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Hickory

5/6/22       
Tim Member

just getting into logging, sawmilling, etc……Curious why you can sell a black walnut log for $5/BF but hickory is going for .40 to .60/BF when their appearance is sometimes very similar?

5/7/22       #2: Hickory ...
Mark B

Not sure what Walnut your seeing that is comparable to Hickory other than stuff that has a lot of sap. Walnut pricing is so high because there is a massive loss in yield because Walnut has such a thick sap layer combined with the fact that walnut tends to grow very bushy and often times doesnt make a lot of long/straight stems so your yeild per tree can be pretty low. Some people like the sap left in but for the majority of premium Walnut work people want only heart wood which turns an 18" diameter log into more like 14". When someone has a 16-18" diameter Walnut log and think they've got a gem, when its sawn without sap, they are shocked at how little material you get out of the log.

Some mills steam Walnut to bleed some of the color from the heart out into the sap and ignore the Walnut grading rules and grade it just like Red Oak but that means your left with miles of un-usable boards with tons of sap. You will often have 6"-8" wide boards with just a strip of heart wood up the center on one face and the entire other face and edges are sap. Additionally the steamed material is much more bland than un-steamed but the trade is its much cheaper even with the addition of the steaming process.

Hickory in my world is very white with dark accents but far more white than even sappy Walnut. Its brutal to work with, hard on tooling, very heavy, and due to the wild color has a pretty limited appeal (usually to people who like loud/wild/rustic grain/color). Demand for Hickory in my world is very low. Rustic log home kitchens, country folk, etc..

5/7/22       #3: Hickory ...
Tim Member

I have sawed walnut and yes, it has the wide layer of light colored sapwood and dark heartwood, the only reason I posted the question was I was splitting some hickory the other day and it seems to have the same color characteristic, see pic. obviously other stuff like work-ability, etc, must affect it’s appeal. I plan on sawing some hickory just to have some boards on hand, curious if it will look similar.


View higher quality, full size image (4032 X 3024)

5/8/22       #4: Hickory ...
Mark B

I personally like Hickory in the right setting but perhaps when you get sawing a bit of it you may see that it tens to have a lot more varied and wild color than Walnut with a lot of pale white. Your split piece has a dark pith/heart and light sap but doest resemble Walnut to me. A lot will depend on what type of Hickory as well. Shag or Shellbark, Pig or Bitternut, etc.. All can have varied appearance. Its pretty stuff for sure. I have a large piece of property that in one 10-15 acre swath is loaded with Hickory but they tend to stay relatively small (<20")

Its beautiful stuff for sure but its a bear to work with.

5/12/22       #5: Hickory ...
Dave Edgerton  Member

We use a lift of 800 to 900 of 4/4 walnut a Month and we are getting more and more sap wood lately. We have been using #1 com and at least we k now what we are getting and we have our waste down to 8 percent. We recently bought a lift from the same mill of 's&b' and the only difference between it and the #1 was no knots. That being said the #1 is $7400cdn per mbf sitting in from of our shop and the s and b is $9420 CDN. So I think a log sitting in your yard green at 5 USD is not realistic.
We are the biggest single consumer of walnut in saskatchewan

5/12/22       #6: Hickory ...
Dave Edgerton  Member

Another note, if you can mill and dry quality hickory with excellent straight grain of rift sawn it is in high demand for bowlers for archery. 6' length

5/12/22       #7: Hickory ...
Dave Edgerton  Member

Bowyers not bowlers

5/12/22       #8: Hickory ...
Tim Member

Thanks for the info guys! &#128074;&#127995;
Unfortunately I won’t delve too deep into the Black walnut since my property is black walnut poor, it’s got a couple beauties here and there, but I can count them on one hand. Conversely, the property has really nice White Oak and Poplar as well as really good hickory, just not as much.

5/12/22       #9: Hickory ...
Mark B

Wow Dave,
Those are crusher numbers on the Walnut. Mid-Atlantic here in the US so we are in a bit of the thick of Walnut. I dont buy Walnut religiously but brought in a few thousand feet last year and we were in the $3700/MBF range for 4/4 which I spec out as FAS but our mill doesnt grade FAS in Walnut and its steamed. In comparison I would consider the material we get #1 common or a bit better but still piles of sap similar to what I mentioned earlier. Three sides will all be sap with a single face that may or may not be all heart. There are of course lots of boards with no sap but I'd honestly say its perhaps a 50/50 split and sound knots are included.

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