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American Hickory and American Pecan (Carya spp.)


Eastern USA, principal commercial areas Central and Southern states.

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 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.

Hardwoodstats Hickory

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.

Physical 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.

  • Specific Gravity: a) 0.75 (12% M.C.) b) 0.66
  • Average Weight: a) 833 kg/m3 (12% M.C.) b) 737 kg/m3
  • Average Volumetric Shrinkage: a) 14.3% (Green to 6% M.C.) b) N/A
  • Modulus of Elasticity: a) 15,583 MPa b) 11,928 MPa
  • Hardness: a) N/A b) 8095 N
    • a) Carya glabra (true hickory)
    • b) Carya illinoensis (pecan)


Rated as non-resistant to heartwood decay. The sapwood is liable to attack by the powder post beetle. The wood is classed as resistant to preservative treatment.


USA: Readily available, more limited if sold selected for colour as either red or white hickory.

Export: Limited due to low demand. Available only from specialist importers in thin stock only.

Main Uses

Tool handles, furniture, cabinetry, flooring, wooden ladders, dowels and sporting goods.