Identifying Pecan vs. Hickory

Pecan is hard to tell apart from Hickory. April 15, 2012

Question
I have a potential customer who is interested in a kitchen made to closely match a piece of furniture that she has. I would guess that the furniture piece is from the 60's, and she believes it to be made of pecan. It is light to medium brown in color, with little darker flecks throughout. I am not sure if the flecks are a characteristic of that particular wood, or if it is part of the finish, but I have seen this before on similar pieces of furniture. I know that hickory and pecan are said to be interchangeable, but the hickory that I can get does not match very well, courser texture, and not as tight grained. Any input would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor R:
The speckles are in the finish. I have seen a lot of furniture similar to your description that was ash.



From contributor G:
Those flecks are one of the main guides to indentifying pecan wood. Itís definitely not in the finish.


Click here for higher quality, full size image



From contributor D:
That looks like pecan. Pecan and hickory, although I hear are related, are not interchangeable (some lumberyards seem to disagree). The hickory I've seen is closer to ash in a stringy sort of way. Pecan is more like a fruit tree wood or walnut. I've only worked with air dried, but it's really nice and can have beautiful color. It spalts nicely too as shown in that turning, but can move a little in a frustrating way.