Drying Hickory with the Bark

      Secrets of preserving the bark on Hickory during drying. April 18, 2010

I am cutting a lot of bitternut hickory trees this year and have a good supply of tops. I would like to try a go at some hickory furniture with the bark intact. Does anyone have experience with this, specifically drying the bark? I was planning on using a clear coat of catalyzed lacquer finish, but how slowly do I need to dry the limbs prior to application of the finish? I do have a Nyle dry kiln so I can dry to a specific moisture content and regulate the process, but have no experience drying limbs in order to keep the bark intact.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor S:
You have to start with a fresh cut living tree. Anything past two weeks old, you have very little hope of saving the bark. If you have plenty of branches, experiment with your kiln. Trial and error is your best learning tool.

The way I figured it out is, have your kiln load almost done with the heat above 130 f. Leave in for 36 hours, and pull out of kiln for 24 hours. Put them back in for 2 days, watching the ends for cracking (cracking is good). Look at the bark - you don't want any cracks there. There is no exact science on this. If the branches feel lighter, you're probably okay. Before you put any sealer on, use a pin nailer in a few spots to help hold the bark on.

From contributor A:
For bark on hickory, fell in the fall and winter and put the sticks in the kiln the day it is cut. The faster the better. It is a crapshoot at best. I just stick them in the kiln with whatever is in there and whatever MC.

From contributor P:
I have built hickory furniture, bark on, for over twenty-five years. I harvest in the winter months, storing it inside and out till spring, when I try to have it all up and in the dry. If I let it go past May, it will get Bostricid beetles. I have stored hickory green for months before kiln drying in a Nyle system kiln, without any degradation at all. I have delivered thousands of pieces of hickory furniture over the years and have never had a piece returned for slipped or loose bark.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Furniture

  • KnowledgeBase: Furniture: General

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Air Drying Lumber

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Kiln Operation

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article