Hickory grows throughout the eastern half of the United States and is comprised of several species with varying hardness and characteristics. Most commercial production of hickory is from the Mid-Atlantic and Central States and is comprised of the species known as Shag Bark or Pignut, which have relative hardnesses of 1880 and 2140 respectively. We see logs of both species come into our log yard. Central New Hampshire is at the northern distribution for the Shag Bark Hickory. The Pignut hickory grows to the southern New Hampshire border.
The sapwood of hickory is white and can be wide, particularly in second-growth trees. The heartwood is reddish. The wood is exceedingly hard, heavy, and strong. Hickory is considered difficult to machine and glue. It holds nails well, but it tends to split.
Hickory is mainly used for tool handles requiring a high shock resistance. It is also used for ladder rungs, athletic equipment (such as baseball bats, archery equipment, and skis), and furniture. Lower grade hickory is used for pallets. Sawdust and chips are used in smoking to flavor meats.