The wood of the true hickory is used for tool handles, ladder rungs, athletic goods, agricultural implements, dowels, gymnasium apparatus, poles and furniture. Knotted, low grade hickory is useful for pallets and similar items. Hickory sawdust, chips and some solid wood are used to flavor meat by smoking.
The sapwood of hickory is white and usually quite thick, except in old, slow-growing trees. The heartwood is reddish. The wood of pecan resembles that of true hickory.
True hickories are found throughout most of the eastern half of the United States. The species most important commercially are shagbark, pignut, shellbark, and mockernut. The Southern and South Atlantic states produce nearly half of all hickory lumber. Species of the pecan group include bitternut hickory, pecan, water hickory, and nutmeg hickory.
The wood of hickory and pecan is exceptionally tough, heavy, hard, strong, and shrinks considerably in drying.