Hickory Lumber

Botanical Name: Carya spp.

Family: Juglandaceae

Other Common Names: N/A

Uses: Baseball bats, Cabinetmaking, Decorative veneer, Dining-room furniture, Fine furniture, Flooring, Furniture, Furniture components, Handles, Skis, Sporting Goods, Tool handles, Veneer.

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Distribution: The growth range of Hickory in North America is reported to include south eastern Canada and eastern United States. It is reported to occur from the southern tip of Ontario to Massachusetts, south to northern Florida, west to eastern Texas, and north to southeastern Iowa. It grows at elevations of up to 3000 feet (914 m) in the southern Appalachians, and prefers moist uplands and, less frequently, flood plains. It is usually found in mixed stands with Oaks, and may also be found in association with Pines.

General Characteristics: The tree is reported to produce nuts and leaves which are aromatic when crushed. Boles are straight, well-formed, and clear of branches for about half the height of the mature tree. Mature tree height is reported to be 50 to 80 feet (15 to 24 m), with a trunk diameter of about 24 inches (60 cm). The heartwood is brown or reddish-brown and is marketed under the name of Red hickory; the often wide sapwood is very pale in color and is clearly demarcated from the heartwood. It is usually sold separately as White hickory. The wood is generally coarse-textured; grain is reported to be often straight, but may be wavy or irregular. There is no characteristic odor or taste.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.66; air-dry density N/A

Working Properties: Narrow bandsawing is reported to be satisfactory. Hickory is reported to be generally difficult to machine. Material containing interlocked grain requires a reduced cutting angle of 20 degrees in planing operations. Turning properties are rated as fairly good. The wood is reported to have excellent boring qualities. Mortising characteristics are rated as very good. Hickory is reported to be rather difficult to glue. Pre-boring is recommended in nailing. Polishing characteristics are reported to be good. The wood is reported to take stains well. Hickory is reported to be highly suitable for steam bending applications because of a combination of high bending and crushing strengths, high stiffness, and very high resistance to shock loads.

Durability: The wood is reported to have very little resistance to decay. Standing trees and logs are reported to be susceptible to attack by forest longhorn or Buprestid beetles, and the sapwood is vulnerable to attack by powder-post beetles.

Preservation: The wood is moderately resistant to preservative treatment.

Mechanical Properties

(2-cm standard)

Bending Strength:

Green: 9,800 psi
Dry: 13,700 psi

Modules of Elasticity:

Green: N/A
Dry: N/A

Maximum Crushing Strength:

Green: 3,990 psi<br>
Dry: 7,850 psi

Drying and Shrinkage:

The material is reported to dry fairly easily and rapidly, although it requires care because of fairly high shrinkage. Slow drying with poor air circulation may cause chemical sapwood stains. End checks and hairline splits may also occur. Kiln Schedule T8-D3 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T6-D1 for 8/4. The timber is reported to have high dimensional stability, and holds its place well in use.

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