Your Guide to the Diverse Types of Hickory Wood

different types of hickory wood

It is a popular hardwood procured from the deciduous trees of the Carya genus. There are many types of hickory hardwood, of which Shagbark is the most common and popular.

Hickory is a deciduous tree indigenous to the Eastern United States. The hardwood has an average dried weight of 50 lbs/ft3 and a Janka Hardness rating of around 1,880 lbf. While the heartwood is light to medium brown with a reddish hue, the sapwood is a paler yellowish-brown color.

It’s a non-durable timber in terms of resistance to decay and insects. It is generally easy to work with and responds well to glues, stains, and finishes. Common uses include firewood, tool handles, ladder rungs, wheel spokes, and flooring.

In this blog, we will unravel the distinctive characteristics that make each variety of hickory unique. From Pecan to Shagbark, let us explore the fascinating qualities that sets it apart in the world of woodworking.

Different Types of Hickory Wood

There are about 12 species of Hickory, most of which are found in North America, while others are native to India, Canada and China, among other regions.

1. Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovate)

Shagbark is primarily used for crafting beautiful flooring and furniture. The durable hardwood comes in diverse color options and offers a cost-effective alternative to premium hardwoods. Native to the Eastern United States, the heartwood of Shagbark is light to medium reddish brown, while the sapwood is pale yellowish-brown. It is prized for its timeless and versatile aesthetic particularly useful in interior design projects. Notable for its durability and hardness, Shagbark is resistant to scratches and shock. The slow-growing trees produce limited wood over time.

2. Water Hickory (Carya aquatica)

Native to the Southeastern United States, it is a hardwood with an average dried weight of 43 lbs/ft3 and a Janka Hardness of 1,550 lbf. Its heartwood, light to medium reddish brown, features a straight or occasionally wavy grain and a medium texture. It’s mostly non-durable against decay and insects, Water Hickory is mainly used for making tool handles, ladder rungs, wheel spokes, and flooring. Workability can be challenging but it responds well to bending and finishing. The price ranges between low and moderate, depending on availability.

3. Shellbark Hickory (Carya laciniosa)

Shellbark, commonly referred to as Kingnut Hickory, is a deciduous hardwood native to eastern North America. Featuring a light to medium brown color with a straight grain, this wood is not as durable as some other hickory species but its hardness, flexibility, and shock resistance fully compensate for it, making it a preferred choice for tool handles and flooring. Shellbark is prone to challenges such as limited availability and difficulties in woodworking but is still one of the topic choices of utility timber around the world, especially in the United States.

4. Mockernut Hickory (Carya tomentosa)

Native to eastern North America, Mockernut is famous as a hardwood of outstanding strength and is also known for its attractive appearance. Primarily used for building impact-resistant tool handles, the timber is prone to damage by insects and decay, making it unsuitable for outdoor applications. The light to medium brown heartwood with occasional reddish or yellowish hues and straight grain is recognized for its strength and distinctive grain patterns. Availability can sometimes be a challenge and it can be difficult to work with. The pricing ranges between low and moderate. It is commonly used in furniture, flooring, and other interior projects.

5. Nutmeg Hickory (Carya myristiciformis)

Nutmeg, also called Swamp, is sourced from the southeastern United States. A type of pecan hickory, the heartwood color ranges from light to medium brown and has a straight or wavy grain. This hardwood is almost non-durable and is favored for indoor applications such as furniture and flooring. Its resistance to shock makes it suitable for tool handles. Its unique grain patterns contribute to Nutmeg’s unique appeal. Limited availability and difficulty in working are common prons. When considering Nutmeg Hickory, one must weigh its advantages of sturdiness, strength, stability and distinctive aesthetics against potential drawbacks related to availability and workability.

6. Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra)

Pignut is a type of true hickory and is known for its exceptional hardness and density. Its high stability and resistance to wear and tear make Pignut a suitable choice for scratch-resistant flooring. Originating from the Eastern United States, its color ranges from light to dark brown, giving rustic accents to furniture and other applications where it is used. The durable timber is scratch-resistant and features an appealing appearance. However, it can be challenging to find in some regions and workability can be a problem. Common applications include tool handles, flooring, and furniture.

7. Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis)

Belonging to the pecan-hickory group, Bitternut is native to the Eastern United States and was traditionally used for making bows, tool handles, furniture, paneling, and also for smoking meat (due to the sweet aroma it makes while burning). Bitternut wood typically has a dark brown heartwood but can also be light brown. Top advantages include stability, flexibility, and good response to bending. It can be, however, difficult to work with and accessibility can be an issue in some areas.

8. Pecan Hickory (Carya illinoinensis)

Obtained from the large deciduous pecan tree, pecan timber holds a special place in the domain of woodworking. Native to the southern United States, pecan trees are primarily cultivated for their flavorful nuts. The wood obtained from this tree is commonly used for crafting tool handles, ladder rungs, sporting goods, drumsticks, flooring, and golf club shafts. Top features of pecan timber include durability, an aesthetically pleasing appearance, and affordability compared to other hardwoods.

9. Scrub Hickory (Carya floridana)

Scrub wood, found in the Southeastern United States, is a utility hardwood that features a unique blend of light to medium brown reddish color with a rustic grace. The grain pattern varies from straight to sometimes wavy, adding character to its appearance. Despite being less commonly available, Scrub Hickory is prized for its stability and strength and finds application in various woodworking projects, ranging from furniture and flooring to tool handles.

10. Red Hickory (Carya ovalis)

Red Hickory is native to the Eastern United States and has a pale reddish-brown heartwood with red tones, creating a visually striking appearance. The grain pattern is usually straight and the texture is fine. Renowned for its stability and strength, Red Hickory is a preferred choice for various interior woodworking applications, including tool handles and flooring. With a notable Janka Hardness, it ensures both resilience and good workability.

11. Sand Hickory (Carya pallid)

This hardwood exhibits a light to medium brown hue with a grain that is typically straight, coupled with a medium texture. Renowned for its strength and flexibility, Sand Hickory finds its place in various applications, from tool handles and furniture to flooring. With a moderate Janka Hardness, it strikes a perfect balance between strength and workability, making it suitable for many utility woodworking projects.

12. Black Hickory (Carya texana)

With its rich, dark elegance it is sourced from the Southern United States. Its heartwood color ranges from deep brown to nearly black and the grain is typically straight, accompanied by a fine texture. With a good Janka rating, Black Hickory is both strong and easy to work with. Its applications range from flooring and furniture to tool handles, showcasing versatility.

How To Buy Major Hickory Wood Types Online?

Buy premium quality hickory wood and timber online from our website. Contact Cameroon Timber Export Sarl to enquire about pricing and availability. As a top exporter of timber, we ship our wood and products to many countries across Asia, Europe, Australia, America, the UK, and the Middle East.