Hickory is a classic firewood prized by many wood burners, but what makes it so good to burn?
This article will examine the properties that give hickory its stellar reputation.
- Hickory is one of the densest and hardest firewoods, giving it excellent heat output and longevity for burning.
- Despite the hardness, hickory bark is thin so the logs light easily with minimal kindling needed.
- A hickory fire can burn for up to 4 hours, making overnight burns possible. The coals also last a long time.
- Hickory burns hot with vigorous flames, making it great for fireplaces, wood stoves, and cooking in cold weather.
- The challenge with hickory is that it's very difficult to split due to the density and interlocking grain. A quality maul and wedge are needed.
- While requiring more work to prepare, hickory's excellent burning qualities make it one of the best choices for firewood overall.
Hard and Dense
One of the standout qualities of hickory is its hardness. It's among the densest firewoods available.
The dense grain contains a lot of energy and heat output.
Pound for pound, hickory generates more heat than lighter softwoods. This makes it an excellent choice for colder weather when you need warming fires.
Easy to Light
Despite the hardness, hickory bark is thin. This makes hickory easy to ignite compared to woods with thicker bark.
You don't need as much kindling to get a hickory log lit.
The wood catches fire readily and is simple to start with a match.
Long Burn Time
Once lit, hickory burns for a long time. Its density means the combustion rate is slow as the fire gradually consumes the tightly packed grains.
One log can sustain a fire for up to 4 hours, making overnight burns possible if you have enough wood.
This helps limit the number of times you need to restart the fire.
The high energy content of hickory means it burns hot. You'll get vigorous flames and glowing coals from a hickory fire.
It puts out plenty of heat, making it an excellent choice for fireplaces and wood stoves in cold weather.
The heat output also suits cooking fires for grilling or campfires where you want strong flames.
In addition to hot flames, hickory produces long-lasting coals as it burns. The coals hold heat well to keep the fire going.
Hickory coals are ideal for cooking as they generate uniform heat for an even roast or grill.
The coals burn down slowly, which is handy for overnight warmth.
Challenging to Split
The tradeoff for all the good burning qualities of hickory is that it can be very difficult to split compared to softer woods.
Hickory's hardness and interlocking grain patterns mean it requires quite a bit of chopping.
You'll want to have a quality maul and wedge to split hickory logs.