And then, there was Hickory
Nature can be generous to some, and stingy to others. In the case of Hickory, it definitely has been generous, very generous.
Being one of the most sought out types of wood - not only for its hardness, but also for its nuts (well over 12 species of Hickory trees are native to North America, and can be found spread all the way, from Mexico to Canada).
But what makes hickory so sought out, is not a particular characteristic, but a whole set of them; this makes hickory one interesting contender in the hardwood flooring industry.
Don't just look at hardness
Rated 1820 Pounds-Force in the
Janka Hardness Test scale
, hickory is hard enough to make it a prime candidate in the use of tools (many steel tools have hickory wood for handles), paddles, lacrosse stick handles, drum-sticks, and even the bottom layer of skis. It even replaced Ash and Hazel after 1860's until late 1930's in the manufacturing of golf club shafts, before steel took its place.
Another well-known use of Hickory, is in wood-burning stoves, thanks to its high energy content. Considered "King of smoking woods", cooking barbecue with Hickory is popular in the United States, as it is highly abundant, and it provides a unique, sweet, almost 'bacon-y' flavour to meat.
The question is easy to answer. Hickory, although not as highly rated in hardness, is stiff, dense, and most importantly, incredibly shock resistant. All in one. No wonder why it has been in use for so long in the manufacturing of so many different products.
So what does this all mean when it comes to hardwood flooring?
The combination of strength, toughness, hardness, and stiffness found in hickory wood is not found in any other commercial wood. Its shock resistance makes it perfect for highly trafficked areas, and its high density makes it difficult for drinks and other liquids to sip into the wood. This inherit low stain-ability, makes it the number one option for kitchens and dinning areas.
Thanks to its combined characteristics, Hickory is one durable wood species, albeit a bit pricier than other contenders. But the extra cost is a good investment. Hickory floors are tough, unmatched against impacts, and classy looking.
Like most hardwood flooring species, it comes in various grades and shades. Its natural colour is beautiful and radiant, providing the warmth every kitchen and dinning room should have. Lower grades of Hickory can be found from deep reds and browns, to almost white shades.