworker. 

The woodworking process also takes considerable amount of time. When dealing with wavy grains, you have to cut the wood lightly so it will not lose the integrity. 

If you are ripping the wood, you also need to do it very slowly. The blade should be cleaned of the saw dust because if not, you will not be able to get clean rips.

When you are using glue to build items with hickory wood, you should use adhesive product that requires longer time to dry up. 

To do the gluing, you need to lightly coat the surfaces with glue then assemble them for brief moment before pulling apart. 

After that, the glue needs to be partially dried up before you can do the final assemble. This is why the process of building with this wood will take a very long time.

Best Finish for Hickory

You have to understand that the finishing means to enhance the already presented beauty of this wood. 

The finishing also has more important aim which is to protect the wood from external stress so that the product made out of it can last for longer time. 

It is important to note that staining hickory wood is usually not a recommended practice. 

The results of staining will look uneven because of its structure that can be soft at certain spots and tough in others.

Instead of staining, it is highly recommended to opt for clear varnish coating. Such finish will accentuate the wood’s beautiful grains by giving them sheen. 

Not only that, the coating can actually protect the wood from scratches. Before varnishing the wood, it has to go through multiple sanding and cleaning stages. 

To complete the finishing process, you may require more than a day.

What Wood Pairs Well With Hickory

To find wood that can be paired well with it, you must consider the characteristics. The more similar the characters are, the more harmonious the pairing would be. 

It is because the woods will work in similar manner more or less. Maple, oak, and mesquite are among the best pairs of this wood. 

They are all hardy and suitable to rustic style that hickory is often used for. If you want to build a house and includes those woods altogether, the result would be spectacular.

Where to Purchase Hickory?

You should shop the wood in a place that fulfills your need. As an example, you want to purchase ready to use items. 

You can look for stores that sell high quality furniture or house building items. However, if you want to make everything on your own, then you have to look for lumbers that can sell you logs. 

Whatever your choice is, you have to see where the sellers resource their materials. It will be better to choose sellers that care about sustainability of the woods. 

There is a certification for sellers that resource their materials in ethical manner, so you have to look out for that.