American hickory & pecan

Carya spp.

American hickory

General Description

The hickories are an important group within the eastern hardwood forests. Botanically, they are split into two groups; the true hickories, and the pecan hickories (fruit bearing). The wood is virtually the same for both and is usually sold together. The sapwood of hickory and pecan is white, tinged with brown while the heartwood is pale to reddish brown. Both are coarse textured and the grain is usually straight but can be wavy or irregular.

Other Common names

Distribution & Availability

Eastern USA, principal commercial areas are the Central and Southern states. Readily available, but more limited if sold selected for colour as either red or white hickory or pecan. For export, lumber may be limited in the higher grades and available mainly in thinner stock.

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Physical & Mechanical Properties

The density and strength of the hickories will vary according to the rate of growth, with the true hickories generally showing higher values than the pecan hickories. The wood is well known for its very good strength and shock resistance and it also has excellent steam bending properties.

American hickory & pecan - Physical & Mechanical Properties

Specific Gravity (12% M.C.):
Hickory
0.75
Pecan
0.66
Average Weight (12% M.C.):
Hickory833 kg/m3
Pecan
737 kg/m3
Average Volume Shrinkage (Green to 6% M.C.):
Hickory14.3%
Pecan
N/A
Modulus of Rupture:
Hickory138.590 MPa
Pecan
94.462 MPa
Modulus of Elasticity:
Hickory15,583 MPa
Pecan
11,928 MPa
Compressive strength (parallel to grain):

Hickory 63.365 MPa
Pecan
54.126 MPa
Hardness:
HickoryN/A
Pecan
8095 N
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View Working Properties

Working Properties

The hickories are considered difficult to machine and glue, and are very hard to work with hand tools, so care is needed. They hold nails and screws well, but there is a tendency to split so pre-boring is advised. The wood can be sanded and polished to a good finish. It can be difficult to dry and has a large shrinkage, which may affect stability under variable moisture conditions.

American hickory & pecan - Working Properties

SawingFair
PlaningGood
DrillingFair
BoringGood
TurningGood
Carving
Fair
Moulding
Fair
Nailing
Good
Screwing
Good
Gluing
Fair
Finishing
Excellent
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View Main Uses

Main Uses

Tool handles, furniture, cabinetry, flooring, wooden ladders, dowels and sporting goods. Hickory is increasingly being exported for flooring, for its attractive rustic look and hardwearing properties.

American hickory & pecan - Main Uses

Doors
Flooring
Furniture
Joinery
Kitchen cabinets
Mouldings and
turnings

Veneered panels

Sports goods
Tool handles
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Other Information

Typically referred to as hickory in the North and pecan in the South of the USA. Bird pecks are a common characteristic and are not considered as defects. Deep purple mineral streaks are also a natural characteristic and are not considered as defects. The FAS lumber grade permits a minimum width of 4 inches (101.6mm).

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