Ash vs Hickory Wood | Which wood is better?

Hickory wood is stronger, durable and more shock resistant than Ash wood. Ash wood is not rot resistant so it is not suitable for outdoor purposes whereas Ash wood can be used for outdoor purposes. But ash wood is easier to work with than hickory wood because the density of ash wood is less.

Ash Wood

Ash wood is durable, attractive, and, least expensive. It is a light-brown colored, straight, and smooth-grained hardwood. It is preferred for making it beautiful furniture and for its natural appearance. Ash wood is light in weight, shock resistant and easy to operate with tools.

Eighteen species of ash are found, some of the main species are as follows: White Ash Wood, Black Ash Wood, Green Ash Wood, and many more. The physical properties of all ash species are slightly different from each other such as hardness, weight, and shrinkage.

Ash trees are medium to large deciduous trees of the genus Fraxinus. There should be a good environment for the tree to reach its maximum height. Ash trees grow best in rich, moist, well-drained soils to medium size.

Hickory Wood

Hickory wood is an extremely strong, durable and stable hardwood. It is one of the hardest domestic hardwoods. It is a brown to reddish-brown, straight or wavy hardwood.

Hickory wood has a medium texture and natural appearance. Due to the high density and heavier weight, it is not easy to work with. Hickory wood is readily available in the United States at a moderate price.

Hickory is a medium to large deciduous tree. There are about 18 species of hickory, 12 of which are native to North America and 5 to 6 species are native to China. Some of the major species are as follows: Shagbark Hickory, and Pignut Hickory.

#Ash WoodHickory Wood
Scientific name:FraxinusCarya
Tree size:40 to 60 feet tall, 2-5 ft (.6-1.5 m) trunk diameter65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 1-2 ft (.3-.6 m) trunk diameter
Wood color:Beige or light brownBrown or reddish-brown
Rot resistance:Not resistant to insect attackSusceptible to insect attack.
Workability:GoodDifficult to work
Availability:Available domesticallyEasily available
Durability:GoodOverall good
Uses:Flooring, millwork, boxes/crates, baseball bats, and other turned objects such as tool handles.Tool handles, ladder rungs, wheel spokes, flooring, etc.

Ash vs Hickory wood uses

Ash wood uses 


To make a parcel box and crates, the wood needs to be light and strong. With sufficient strength, it can hold heavy goods. Being lightweight, it is convenient to transport heavy products.

Molding and Millwork

Ash Wood is easy to carve and mold with small tools. Also, It responds well to steam bending. So ash wood can be a good option for molding and Millwork.

Other uses

Some species of ash wood are used for building construction. Because they have great strength and density. 

Hickory wood uses

Tool and sports handles

Hickory has more shock-resistant properties compared to ash wood. It is very hard, heavy, and strong. Therefore it can be a suitable wood for making tool handles and baseball bats.

Common uses


Ash Wood and Hickory Wood both are widely used for making fine furniture. The hardness and other physical properties of this wood are suitable for making furniture.

Hickory Wood is more resistant to scratches and damage because it is very hard and durable. Hickory requires low maintenance and care. Ash and hickory wood is a very attractive option for quality furniture and cabinetry. 


Ash Wood and Hickory hardwoods are attractive, stable, and durable. It has a great natural quality to make a uniform wooden floor. 

Light-colored flooring has been preferred as this light hardwood hides dirt and scuffs better, making it easier to maintain.

Hickory is darker than ash wood and has more prominent knots. After stains, they look very similar to each other.


Ash wood color and grain

The heartwood is light to medium brown in color whereas sapwood tends to be a beige or light brown. There is not much difference in the color of heartwood and sapwood. But there is a difference in physical properties. The heartwood of Ash Wood gets darker over time.

Generally ash wood has straight grain though sometimes moderately curly. It has a medium to coarse texture.

Hickory wood color and grain

The Heartwood tends to be light to medium brown, with a reddish hue and sapwood is a paler yellowish-brown. The color of the heartwood of Pignut Hickory is slightly darker than the others Hickory species.

Generally, grain is straight, though occasionally wavy, with a low-medium texture. Pores are open.


Ash Wood Workability

Working with ash wood is very easy and Produces good results with almost all types of tools. Wood is easy to bend. Glues, stains, and finishes well.

The best thing about light-colored wood is that it can be easily stained in any color. Due to the large pore structure, Ash Wood accepts stains evenly.

Hickory Wood Workability

Working with Hickory wood is not as easy as Ash Wood. The cutting blade should be sharp or else tear-out is a common problem. Glues, stains, and finishes well.

Generally, hickory wood can also be easily stained. But stains will not penetrate easily as compared to the ash wood Because Hickory wood has closed pores and tight grain. 


By the way, ash wood, and hickory wood require basic maintenance. But ash wood needs some more attention because it has a large pore. Which absorbs moisture fast. Whereas the pores of hickory wood are medium-sized.

Well, no wood is immortal. All types of wood require regular maintenance. Keep away from bad weather for long use. Some wood performs better for a period even in poor maintenance. It depends on the environment where you use it and wood quality. 

Which wood is better for outdoor use?

Ash Wood is not suited for outdoor applications. It starts rotting when exposed to weather and soil. Ash Wood Heartwood is rated as perishable, it is also not resistant to insect attacks.

Mountain Ash (commonly known as Victorian Ash) has moderate insect resistance.

Hickory Wood heartwood is considered to be nondurable to decay, and also very susceptible to insect attack. But Hickory wood is more suitable for outdoor uses as compared to ash wood with regular care.


Ash Wood and Hickory wood both are great hardwoods. They are known for their natural color and great workability. These physical properties are different from each other such as color and hardness. It is used on the basis of these properties. You can choose them as per your requirement.