What to do with a fallen hickory tree (re, the lumber)?

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Forum topic by Jim55 posted 09-03-2017 09:55 AM 2077 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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184 posts in 2674 days

09-03-2017 09:55 AM

Ok, answer to question- “Cut it up.” That’s for all the ‘cut ups’ out there.

Now, this is what I know hickory is good for. Smoking grills (I prefer mesquite actually) and tool handles. I have a trunk section suitable for making into planks. But, once done, what would I make with them?

One other thought comes to mind. I could make a couple slabs maybe 20” wide. Would they make for a good Roubo table top?

I might get some spalted pieces off the bottom. I don’t turn bowls. Is there a market for such?

Looking for suggestions here, and thanks.

7 replies so far

View ArtMann's profile


1462 posts in 1424 days

#1 posted 09-03-2017 02:03 PM

I am building a new house and from my research, I can tell you that hickory is wildly popular as flooring and kitchen cabinet material. It seems that the more dramatic the variation, the more people admire it. I do not agree with this assessment but I may be in the minority. If you can come up with 1.5+ inch slabs that could be glued up into a dining table, you might get good money for them.

I have used the knot free straight grained material for tool handles and shop made fixtures where strength and wear resistance is important.

View Jack Lewis's profile

Jack Lewis

573 posts in 1686 days

#2 posted 09-03-2017 02:51 PM

And whereabouts might ye be located. I do turn bowls and might welcome some undesert like wood to turn. Bowl blanks of 5 inches thickness and 12+ diameters of sound hardwood would make a different challenge than some of the cracked, checked and pecky material around here. PM me with asking price of a couple of blanks and we can deal.
I am always looking for some different woods priced within my budget from people willing to take the time to accommodate a fellow jock.

-- "PLUMBER'S BUTT! Get over it, everybody has one"

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6052 posts in 3016 days

#3 posted 09-03-2017 05:12 PM

The application of handles for tools is endless. I have 30-40 screwdrivers I wouldn’t mine turning new handles for with strips of another species to tell me the difference in tip type. Some would say this is a time consuming task and overkill but hey, I enjoy the process from start to finish and we only live once ya know?

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View EricTwice's profile


248 posts in 1141 days

#4 posted 09-03-2017 05:46 PM

Hickory is open grained, hard and springy. It makes good chairs. It is beautiful and durable, I have seen it in floors kitchen cabinets, tables, beds, dressers and about any other furniture you can imagine.

That said, It will dull your blades quickly and does not sand easily. this makes it difficult to work.

As a professional I charge extra to do so, and most people when they find this out choose something else. I’m good with that.

-- nice recovery, They should pay extra for that mistake, Eric E.

View msinc's profile


567 posts in 1111 days

#5 posted 09-04-2017 08:27 AM

I am one of those folks that really loves hickory. I use it for just about anything. I don’t see it used very often for live edge slab type tables and such though, I think probably because it is dense and heavy and it seems to have a tendency to warp. It also has a tendency to shoot a crack along the grain and when it does you will notice that it didn’t need any help.
The guy I use for doing my rough cutting has a big bandsaw and he always tells me to bring it to him as green as possible. he wants to get the tree down and on the saw quick. He says it is much easier to saw up when it is as green as it can be. Around here, it’s hard to find hickory that doesn’t have a bunch of little worm holes, but people really like that too. I think one of the things I like best about it is that it does not need to be stained to look good. In fact I never saw any I would think about staining, it just looks better natural.

View dalepage's profile


385 posts in 1448 days

#6 posted 09-04-2017 02:21 PM

I had a BIG hickory log which could not be moved by the available machinery. By the time we moved it, two or three years, it had spalted in what lay against the ground. I got some really fine boards out of that by taking the log to a local mill.

Hint: Don’t saw your log less than 4 feet long, or it may not sit on the cradle to be sawn. Also, I’d saw it at least 8/4 so that you have more options than 4/4. Here’s why:

I made a butcher block work table for some friends’ kitchen by using spalted and unspalted 2 inch material. The secret to this pattern is how you position the wood for glue-up in the first part of making an end-grain cutting board.

Only the patterned top is hickory. The rest is hard maple, including the aprons around the top. The top is only about 4 inches thick, not as thick as the aprons are wide. Gluing the maple aprons to the hickory top was easy because it’s all parallel face grain in the bond.

This is how I flattened the hickory end grain top after all the glue-ups. It’s actually quite easy. Then I spent a LOT of time with my Festool 6” Rotex sander, first with 80 grit and then 120. End grain polishes up nicely and you won’t need to go any finer than 120 grit.

Hope this helps. The couple was very happy with their new table.

-- Dale

View splintergroup's profile


3209 posts in 1830 days

#7 posted 09-04-2017 02:43 PM

It can be a beautiful wood in large sections and would make an attractive tabletop. Downside is it is tough to work with (splintery) and seems to have a mind of it’s own moving about long after it is dried. Rip a nice straight and flat plank and you often will end up with two pretzels!

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