Hickory Carya Glabra Mill./C. Laciniosa:  May reach 110′ to 140′ in height with a trunk of 48” or more in diameter. It grows straight with a rounded crown Hickory is our most dense and strongest North American hardwood lumber category. As a result, the lumber has had a number of interesting applications through its long years, ranging from spokes in wooden wheels and car bodies to drum sticks and flooring. Hickory/Pecan trees are known to have a slow growth rate which aids in their density and strength.  The lumber planks are available in wide widths up to 13” and long lengths up to 16’ long.

Distribution:  Is broad, from Southern Eastern Canada to Eastern United States and on to Southern Appalachia for the Pecan Hickories.

General Characterizations Plain Sawn: Varies in color, the heartwood is tan to reddish brown with dark brown stripes; sapwood is white to cream, with fine brown lines. Bird peck is very common in Hickory and results in dark stain. The wood is nearly semi-ring porous, so the growth rings are usually somewhat subdued like Walnut.  Hickory is, after all, of the Walnut family Juglandaceae.  Northern trees are usually very slow growth, and the rings are  very tight, the change from large to smaller pores is abrupt so the wood appears grainier. Southern trees may be somewhat faster growth, the change from large to smaller pores is more gradual, the texture is more moderate.

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

Grain: Will  vary from open  to closed with dark line definition.  The grain can be  flowing, straight,  wavy and irregular, all within one wide plank.. This “calico” appearance is appreciated in Hickory/Pecan wide plank hardwood flooring with custom width options up to 13” wide.

Variations Within Species and Grades: In both Hickory and Pecan, there are often pronounced differentiation in color between springwood and summerwood. In Pecan, sapwood is usually graded higher than darker heartwood. Pecan & Hickory are traditionally mixed in high production flooring mills.  When the light, reddish, brown clear heartwood is sorted, the wood almost appears as a different species, and it is truly unique. The plant “morphology” of your floor is as idiosyncratic and individual as your own fingerprints.

  • Pignut Hickory, North Eastern region, tends to have less character marks, and thinner sapwood.
    Streaking and bark around knots is characteristic in Hickory.

Customized Species and Grades: Hickory is to be appreciated for its character and variation, even within a single plank.  According to National Grading Rules for First Grade Hickory, average bird peck is allowed and is not a defect. But, if your heart is set on defect-free, all heartwood Hickory would be well served to come to the experts at Heppner Hardwoods for customization.

Carya Glabra Mill./C. Laciniosa:  May be difficult to stain,the contrast from large to smaller pores is abrupt, therefore it holds on to the stain color erratically, bleaching can help. Difficult to sand because of density, and because light color makes sander markers show more than on darker woods. Available in solid and engineered.

Distinctions: Hand scraped/distressed, wire brushed, fuming/scorching, patterns, pegging, smooth sanding, bleaching and French bleed  Stains and polishes to a good finish. Machined edges 2 sides or 4 with bevel, radius or square edge. Distinguished by broken, pillowed, or Cajun corners with worm holes.  Customized wear patterns are achieved by first assembling the floor off site, with a team crawling all over the floor planks hand hewing a million little wear patterns, each depth, width, and length has the individual pressure, as would an antique foot worn floor.  Lorraine Heppner’s personal favorite is circle sawn face finished dark in the design genre of old Walnut.  After all Hickory is a member of the Walnut family.  A Hickory wanna-be walnut floor is available wider and longer lengths, is twice as hard than Walnut, and less expensive.