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  1. #1
    Veteran Member Deere Dude's Avatar
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    Default Hickory Logs; What to do with them?

    My neighbor wanted his nice shag-bark hickory trees cut down so I cut them into logs about 10-14' long, generally as big as I could handle them. I have a pile of about 30-35 logs. They are 2-3 years old right now. They range from 12" to 20+" in diameter. I got them for firewood, but since that time I have more firewood than I can shake a stick at. Now I am having second thought about using them for firewood.

    I am trying to figure out what to do with them. A friend brought up taking them to a sawmill and maybe use the wood to build something. I built a lot of stuff from oak and I like the oak grain. Does anyone know how this stiff would be to work with and if it is a nice grain, and I understand beauty is in the eye of the beholder?

    The other question I have is, what lengths would be the best to shoot for. I read somewhere to make them 8' 6" and straight and not many knots so a good 8' board could be had. This would be used just for general usage like maybe cabinets or odds and ends. Some logs may be able to get longer wood out of it like 10'6" or maybe 12'6". Spoiled I make them as long as possible to get more board feet out of them?

    I planned on taking this information and cut the ends off the raw logs for firewood and store the good section of whatever length on a pile somewhere until I figure out what I want to make. I have a place to get them cut up when the time comes.

    Is two or three years drying in a log adequate or would it take another year or so after the sawmill?

    I'm just looking for ideas to ponder.

    Thanks, Chuck
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  2. #2
    Veteran Member Tig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hickory Logs; What to do with them?

    I think hickory has a beautiful grain. It was on the short list for our new kitchen cupboards.
    Steve

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  3. #3
    Veteran Member s219's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hickory Logs; What to do with them?

    Hickory is wonderful wood, and very workable. I don't know which variety of hickory we cut down last year after Hurricane Irene, but my brother in law used it for all sorts of projects, ranging from spoons to nut crackers. He also made some axe handles. I know Hickory looks fantastic in flooring, furniture, and cabinetry. It's also great for smoking BBQ.

    Be careful how you store the logs. Certain types of wood-boring beetles love hickory, and will turn it into swiss cheese (I lost quite a bit of hickory firewood to beetles in just the last year). And of course, you need to worry about the ends of the logs checking and general rot if the bark is on. So I'd say to evaluate the logs to make sure they are still good, and then get them sawn and stacked ASAP.

    Normally, it takes 6-12 months per inch of thickness for a sawn board to dry out. It varies based on location, weather, etc. You can also have it kiln dried for some $$.

  4. #4
    Super Member 2LaneCruzer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hickory Logs; What to do with them?

    We have a little sawmill near here, and the guy told me that he goes out and picks up the logs and mills them into rough cut lumber on a 50/50 basis...you might call the sawmill and see if you can work something similar. My brother had his kitchen done in hickory, and it is very attractive. Not quite as smooth grained as oak, but it adds some character to the wood. I though it was beautiful. I do a little woodworking, but have never worked hickory. I hear it is similar to pecan, and pecan is great. It can't be any worse than white oak, but it's not bad once you get it through the planer.
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  5. #5
    Platinum Member Pete Judd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hickory Logs; What to do with them?

    I very much agree with 2Lane. You can make some great projects out of it, but if you don't want it send it to me after it has been sawn. WI is to far for me to drive in a day to get it.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Hickory Logs; What to do with them?

    Great wood! A freind just had a new kitchen done in it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Hickory Logs; What to do with them?

    Our addition has a different wood on each wall - white oak, cherry, ash and hickory. The hickory is beautiful with its light and dark browns. If you saw it and have FAS, it is great for woodworking projects, common is great for panelling or flooring depending on the look you are going for.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Hickory Logs; What to do with them?

    Hickory is a great wood. Our kitchen is entirely unstained hickory and looks great. We have hickory in some furniture as well. Keep any scraps because it is also excellent firewood. I've rough-cut some hickory blocks for wheel chocks and they lasted forever. Never rotted.

  9. #9
    Elite Member MotorSeven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hickory Logs; What to do with them?

    DD, shagbark hickory is even harder than regular hickory...which is pretty darn hard. I've never seen it, but some millers say you can see sparks coming off the blade when sawing. That being said, I don't think you want to let those logs dry out before milling as they will be even harder to cut. Best thing to do is get them milled now while still green, then sticker and stack the boards with weight on top of them to prevent warping.

    If you can stack them in a heated area this winter they should be ready to use in a couple of months. Outside air drying in WI might take a lot longer and then they will still shrink a bit if you build something with it and bring it inside the house.

    I love Hickory and built my front door out of 2"x6" planks. I made the mistake of leaving it in cant form(about 10"x12"x8') in a shed for over 2 years. Several of those boards I sawed out of the middle of that cant shrank almost a half inch in width after the door was built. This is one reason I built a solar kiln to dry the cherry I am making my kitchen cabinets out of right now...I didn't want any shrinkage once built. Kiln drying gets the wood moisture content down to the 6-8% range...air drying usually only about 10-12% depending on your location.


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  10. #10
    Veteran Member Deere Dude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hickory Logs; What to do with them?

    Those pictures do look nice. I dug into the pile today and started cutting up the smaller in diameter logs for firewood. I noticed on some of the bigger logs (18"-24"), I screwed up when cutting the trees down because they are split quite a ways up. What I did was hook a cable to the trees and put some directional force on it and just cut from the backside to drop the trees. So, some of the lower really big logs are only good for firewood. When I cut the trees I had no intention of getting them sawed, but maybe when I get into the pile more I will find some better ones.
    JD 3720 with R4s
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