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I have just cut down a sizeable hickory tree in my backyoard but was told it's not very friendly for making furniture with. I hate to waste it, can it be used for anything besides bats or ax handles?
You don't have to waste any of it! Hickory is really pretty wood, and not much more difficult to work with than many of the other hardwoods. The larger pieces of your tree can be turned into lumber, and even the smaller pieces can be put on a lathe and turned into bowls or vases.
When you think you've gotten all the useful pieces for your woodshop, take the scraps and your favorite meat out to the smoker and make dinner.
If I had any kind of wood I would try it in some kind of furniture. As example, I've always been told that basswood was perfect and only good for carving, but not for furniture.
I made my own test and I built furniture with basswood as well as five indoor panel doors and all the trims for the new house I built in 1980. Check this bed I made for my daugher in the '80s (and the trims). By the way, my grand-daughter is sleeping in one of them !
Click on pictures to enlarge.
You have hickory !, go for it. But don't forget to have it kiln dried !
Learn from yesterday - Work today - Enjoy success tomorrow
I use hickory a lot for making chests, small tables, and cabinets. It can be trying at times when you use hand tools - because it tends to be stringy & can run-out on you - it reminds me a little of red oak; as far as machineing the lumber, there's really no problems if everthing is sharp and cutting cleanly. It can have some really interesting patterns to it - so if I were you I'd cut it up & air dry it for a couple of years & enjoy it's beauty.
I made a set of kitchen cabinets for my wifes mother a couple of years ago out of hickory. It is very nice wood to work with , if your saw blades and cutter knives are sharp. The different shades and colors of the wood compliment the finished product very well. So go for it after all free wood is free wood . Hickory is not cheap if you have to buy it..
cgriff here. I used hickory to make some built in shelving for my neighbor in their bathroom. They already had a hickory vanity and wanted to match it. It finishes up to be a wood with a lot of personality however, it is a hard wood and needs to be worked with sharp instruments. How the boards are cut and cured will probably make a lot of difference. The boards I used were milled to a rough finish and dried already.
My kitchen cabinets are made of hickory and they are great looking. I did not make them myself but I inspected them very carefully when they were installed and found zero flaws.
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The only issue I can tell you is that Hickory tends to burn when you rip it if you don't keep it moving at a constant rate. Other than that, it finishes well and has a nice grain pattern.