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Is Hickory A Hardwood?

If you want to know if Hickory Wood is hardwood or softwood and if it’s the best option for your project, this post is for you. Wood is broadly classified into softwood and hardwood. Each type of wood is used for a particular type of project.

In this post, you will learn what makes a wood hardwood or softwood. You will get to know if Hickory is hardwood or softwood, the pros, and cons of Hickory hardwood, and other details on Hickory wood.

What is Hickory Wood?

Hickory wood is obtained from the Hickory tree which is a flowering and fruiting tree. The tree is deciduous which means that it sheds its leaves annually. Hickory wood is from the Carya genus and has 18 species that are found in different locations around the world. Twelve out of the 18 species are found in the United States, while the remaining are found in India, China, Canada, and Mexico.

The Hickory tree takes up to 200 years to maturity and can grow to an impressive height of 120 feet. It produces an oval-shaped fruit that splits into two when matured. One way to identify the Hickory wood, especially the Calico Hickory, is from the contrast between the heartwood and sapwood. The sapwood has a white or creamy color while the heartwood has a tan or reddish-brown color.

The wood is used in making home decors, flooring, bows, cabinets, drumsticks, furniture, golf club shafts, pickaxe handles, walking sticks, industrial applications, and other tool handles.

HardWood Vs Softwood

Before discussing if aspen is hardwood or softwood, you need to understand what makes a wood hardwood or softwood. Most people think that a wood is considered a hardwood if it’s hard and softwood if it’s soft. That’s not true. There are certain qualities a wood or tree needs to have to be considered hardwood or softwood.


Hardwood is obtained from deciduous trees. The trees are known to lose their leaves in autumn and are generally considered angiosperms. Hardwood trees are generally more expensive and are known to grow at a slower pace. Examples of hardwood are Teak, Oak, Hickory, Maple, Beech, Balsa, Alder, and Mahogany.


Softwood is obtained from conifer trees. The trees are known for their needle-shaped leaves and are considered gymnosperms. They grow at a faster rate and are generally cheaper than hardwood. Examples of softwood are Pine, Fir, redwood, yew, juniper, and Spruce.

Hardwood Vs Softwood

Hardwood and softwood have different features that make each unique. It is from these features that you can determine if a wood is hardwood or softwood. These are some of the features that differentiate hardwood from softwood.

Color: Hardwood normally has dark colors unlike softwood that has light colors.

Weather Resistance: Hardwoods are resistant to natural elements like water. That is why they are the best choice for outside wood work like fencing and decking. Softwood has low resistance but treating the wood can make it resistant to natural elements.

Durability: Hardwood is highly durable, while softwood is less durable.

Weight: Hardwood is heavy and hard, while softwood is lightweight and soft. Note that there are some hardwoods that are soft.

Branching: Hardwood trees have fewer branches than softwood with more branches.

Workability: Hardwood is difficult to carve, while it is easier to carve softwood.

Uses: Hardwood is used for furniture making, flooring and paper making. Softwood is used for furniture, cabins, paper pulp and solid wood products.

Is Hickory A Hardwood?

Yes. Hickory wood is hardwood. The wood is so hard that sometimes it’s difficult to cut through it with a machine. Hickory is generally flexible, hard, strong, and resistant to shock. Being a dry wood, Hickory tends to absorb stains and glue better.

Hickory wood density is 27 pounds per cubic foot and has a high score in the Janka wood hardness rating of 1820.

Pros of Hickory Wood?

These are some of the pros of using Hickory wood for your projects.

a. It Is Durable

Hickory wood is very durable which means it can last for a long time. Also, the wood’s density makes it resistant to scratches and dents which makes it a better flooring option for high-traffic areas and pet owners.

b. Absorbs Stain

Some types of hardwood have the problem of not holding stains or paint well. Hickory holds paint and stain well to produce a good finish. You can expect the paint to last for at least four years on Hickory wood before there is a need for a new paint job.

c. Easy To Clean And Maintain

When compared to other hardwoods like Walnuts and other flooring options like Carpet, Hickory wood is easy to clean. Also, maintaining Hickory wood is easy and doesn’t cost much. It makes it the best option for people with little time for constant cleaning and maintenance.

d. It Is Eco-Friendly

Hickory trees are grown in abundance especially in the United States and thus an eco-friendly option for your project. Always confirm the Hickory Wood you purchase has the FSC Certification.

e. Adds To Visual Aesthetics

Hickory wood is less uniform but adds to the visual aesthetics of a home. Also, it comes in lighter shades but has darker shades like golden brown colors that give you options to choose from.

Cons of Hickory Wood?

a. Hard To Install

As a result of its hardness, the Hickory wood is hard to cut, sand, and install. That is why it’s advisable to get a professional to install Hickory wood. Note, when cutting Hickory wood, use a carbon-tipped blade saw instead of the standard steel.

b. Split Easily

Hickory wood tends to split easily due to dryness. One way to prevent this is to seal the ends of the wood.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Hickory Wood Harder Than Oak?

Hickory wood is harder and more durable than Oakwood. First, Hickory has a higher score on the Janka hardness rating and can resist scratch and dent.

Is Hickory Good For Floors?

Yes. Hickory wood makes a durable flooring option. Some reasons that make it a good flooring option is that it’s easy to clean and maintain, also, it is durable. It adds a unique warmth look to a home.