Hickory grows in the eastern regions of the United States. More specifically, it grows in a wide range of conditions from the state of Missouri east to the Atlantic Ocean, and from Minnesota south to Texas. Other regions include Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Hickory seems to thrive in moist mountain loam soil and well drained fertile valleys along stream banks and other water sources up to 3000 foot elevations.
Hickory is considered one of the toughest domestic hardwoods. Not only is it tough, but it is extremely stiff, strong, and heavy, weighing approximately 51 lbs/cu. ft. It is extremely dense, with exceptional shock resistant qualities. Hickory's grain pattern can vary from straight to wavy, and is coarse textured with large open pores. Its color usually ranges from brown to dark reddish- brown. Hickory ranks below average for durability, and should be used for indoor projects only.
Hickory is considered difficult to machine, compared with other domestic hardwoods, because it tends to dull blades quickly. Also, its hard quality makes it very difficult for hand tool use. It holds fasteners well, but pre-drilling is required, due to a tendency to split and splinter. It turns well when sharp lathe tools are used, possesses excellent bending strength, but is not recommended for carving purposes. Hickory can be sanded successfully, but can wear down the grit more quickly than most other domestic hardwoods. Gluing can be somewhat difficult, and may require special attention. White PVA glue works well, if the project will not be under great stress or humidity. This type of glue has a fairly long setup time, which will enable adequate time for clamping. Hickory is easily stained and accepts most finishes well. Due to its coarse texture and open pores, paste wood filler is recommended. When the filler has dried, apply a stain, and then the desired finish. If a clear finish is to be applied without stain, apply a sanding sealer prior to the clear finish.
Wood Species Index
Some of its primary uses are tool handles, and sporting equipment, such as skis, tennis rackets, and hockey sticks. Hickory works well for flooring and most items that require toughness and the ability to resist wear and shock, such as furniture items like chairs, rockers, stools, tables, and drum sticks. Also, due to its excellent steam bending qualities, it is useful for any furniture or items where bending is required.