Our craftsmen find the best quality hardwood so we create furniture you can keep for centuries. If the wood we used was not able to last that long, then our job of providing the best for you becomes a dream, not a reality.
Our craftsmen hold that as part of their Amish doctrine. Nothing is done without the utmost care, especially when they create something for someone else. They build furniture as if they were building it for their own children, meant to be kept for generations.
With that in mind, our craftsmen are very selective about the quality of their hardwood. Our main source of wood comes from farmers who raise and harvest trees near our craftsmen. They are trusted to maintain the land and the trees, and the proximity of the farmers and our craftsmen makes it easier to inspect the wood before making an order. This arrangement has given you furniture made with woods that are first-class.
We use many types of wood but the most commonly used ones are red oak, white oak, cherry, maple, hard maple, walnut, and hickory. Today, we will focus on hickory, a wood valued by many of our customers for its beauty and strength.
What is Hickory?
Hickory is a hardwood that has pinnately compound leaves and large nuts. It comprises the genus Carya, and it includes 17-19 different species, which can be found all over the world. There are 11 or 12 species native to the United States, five or six native to China and Indochina, and one in Mexico. The species we use for our furniture is Carya Ovata, also known as shagbark hickory. It is found in the eastern United States and southeast Canada, can grow up to 89 ft tall, and can live up to 200 years.
Uses of Hickory
Hickory may be found in parts from all over the world, but it has a rich history in the United States. As a very hard, stiff, and shock resistant wood, it is used to build many things: tool handles, bows, drumsticks, and paddles. Overall, this is a hearty wood, used when people need something strong.
Baseball bats used to be made from hickory as well but it is too heavy for major league baseball players. Unable to swing as quickly and powerfully as they need to, ash and maple have become more popular over the past centuries. Maple, being one of the most popular, ever since Barry Bonds.
Another very popular use for hickory is smoking meats. It is a common wood used when you want to smoke strong flavored meats. Mesquite, oak, pecan, and walnut are also great choices when you flavor your meats with lots of spices and sauces.
It is evident that hickory is an all American wood.
Appearance of Hickory
Hickory is one of the most unique woods you will ever encounter. Sparky calls it the “wild wood”, like the old wild west. Every hardwood (e.g. oak, maple, cherry) has sapwood and heartwood. The sapwood is closer to the bark and it is light in color, a very creamy white. Hickory’s heartwood is closer to the center of the bark and it is dark in color. This difference in color between the heartwood and the sapwood dramatizes the contrast and adds a striking look which appeals to so many of our customers.
Like most hardwoods, its color changes as it ages. It will become more amber, only moderately, but it is important to minimize sun exposure.
Staining of Hickory
Hickory is one of the densest woods in the United States and, consequently, the heaviest. It is because it is closed grain with a rough texture so the pores are smaller. This makes it more difficult to fully stain an entire piece of wood. However, once it stains, it is beyond beautiful.
Hickory is 41% stronger than Red Oak, and it is the second hardest wood species in the United States. If you are looking for a resilient wood, then hickory is the way to go. It has a unique combination of strength, hardness, and toughness; however, it is the more difficult wood to work with. Nevertheless, all it takes is a little elbow grease and sharpened tools. Eli our master tablemaker always sharpens his tools after using harder woods, and he says it makes a world of difference.
Hickory seems to have it all: strength, resilience, and natural beauty. All of these characteristics make hickory furniture a sight to behold.
If you are considering furniture made with hickory, call us and we can send some samples of hickory to your home free. We have a list of all the finishes available online, and we can send a catalog to you as well.