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How to Identify Hickory Wood

By Melissa Lewis ; Updated September 21, 2017

Hickory trees are harvested for both their nuts and wood. Hickory wood is a durable wood used to make floors, cabinets, furniture and even handles for tools. Nowadays, hickory wood is also used to smoke, cure and barbeque meats giving them that distinct hickory flavor. Fortunately, compared to other kinds of woods, hickory wood has some distinguishing features, which makes it easy to identify.

Look at the color of the aged wood that was on the inner side of the hickory tree trunk. This is called the heartwood. Hickory heartwood has a reddish-brown or tan color.

Look at the color of the young wood that was on the outside of the tree trunk. This is called the sapwood. Hickory sapwood is a cream or white color. The extreme contrast of the two colors is a distinct property of hickory wood and is often on the same piece of wood.

Examine the grain. The grain of hickory wood is typically straight, but there can be some irregular waves.

Feel the texture. Hickory wood is a little bit coarse compared to other woods.


About the Author


Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.