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  HOME ALL ABOUT WOOD Hickory Wood


Hickory Wood

 

Hickory Wood Uses:
Hickory has been used for centuries as a wood of choice for fuel wood, and then ultimately for smoking and cooking meats of various types.

As a woodworker we are more inclined to appreciate its hardness as a wood of choice for tool handles, industrial applications and more recently as a unique wood species for home decor.

More and more hardwood flooring options, furniture and kitchen cabinets are showing up on the market to allow consumers to use hickory wood as a means to add country living charm to their home environment.


The Tree: Family:Juglandaceae, genus Carya
There are about 20 species in this deciduous genus, a dozen or so from N. America and the balance predominately in Asian. The tree is well known for its fruit, an oval nut .. a food source for human and animals alike. All hickory nuts are not created equal though, so be sure you know what species produces the palatable ones before you start munching.

Hickory trees grows quite extensively in the south west which may explain why it is the wood of choice when discussing smoking woods and curing methods as a way to add flavour to your meat.

Properties of Hickory Wood:
Hickory heartwood is tan or reddish brown with a sapwood that is white to cream. It is this extreme contrast between the heart and sapwood that makes it easy to differentiate from other wood species.

In fact today, a small number of lumber dealers are specifically sorting hickory wood into a special grade called "calico hickory" that guarantees heartwood and sapwood on both faces of each piece. It is catering to those consumers that are looking for the unique appearance of these contrasting bands of colour.

Hickory Wood can be difficult to dry in open air and does like to both warp and end crack so sealing the ends is imperative.

Weight: 27 lbs per cu.ft.

Finishing:
It's a very dry wood so not had any problems with the actually application and adhesion of various water and oil based finishes... just pay attention to the sanding.

With natural or lighter stains hickory looks quite distinctive, but with a dark walnut stain, often red oak can be used as a suitable substituted for things like hickory hardwood floor accessories, nosing steps etc.

Machining:
The hardness of hickory makes the woodworking agenda somewhat more difficult. It is harder to machine than the traditional species of oak or maple. But it is all relative and now that I have been playing with Brazilian Cherry and IPE, Hickory wood doesn't seem so tough . It is prone to end splitting so be carefully to predrill holes large enough to eliminate any unnecessary stress on the end grain.

Hickory wood does tends to raise a hair when sanding so extra time must be allocated to this particular event... it likes to go a little fuzzy. Use a quality automotive sand paper and work down the grits.



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theWoodbox.com Jan 2007