What to do with some hickory planks?

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Forum topic by Jim55 posted 02-21-2013 12:34 AM 1518 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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171 posts in 2300 days

02-21-2013 12:34 AM

I have made acquaintance with a fellow that has his own saw mill. (and I have some forest land, joy of joys!) (:) He also happened to give me some planks of air dried hickory about 1” x 9” x 6’ though there are a few thinner and longer. I’ve posted a pic below for y’all to see. That top board is the worst of the lot by far. I’m thinking of paring off a couple inches from one side of a board to make a bow with and another for the giver but, what else…

My question here is, can I have some suggestions as to what best to do with it? The shape suggests a bookshelf but, for one we don’t need one and anyway you can make a book shelf out of darn near anything and no matter. I think this was a very nice gift and I should do something nice with it.

One more thing. He has a slab of 4 year air dried red oak about 4” thick, 9” wide by 12 foot long. He wants $100 for it. Think y’all that’s a fair price for it? I am thinking there’s one heck of a Roubo table in there (maybe two???)

8 replies so far

View Milo's profile


869 posts in 3553 days

#1 posted 02-21-2013 12:37 AM

Looks like way too much to handle… whatcha do is trundle those puppies down to the train yard and send them back east, to me, and I’ll take them off your hands so you’ll no longer be troubled by them… ;)

If it was ME, I’d buy them and make a table out of them. If the rest has that much character you could make an amazong slab table. Or perhaps boxes, I like Hickory for that.

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30126 posts in 2571 days

#2 posted 02-21-2013 01:55 AM

I think that’s fine for the oak.

Limits on what to do with the Hickory is simply your imagination. Every one here would make something different andnone of them wwould be wrong. Keep staring at it and it will tell you what it wants to be.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View WDHLT15's profile


1797 posts in 2709 days

#3 posted 02-21-2013 03:23 AM

I think that the price on the oak is fine too. That is what I would ask for it, too. 4” oak is very hard to handle and to dry without tons of defect.

Make a possibiles box out of the hickory. (A “possible” is a necessity that a man has to have and was a term used on the Frontier!).

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2588 days

#4 posted 02-21-2013 06:03 AM

Hickory is what is used to make baseball bats, it is dense and strong, does not dent easily and is also a pretty wood. Which is why it is hard to get ahold of in thicker than 4/4 by the way… It is good for making strong durable furniture that will stand up to time. Though it is not that common as furniture. Pecan, which is in the hickory family is also good for furniture, but here where I can literally walk out into a field nearby with pecan trees in it, few people seek out pecan furniture, however I’m told it sells well in the New England area…

As a shelf it would do good, but I don’t really like my shelves to not have a back, sooo tables, chests and so on. I’ve made a bar stool from hickory before and well, it was made for my parents so two years later and it still looks brand new… As well as some cabinets for customers.

P.s it can be a difficult wood to work, dulling blades and taking longer to sand. Just so you know in advance.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View saw4fun's profile


176 posts in 3573 days

#5 posted 02-22-2013 11:20 PM

Whatever you make, make sure you keep any cut-offs for smoking a couple steaks! We do not have hickory around here but I did happen to have a customer bring me a Hickory log to cut up for knife and hammer handles. I cut the outer slabs into little pieces for the smoker and man do they add good flavor! Unfortunately Im about out :(

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2918 days

#6 posted 02-22-2013 11:50 PM

looks like a potential nice end table to me…it’s tough stuff though (take your time) and you might get more sawdust than lumber out of it (keep the floor and tools clean and put it on the smoker as noted above. We fortunately have bags of hickory chips available in great supply). Some of these woods will allow you to keep a flaw or two in the finished product…what I call “character”.

p.s. I think ash is the baseball bat stuff….much more stable and predictable. But we’ll have to see what happens with the invasion of the emerald ash borer.

View Jim55's profile


171 posts in 2300 days

#7 posted 02-23-2013 01:12 AM

Thanks all. I was aware this stuff was going to be tough to work. Just how tough is yet to be seen.

As for the smoker, we have plenty of hickory. In fact, we have a hickory tree in our front yard. I have the kids gather up the nuts and toss them in the smoker for lessor things like burgers and hot dogs, sausage and stuff. I use bigger chunks for long cooking like brisket. (:-D
I’ll give it more thought and check back when I have a plan.
Thanks again!

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2918 days

#8 posted 02-23-2013 05:41 PM

Hickory is the wood of choice here regardless of animal. I like to mix mesquite with beef though. I mix cherry or apple with anything else. An old german guy would yell if he knew you were burning the nuts though…you’re supposed to shell them and use meat for cooking (actually I think that’s largely an excuse to get away from his old german wife but that’s just a guess).

I keep the tools and floors spotless anytime I run fruitwood through the planer. Those planer shavings are great on the smoker because they soak and smoke very quickly and are a nice complement to the bigger chunks.

But back to the thread…I worked with hickory once and found that it required very sharp tools. It had a tendency to splinter easily. Maybe it was only the stuff I was working with.

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