Hickory Lumber Guide: Characteristics, Pricing, and More

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Looking for good lumber as the framework for your next wood project can be challenging. While many wood species are available today, hickory lumber may be the perfect timber for your project. 

Hickory is a popular option among woodworkers for very good reasons. If you want to know all its characteristics, prices, and more, here’s a handy guide from our wood experts!  

Hickory Wood Characteristics at a Glance

What is Hickory?

This wood is acquired from the hickory tree–commonly found thriving in temperate rainforests. This lumber is popular among craftsmen for its unique characteristics. 

Hickory wood

The combination of strength and straight grain makes it a good choice among different types of lumber. It’s also popular due to its thick, dense, and resistance to shock. This wood can be used in several products and projects, whether it involves applying stains in wet conditions.   

Appearance: Color and Odor

Generally, its colors range from reddish hue to reddish brown to white. But its sapwood has a darker color. 

Its sapwood, indigent to the temperate region, results to clear aging rings found in its trunk. There is no odor from this type of wood. 

Wood Texture and Grain Pattern

Hickory is a straight-grain wood, commonly linear and occasionally wavy, with a certain texture. Furthermore, hickory trees have growth rings that have pores in the earlywood and latewood portions found on each ring. 


The ring is porous with large pores found in the earlywood in an intermittent row. The wood is also characterized to have medium to small pores found in the latewood pores, with solitary and radial pores in multiples of 2-3. In fact, tyloses are common in this wood. 

Hickory grain pattern

This specie has parenchyma reticulate bands absent from the earlywood row for the true hickory group. However, these bands are present in the pecan hickory group. 

Workability and Mechanical Properties

In terms of workability, Hickory is particularly challenging to work with, unlike walnut. If your cutting machinery isn’t maintained sharp, expect your sawn hickory to tear out. It has the tendency to be blunt at the cutting edges. But, hickory is popular for steam bending [1

Durability and Rot-Resistance

This lumber is known to be non-durable to perishable with regard to heartwood decay and is also highly susceptible to insect attack.

Wood Toxicity

There are no health risks and reactions associated with Hickory timber other than the risks associated with its dust.  


This specie is not listed under the CITES Appendices or the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 

milling Hickory lumber

Related Tree Varieties and Species

Related tree varieties and species include the following:

Uses & Seasonings

It is commonly used in different projects for commercial and home use. Wood from Hickory trees is used in wheel spokes, flooring, tennis racquets, and ladder rungs. 

Hickory dining room furniture

Hickory Pricing

You can easily gain access to hickory in the market. If you have permission to purchase Shagbark hickory, you can easily order it online and get it in the mail. Some wood can be on sale, so it is best to look for it. Take a look at the top places to buy lumber in this article!

Wood type


Figure Type




Length range

Width range

Estimated price per BF



Natural Hickory

#1COM or better

Straight grain


4” to 10”

5.99 USD

Images of Genuine Hickory

Here are some photographs to help you distinguish genuine Hickory visually.

Hickory logs
milling Hickory
slab of Hickory wood


Why hickory wood is popular?

Hickory wood is popular among craftsmen due to its unique combination of strength and rustic aesthetic. Also, hickory wood’s tight grain structure allows it to take on stains and finishes exceptionally well, providing versatility in achieving desired aesthetics.

Is hickory timber more durable than maple?

Hickory timber is more durable than maple due to its higher Janka hardness rating of 1820 over the latter’s 1420.


Trees are a wonderful resource, especially when you’re in the business of making wood-related projects. If you’re looking for a hardwood that can be sanded for a good finish, then hickory lumber might be suitable for your next construction task!

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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