IS HICKORY GOOD WOOD TO WORK WITH?

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I have a friend who had a hickory tree fall from the hurricane and he said I could have all of it I want. I have someone who can kiln dry it for me, question is..is it worth the effort and expense towork with?
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I managed to butcher a couple of bf of hickory trying to fix up an old bookcase .. and cussed the whole time. The stuff I had was not really cutter friendly ... AAMOF, if you relish climb cutting with a router, hickory is for you. It is indeed beautiful wood once you get it finished ... but in my case, I think I'll stick to cooking steaks with it in the future.
If you enjoy the challenge of working with a wood that requires the sharpest of sharp, I'd say go for it.
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Swingman responds:

And he's right. Tough, stringy, hard to dry properly. But looks great when you get done.
Charlie Self
"Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. " Adlai E. Stevenson
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Ayup...that about sums it up. Sure looking forward to trying another project with it though (sucker for punishment I guess)
Rob

sharpest
you
and
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I think it's worth the effort. It's a nice looking wood and seems plenty tough.
On Fri, 19 Sep 2003 23:59:50 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Sure. Good hard wood for building stuff and you can smoke what you kill with the scraps. It is a bit hard on tools though.
Wes
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snipped-for-privacy@lycos.com wrote:

I wouldn't advise hunting bear with hickory scraps though. ;-)
Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA
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I have made a couple thresholds for my kitchen/front hall and kitchen/dining room from Hickory.
It is better working than hard maple. It seemed to work (rip cut, cross cut, bevel rip cut, and plane) pretty well in my opinion - as opposed to the other person.
It is very hard so it is good for wear application; and it has a great grain pattern - it has lots of character.

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Would agree here..... I tend to use Hickory for martial arts weapons that I get talked into making every now and again. Takes abuse well and runs through my TS pretty well. In my opinion it is easier to sand smooth than oak is as the grain is not as open (by hand anyway). This is a very hard wood and you will need to watch for splits/cracks in the grain. Make sure you use sharp blades. Beautiful when you only use tung oil.
If I had the opportunity for the wood I would certainly take it......
Just my 2cents worth, Bill
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On Fri, 19 Sep 2003 23:59:50 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

What are you asking ? "Is it good to work with ?" or "Is it worth working with ?"
IM (limited) E, hickory is unpleasant to work with. But it's strong and not unattractive, so it has its uses. Tool handles, beams for model siege engines (I'm sure I'm not the only one who makes these). For furniture making, it's extremely useful for making thin spindles for chair backs, as you can make a usably strong spinlde that's thinner than one in ash.
So yes, I'd save it and dry it.
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wrote:

yes Hickory is hard and it does indeed require sharp tools to work, but well worth the trouble. The cabinet shop I worked in doing my apprenticeship built many a hickory set of kitchen cabinets. We charged 20% more than an oak kitchen to offset the extra sharpening and the wear and tear on the tools. The stair case here at the school is made with hickory treads, hard and beautiful. Mike from American Sycamore
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On 20 Sep 2003 09:19:03 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@ccrtc.com (Mike at American Sycamore) wrote:

So what does it look like ? I can see some mechanical cases for using hickory, but not yet an aesthetic one.
Anyone got any nice pics of hickory looking like "beautiful hickory" ?
-- Blind drunk - Please ignore all postings I make, until I sober up enough to notice the .sig file that has been attached to them. Thank you.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

These don't look too bad:
http://www.custombuilderssupply.com/hickory_cabinets.htm
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA
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-- Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome

My family room floor is hickory with a cherry spice stain. I don't have picture of it at the moment though. Nice grain to it and can vary enough to make it interesting.
The kitchen floor in Dan's house is hickory. http://www.velvitoil.com/House.HTML
Not hickory, but if you want to se other floors they have done, look at these: http://www.velvitoil.com/Floors.htm
A couple are of customer's floors, but some are also in Dan's house. He does the design, his wife Barbara runs the sawmill and does the flooring.
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I say that Hickory isn't as bad as I originally thought. Yes it is tough. I cut it with only a B&D carbide blade and a 1 hp contractors saw which got bogged down only if I pushed too fast. Looks like White oak but works more like ash. Very stringy in the nature of shavings. I wouldn't breath the dust either (because I did and suffered). Very rough chips. It has large shrinkage while drying and almost always checks a few inches on either end. But it is quite stable after drying. The stuff I have has gone from a white color to a nice reddish color. It is one of those woods that has to be worked with to totally appreciate.
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Young Carpenter

"Violin playing and Woodworking are similar, it takes plenty of money,
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I seem to recall recently reading an article that that nice reddish color in hickory will fade in light. Point being that if one had any nice figure/colored hickory to use it on the inside of cabinets.
Renata
On Sun, 21 Sep 2003 13:42:12 -0400, "Young Carpenter"

(no stain for email)
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I am using it for shelves on the inside of a cabinet.
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Young Carpenter

"Violin playing and Woodworking are similar, it takes plenty of money,
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

The American Hardwood Association has Hickory and Pecan listed as the same wood and for all woodworking purposes they are the same. Hickory is open pored like Oak but doesn't have as pronounced a cathedral grain pattern as Oak or Ash. IME It is harder than Red Oak, but softer than Birch, it tools and finishes well. That being said, I don't know how many species of Hickory there are. So it may well be that your log isn't the same as the Hickory/Pecan I buy at the lumber yard. Dean
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<snip>

Well, you seem to have worked very soft hickory and hard birch!
Hickory is hard as hell, I believe it's rated as the second hardest domestic US wood, after hard/sugar maple.
I've been working with birch from NH for a while now, and it is not that hard at all. Nothing like hickory!
I made a smallish cabinet from hickory. It was OK to work with, you have to keep in mind it's just plain a hard wood.
I guess there's variation in every tree.
James snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com http:.. snipped-for-privacy@breck.org
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brocpuff responds:

Hickory is harder than maple.

Birch shouldn't be harder than hickory, but it sounded like the OP was working some kind of pecan, instead of true hickory: both are Carya, but the true hickories (shagbark, shellbark, mockernut, pignut) are considerably harder with shagbark and shellbark the hardest.

Pretty, though. Sharp tools help a lot.
Charlie Self
"Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft." Theodore Roosevelt
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