Pignut Hickory

Common Name: Pignut Hickory
Scientific Name: Carya glabra
Distribution: Eastern United States
Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1.0 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 52 lbs/ft3 (835 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .66, .83
Janka Hardness: 2,140 lbf (9,520 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 20,100 lbf/in2 (138.6 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 2,260,000 lbf/in2 (15.59 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 9,190 lbf/in2 (63.4 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 7.2%, Tangential: 11.5%, Volumetric: 17.9%, T/R Ratio: 1.6
pignut-hickory

pignut hickory grain

pignut-hickory-endgrain

pignut hickory endgrain

Color/Appearance: Heartwood tends to be light to medium brown, with a reddish hue; sapwood is a paler yellowish brown. Boards with contrasting heartwood and sapwood create a somewhat rustic appearance that’s sometimes marketed as Calico Hickory.

Grain/Texture: Grain is usually straight, though occasionally wavy, with a medium texture. Pores are medium-sized and open.

Rot Resistance: Considered to be non-durable to perishable regarding heartwood decay, and also very susceptible to insect attack.

Workability: Difficult to work, with tearout being common during machining operations if cutting edges are not kept sharp; the wood tends to blunt cutting edges. Glues, stains, and finishes well. Responds well to steam bending.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Various species of Hickory and Pecan (Carya genus) are typically mixed together and simply sold as Hickory. Prices are usually in the low to mid range, depending upon local availability. Hickory prices should compare similarly to other utility hardwoods such as Red Oak or Soft Maple.

Pricing/Availability: Because the sapwood is so wide, only older mature trees will yield the darker Redgum heartwood lumber. Sapgum is widely available at low cost, while Redgum is more uncommon, and prices can be in the mid range for a domestic hardwood, with prices for figured and/or quartersawn pieces costing more.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Tool handles, ladder rungs, wheel spokes, flooring, etc.

Comments: Hickory is among the hardest and strongest of woods native to the United States. On average, Hickory is denser, stiffer, and harder than either White Oak or Hard Maple. The wood is commonly used where strength or shock-resistance is important.

Pignut Hickory falls into the True-Hickory grouping, and is considered to be a ring-porous wood. The strength characteristics of Hickory are influenced considerably by the spacing of its growth rings. In general, wood from faster-growing trees, with wider spaced growth rings, tends to be harder, heavier, and stronger than wood from slower-growing trees that have rings which are closer together.

In addition to strength and hardness applications, the wood of Carya species also has a very high thermal energy content when burned, and is sometimes used as fuelwood for wood stoves. Additionally, Hickory is also used as charcoal in cooking meat, with the smoke imparting additional flavor to the food.

Scroll to Top