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Hickory has character and is sorted for color


Hickory, sorted for consistent color, is moving well, according to several hardwood dealers interviewed by Woodshop News.

“It’s always been popular for being a character grade wood for flooring or cabinetry,” explains Carl Mahlstedt of Goosebay Sawmill & Lumber in Chichester, N.H.

“The character grade was pretty popular for a while but it’s kind of died down on our end. I’ve been selling more select than character recently. The select is more uniform in color. You can still get the two-toned, but in the select you don’t get as much of the calico colors with almost three tones or more.

“I’ve always liked the character grade more myself,” adds Mahlstedt. “It goes in phases. People want that more rustic look with knots. I’ve sold more at points but if somebody is looking for a character grade wood it’s definitely one of the more go-to woods. It’s an easy seller. If somebody is asking for character and I show them that, it typically sells itself.”

Chad Muterspaw of C.R. Muterspaw Lumber in Xenia, Ohio notes strong demand for hickory, from clear to rustic, and a growing interest in color-sorted pieces for a uniform color.

“We do a lot of calico and that’s still the most popular, but we also sort for more of a solid tan color or a solid white. In the last couple of years, I’ve seen more people wanting specific colors in it. They’re people who want the durability of hickory and they like the look but don’t want all that color variation. So, they’ll go for that solid tan and get more of a consistent brown color or occasionally go where it’s sorted for white.”

Rustic hickory (4/4) is selling for about $4/bf; color sorted goes for about $4.65/bf. 

This article originally appeared in the August 2020 issue.

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