Hickory is the hardest, heaviest and strongest North American wood in common everyday use. The heartwood is brown to reddish-brown. The very wide and nearly
white sapwood is considered more valuable than the heartwood. The luster is medium, and odor and taste are not distinct. The texture is rather coarse, and
the grain is usually straight but sometimes wavy or irregular.
The working properties are excellent provided tools are sharp. It is hard to nail without splitting, but finishes very smoothly. No finish is used in many
applications, such as tool handles, but it will finish satisfactorily with varnish or oil stains. Bending properties are excellent.
Of all hardwoods, hickory is the best wood for handles for axes, hammers, hatchets, and picks and nearly 80% if used for this purpose.