Question about Pecan wood...

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Forum topic by cherylf posted 01-02-2009 11:38 PM 2360 views 1 time favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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42 posts in 3669 days

01-02-2009 11:38 PM

Hi All,

I have 26 massive pecan trees in my backyard. I have only lived here a couple of months, but from what I was told the pecan trees are well over 100 years old and a couple of them are dying. Should I try to salvage the wood when I have them taken down? Is pecan a good wood to work with?

-- I think I was a man in a previous life - why else would I be blonde and like beer!

15 replies so far

View WIwoodworker's profile


65 posts in 3935 days

#1 posted 01-02-2009 11:48 PM

Yes and yes. I should be so lucky to have 26 massive anything in my back yard.

-- Allen, Milwaukee, WI

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4004 days

#2 posted 01-02-2009 11:51 PM

Pecan can have some beautiful attributes. Here is an example of a bowl I turned from a baby pecan log.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4036 days

#3 posted 01-02-2009 11:56 PM

make sure that you cut and dry it properly. It can be very finicky.. But great stuff! Makes beautiful accents and parts.

-- making sawdust....

View SwedishIron's profile


142 posts in 3878 days

#4 posted 01-03-2009 12:09 AM

I think Pecan is sometimes sold as hickory. Same working properties and very hard stuff.

-- Scott, Colorado

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4151 days

#5 posted 01-03-2009 12:42 AM

Absolutely…and don’t forget to plant 2 more to take their place. If you’re lucky too you will have a massive pecan harvest every year.

I’m looking to plant pecan here in New Zealand. It’s a highly under-rated and undervalued tree. You’ll make more money off of the crop than the timber, but as you are finding out, at the end of their natural life, the timber is extremely valuable too.

A good book worth reading is “Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture” by J Russell Smith- a very old book ( first published in 1929) but still relevant ( perhaps even more relevant now ).

If you search for this book, you will find a lot of sites which sell it but you can actually download it for free from here:
Tree Crops -- A Permanent Agriculture , by J. Russell Smith, Harcourt-Brace, New York, 1929; Devin-Adair, Connecticut, 1950; Island Press Conservation Classics, 1987, ISBN 0-933289-44-0, 58.8Mb pdf

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View cherylf's profile


42 posts in 3669 days

#6 posted 01-03-2009 12:46 AM

Wow! Thanks for all the great advice. And Steve thanks for the book link, I’m heading there right now!

-- I think I was a man in a previous life - why else would I be blonde and like beer!

View cherylf's profile


42 posts in 3669 days

#7 posted 01-03-2009 01:38 AM

Here’s a picture of a portion of my backyard.!

-- I think I was a man in a previous life - why else would I be blonde and like beer!

View tbone's profile


276 posts in 3921 days

#8 posted 01-05-2009 07:37 PM

Depending on the size of the tree, the timber may be VERY valuable. If I were you, I would contact a local sawmill or sawyer and see if they are interested in cutting them into lumber for you—or they might be interested in buying it from you.

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3991 days

#9 posted 01-05-2009 08:03 PM


If you add a quote to the front of that link you will im-bed the picture in-line (I know you can’t edit anymore) as for the pic it self all I can say is wow!

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3959 days

#10 posted 01-09-2009 05:25 AM

Those are some beautiful trees. It sounds like you need to find a local arborist or pecan grower who can help inform you as to what to save and what to cut. If the wood is not rotten, then you can store it to dry and use for lumber. This can be quite laboreous, but if done right you will benefit from lots of good wood. The crotch piece of the tree and burl woodr is especially sought after by artisans, as this part has lots of interesting grain. You will need to store properly and treat for bugs as well to keep your wood valuable. There’s lots to learn here, so if you can hook up with a local who has patience and knowledge, that will help. (Buy a six pack and visit your local wood mill and pecan farmer.) Books & forums are also a must.

I have two large logs from a single pecan tree in my driveway. It was a gift from my mother-in-law in Macon, GA. She sent it up to Maryland with my husband and his son when they visited this past summer. I made her a cane for Christmas 2008 and I guess she liked it. Now I can’t park all the way in the driveway as these logs are 5 ft long and weigh about 800-900 lbs. each.

Gee, now I’m wondering, do you think she really liked the cane?

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 3763 days

#11 posted 01-09-2009 04:56 PM

Wow, I have wood envy…

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View David Freed's profile

David Freed

113 posts in 3904 days

#12 posted 01-11-2009 06:07 PM

“I think Pecan is sometimes sold as hickory. Same working properties and very hard stuff.”

I agree with Scott. Pecan and Hickory are routinely grouped and sold together.
Look here –
for information about them. In the general description, they are described as true hickory and pecan hickory.

-- David, Southern Indiana

View woodyoda's profile


117 posts in 3694 days

#13 posted 02-09-2009 10:24 PM

Most of those trees look like babies…...Pecan trees get about 80 or 90 feet tall…...way bigger than what you have there…..but still you can get some great wood out of them. Not to mention, the crop, that you can sell.

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3949 days

#14 posted 02-10-2009 07:08 PM

Hickory is Carya, of which family pecan is a part, called Carya illionensis. Or Illinois. Indeed it grows well here, along with our common black walnut, Juglandaceae—Walnut family which it’s related to. So Pecan is one of the Hickory.

Also, the pecan can reach 120ft quite easily, depending on soil/water available, and produce nuts for over 300 years, so perhaps you should be patient and not take down trees before they’re good and ready. Respect the lifespan of the tree.

this is a great site with pictures from our local Morton Arboretum.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3885 days

#15 posted 02-10-2009 07:50 PM

these look rather young pecan trees based on your photo, and I’d opt to let them grow naturally. if some ARE indeed dying, it’s worth salvaging the lumber off of those. might as well recycle.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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