Drying hickory lumber

Avoiding sticker stain and bugs in hickory lumber. December 12, 2000

I plan to log some hickory trees in the next couple of weeks and mill them into lumber. Is hickory susceptible to sticker stain? I will shed dry until next spring, when Ill put it in a solar kiln. When I cut hickory for firewood the hickory worms attack it and there will always be piles of sawdust under the firewood pile. Will hickory worms work on lumber?

Forum Responses
We have cut some hickory and it does stain from the stickers if you use anything but cottonwood. We have some more logs to cut soon and they may not be any good as I see worm holes in the bark.

I have experience with 2000+ bf of hickory and it was stickered with dry pine firring strips, with no resulting sticker stain.

Hickory will turn different colors depending on the speed of drying. So, with stickers that are wet, you will see stain. If the wood between the stickers dries faster than the wood under the stickers, you will see stain. If the logs are old (4 weeks of warm weather), then color differences will be enhanced when drying rates are different.

Insect damage is always a risk when they are around. However, all except termites and lyctid powder post will not be present in dry lumber--so dry it ASAP.

Gene Wengert, forum technical expert

Powder post beetles love hickory and ash. Before I would sticker the green hickory, Id treat the lumber with an approved insecticide for powder beetle control. Stack your lumber properly outside with protection to get quicker drying from the outside winds. Don't forget to seal the ends of your lumber. In a few months, move the lumber pile(s) inside your shed.

The powderpost beetle in ash and hickory is not the same one that gets into dry lumber. In green lumber it is the anobiid beetle; in dry, the lyctid. Small holes in green lumber might be due to the ambrosia beetle, but the anobiid beetle is larger than the lyctid by an 1/8 inch.

Ambrosia beetles can be controlled by good yard sanitation (clean up the old wood, sawdust, etc.). Likewise for anobiid.

Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor