Hickory/Pecan

Carya spp.

Appearance

Shown with water-based finish (top), and oil-based finish (bottom)

Shown with water-based finish (top), and oil-based finish (bottom)

Color: Pecan heartwood is reddish brown with dark brown stripes; sapwood is white or creamy white with pinkish tones. Hickory heartwood is tan or reddish; sapwood is white to cream, with fine brown lines.

Grain: Pecan is open, occasionally wavy or irregular. Hickory is closed, with moderate definition; somewhat rough-textured.

Species & Grade Variations: In both hickory and pecan, there are often pronounced differentiations in color between spring wood and summer wood. In pecan, sapwood is usually graded higher than darker heartwood. Pecan and hickory are traditionally mixed by flooring mills.

Properties

Hardness (Janka): 1820; 41% harder than Northern Red Oak. Pecan is slightly softer than true hickories.

Dimensional Stability: Pecan, average (change coefficient .00315; 15% more stable than Red Oak). Hickory, below average (change coefficient .00411; 11% less stable than Red Oak).

Durability: Combination of strength, hardness, toughness and stiffness found in no other commercial wood; exceedingly high in shock resistance.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Hickory species’ density makes it difficult to season, machine and work with hand tools.

Sanding: Difficult to sand because of density, and because light color makes sander marks show more than on darker woods.

Nailing: Good holding ability; prone to splitting.

Finishing: No known problems.

Cost

(Relative to plain sawn select Red Oak)
Multiplier: 1.20

Availability

Readily available from specialty wood flooring dealers, although parquet not commonly available.