Hickory may be one of the country's least known domestic hardwoods, but of late it has gained increased popularity in the cabinetry and flooring markets. The wood is hard, dense and relatively inexpensive; all fine attributes in today's economy. Originally known for years as the best species for handles on axes, hatchets, picks and hammers, hickory has enjoyed a slight rejuvenation in demand during the last several years.
"It's not a huge deal, but it is a steady seller," says Jerry Anton, a wholesaler with O'Shea Lumber in Glen Rock, Pa. "We have some customers who regularly buy it; normally the lower grades for flooring and even some of the No. 1 common for cabinets. But also some of the uppers and even the commons for cabinets if they are doing the character mark, and some of them want what they call the calico, which is a two-color kind of thing for more character. We do a steady business with it, but it is not one of our top dogs. But we seem to see more and more people asking about it over the past couple of years."