Once You Go Lumberjack

Hickory as firewood

Discussion in 'The Wood Pile' started by Yawner, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. Yawner

    Yawner

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    It seems I don't often see someone say hickory is their favorite firewood. Why is that, any idea? What does oak have over it? I see shagbark hickory above oak in a BTU chart but don't know about pignut hickory. Which one has bright yellow leaves, I see a lot of those this year, incredibly yellow! But I haven't noticed a shagbark hickory here in a very long time. Actually, makes me wonder what hickory species we have here other than pignut.
     
  2. MikeInMa

    MikeInMa

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    Hickory has a shorter drying time than oak.

    If I had a lot of it, it would be my favorite. But, I have access to lots of oak, I have room to stack it, and am far enough ahead to let it dry properly. So, in my case, red oak is my favorite firewood.
     
  3. Yawner

    Yawner

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    Does hickory split well, does it split harder or easier than oak?

    It seems when I look at hickory trees (pignut anyway), I often see a straight trunk quite a ways up. That's good! But... this is on my land the ones I have are not huge, they must have logged big ones in the past few decades before I bought it. My biggest are, oh, 16" or less. I have a lot of much bigger oaks.
     
  4. MikeInMa

    MikeInMa

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    Not much experience here with processing hickory. But, I can't imagine anything being easier to hand split, than red oak, crotches aside.
     
  5. Grizzly Adam

    Grizzly Adam Technical Administrator

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    It's a great wood, and my favourite smelling.
     
  6. wheelhorseiron

    wheelhorseiron

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    I like them the same. I just have more oaks than hickory on my place.

    Sent from my LML212VL using Tapatalk
     
  7. bear 1998

    bear 1998

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    Hickory is great firewood....i have about a cord ready. If i want it...i gotta get it away from home...doesnt grow around here.
    The biggest thing i dont like about...wood borers like it to n they are messy eaters...lots of powder dust from borin...
     
  8. Mwalsh9152

    Mwalsh9152

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    You cant swing a dead cat in the woods behind my house without hitting an oak. I've identified two shagbark's in the entirety of the 50ish acres so far.

    I only touch what is downed, so oak it is.
     
  9. farmer steve

    farmer steve

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    I love hickory to burn for the BTU'S. I get mostly shagbark. The downside is if cut green it's a bear to split. Really stringy. Heavy as all get out green. Long dry time. I just resplit some yesterday that had been split,stacked and covered about a year and Stihl at around 20%. Like bear 1998 said the beetles love it but I figure the are making it a little more porus to help it dry. I've been burning some the last few nites and Stihl have a nice pile of coals vs oak and ash in 12 hours.
     
  10. The Wood Wolverine

    The Wood Wolverine

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    A few years ago I cleared a lot for a friend to build his house about a mile or two from where I live. A lot of it was shagbark hickory. None larger than about 15-16”. I have the pleasure of burning it this season. It does definitely dry faster than oak. It is a little bit stringy when splitting but it isn’t worth mentioning as it presents no issue to pull splits apart. As far as BTU’s, just as you see on the chart, this species throws a tremendous amount of heat and leaves no significant amount of ash compared to other woods. If I had regular access to it, it would be higher on my list of favorites. The only negative I can think of is mentioned above. Boreres drill up in there and leave little piles of dust on the split below.
     
  11. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw

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    Hickory is great for cold weather overnight fires! It can be a bear to process. It’s hard on the saw, knotty and it doesn’t seem to grow straight around here.
     
  12. The Wood Wolverine

    The Wood Wolverine

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    ^^
    I did neglect to mention this. The bark is hard on chains. On occasion you can see sparks fly if you are cutting in low light conditions.




    Bear to split, I will definitely give you a ring next time an elm or gum tree is in my crosshairs. :handshake:
     
  13. Yawner

    Yawner

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    You mean you actually process gum? Sweetgum or black gum? Sweetgum smells bad when burned, tell me more. Black gum is about the gnarliest wood I've split, def akin to elm in stringiness!
     
  14. buZZsaw BRAD

    buZZsaw BRAD

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    My friend gets all of my hickory as i dont score it that often. Although this has been a banner year. I posted threads last month about them. Split some pignut the other day and was rather easy. Shag is the scarcest of the three around here. Older one near my PA i stop and admire often.
    As stated above, borers love it and powder in the stacks.
    My guess, oak is abundant and easier to split. I have hickory in my woods, but a tree here and there.
    Ill have to pay more attention to the leaf color next Fall. Most are gone here now. Some oaks and Beech still holding on to their leaves.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  15. MikeInMa

    MikeInMa

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    I have a hickory, about 8in diameter at base. It's been a healthy tree.

    The summer of 2018, I noticed a lot of shoots/branches sprouting from the lower trunk.

    This past spring, I noticed the top of the tree was dead. Top branches were breaking off.

    It's in the area where we had two oaks removed. The hickory wasn't physically damaged from the oak removals. It must have been emotionally damaged losing two friends.

    I'll see what it does next spring. Might need to take it down.
     
  16. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage

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    Hickory is a great wood but in most places it is hard to come by. There used to be lots of hickory around these parts but they are few and far between now. I have not had a hickory for so many years I don't remember when the last one was. So we'll be very happy to get oak.
     
  17. Horkn

    Horkn

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    Oak splits easier, but shagbark hickory has a lot more BTUs, and smells better than red oak. I've processed more shagbark than oak in my life, mostly because there's more shagbark hickory than oak on my wood lot.

    The shag bark is tough on chains, as I've seen a lot of Sparks over the years from the bark. When I buck up a big hickory, I know I'll need to switch chains a lot sooner than if I was bucking sugar maple or beech.
     
  18. Woodwhore

    Woodwhore

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    The shag bark carrys sand in it as it grows, all hickory on my property and it’s everywhere in my woodlot outback. Burns hot, tough to split by hand, dont leave it on the ground and if you fill your stove with it Expect everyone to be dressed for summer in the house. I have all the oaks and ash but the hickory is my favorite. Make sure you wear eye protection when cutting cus the shagbark will kick back and crap in your eyes. Big wood in my eyes before and it sucks
     

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  19. Horkn

    Horkn

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    Yes, absolutely wear eye and if possible face protection when cutting shagbark hickory. That bark will fly off and whack you in the face. BTDT, yes it hurts, especially when it's cold outside.
     
  20. Woodwhore

    Woodwhore

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    Branches whackin you in the face when its cold makes me turn into the hulk