Hickory vs Pecan Wood | Differences, Uses & Workability

Hickory wood is more resistant to scratches and damage than Pecan because Hickory is very hard and dense. Hickory can be a little tricky to work with. Botanically, pecans come from hickory trees. Hickory can be divided into two groups:  true-hickory, and pecan-hickory.

True HickoryPecan Hickory
Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra)Water Hickory (Carya aquatica)
Shellbark Hickory (Carya laciniosa)Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis)
Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)
Mockernut Hickory (Carya tomentosa)Nutmeg Hickory (Carya myristiciformis)

True Hickory (Carya)

Generally, Hickory heartwood tends to be light to medium brown. It has a straight, though occasionally wavy grain with a medium texture and a natural appearance. There are about 18 deciduous species of hickory, 12 species are native to North America and 6 species are native to China.

Pecan Hickory (Carya illinoinensis) 

Pecan wood is light to medium brown colored, straight-grained hardwood. It is available in many color variants. So we get many color options in pecans such as light, dark and reddish. The color of pecan wood depends on the environment of its native place.

Pecan is a strong, hard, and shock-resistant wood. Mainly it is used to make tools hands and floor. Pecan is not naturally decay-resistant. Pecan is durable for interior applications. It is not a good choice for external applications.

There are about 18 deciduous species of hickory. Pecan is one of these species of hickory. It is native to the southern United States and northern Mexico.

Whereas, Hickory vs Pecan belongs to the same species. Therefore, there is not much difference in their physical properties.

The table below shows the difference between hickory and pecan.

#Hickory woodPecan wood
Tree size:65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 1-2 ft (.3-.6 m) trunk diameter65-130 ft (20-40 m) tall, 1-3 ft (.3-1.0 m) trunk diameter
Wood color:Light to medium brownLight to medium brown
Rot resistance:Susceptible to insect attack.Non-durable, Susceptible to insect attack
Workability:Difficult to workOverall good
Availability:Easily availableEasily Available
Durability:Overall goodOverall good

Hickory vs Pecan Wood Uses

Tool and sports handles

Hickory wood is very hard, heavy, and strong and it has excellent shock-resistant properties. Which can withstand low to medium shock well. All species of hickory are suitable for making tool handles and baseball bats.

Ladder Rungs

Hickory is particularly resistant to suddenly applied loads. It is not only hard but also strong and stable in every condition. Hickory was used for ladder rungs a long time ago.


Pecan wood is widely used for making doors, and window frames. The density of all the species of Pecan is medium to hard and the grain is straight and wavy.

Furniture and cabinet

Hickory vs Pecan has qualities of strength, stability, and durability that make hickory and pecan wood an ideal choice for making durable and quality furniture and cabinets. 


Hickory and Pecan hardwoods are stable and durable. But Hickory Wood is more resistant to scratches and damage because it is very hard as compared to pecan wood. Hickory requires low maintenance and care.


Heartwood tends to be light to medium brown, with a reddish hue. While the sapwood is a paler yellowish-brown. 

The color appearance of True Hickory and Pecan Wood is almost identical but not exactly the same. True hickory has a more uniform color and grain. Whereas the heartwood of pecan wood has a more rustic appearance.

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


The wood density of True Hickory is higher than that of Pecan Hickory. True hickory hardness can range from 1900 to 2000 lbf or more. Whereas the hardness of pecan hickory can range from 1500 to 2000 lbf.


True hickory and pecan hickory wood are not easy to work with all types of tools. The cutting blade should be sharp otherwise the wood tends to blunt cutting edges. Glues, stains, and finishes well.

By the way, working with Pecan hickory is easier than with true hickory. 

Generally, true hickory wood can also be stained. But stains will not penetrate easily as compared to pecan wood because true Hickory wood has closed pores and tight grain. While pecan wood has a medium open pores grain. 


All species of hickory are readily available at a low to moderate price. The cost of true hickory is more than pecan wood.

Generally, the price of wood depends on many factors. A-grade lumber has the highest price because it does not contain any defects. 

By buying from the native place of wood, you can always get it at a low price. Some stores offer good discounts on bulk purchases.


Hickory and pecan wood are tough and durable. Hickory wood requires less care than other hardwoods.

We know that every wood has its limits. Regular maintenance is required to make the wood last for a long time.

Generally, Hardwood requires less maintenance as compared to softwood.

The grain of True Hickory is close and the density is high. For this reason, we can say that true hickory will perform better in humidity and require less care than pecan hickory.

Some wood species perform better in poor maintenance. It depends on the environment where you use it and the wood quality. 

Paint and polish can protect the wood for a long time. The paint and polish form a layer that protects the wood from outdoor elements.

Is hickory wood good for firewood?

Hickory is one of the best woods for burning. It is much finer than other hardwoods such as oak, maple, and other popular hardwoods.

Hickory is high-quality firewood, It generates high heat, burns longer, and is easy to burn. It doesn’t give much smoke.

Hickory is a dense hardwood. It can be a bit difficult to split it but once it burns it burns very smoothly.

The BTU value of Hickory is 28 million BTU/cord. Which is quite impressive. 

A British thermal unit (Btu) is a measure of the heat content of fuels or energy sources


Hickory and Pecan hardwood both are quite similar to each other such as color, hardness, and other. It is so similar to each other that many people get confused in identifying them.

They are known for their hardness, durability, and beauty. It is used on the basis of these properties. You can choose them as per your requirement.