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Stringy wood sucks. Is hickory a stringy wood to split?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by wahoowad, Oct 28, 2006.

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  1. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I think I have Pignut (also called Smoothbark) Hickory as per my Audobon Tree Guide. Running some 8" to 12" rounds through my Ryobi splitter and having to pull the dang stringy splits apart sucks. These are my first hickory logs and I hadn't heard folks complain about it. Wondering if I have something else than hickory...? The leaf matches super close in my field guide though.

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  2. ChrisN

    ChrisN Feeling the Heat

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    I split lots of shagbark Hickory and it is not at all stringy.
  3. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Elm?
  4. ourhouse

    ourhouse Minister of Fire

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    White oak?
  5. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Sounds like ELM .

    I split ELM with a 28 ton gas splitter and "speed" does not help with splitting that stringy stuff.
    The nice thing about the bigger full size splitters and ELM is when its splits you can pull it apart with out the splitter moving. Just leave the wedge in the wood and pull it apart.
  6. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    No , I dont think so. I have split ELM with a MAUL and a 28 ton splitter and again ......Speed does not seem to make a difference with ELM.

    If maybe your reading into the statement deeper than how it was written and think i was saying that a 28 ton splitter is faster at tip speed then "no" to that too.
  7. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Is your theory just to Hickory or are you splitting ELM in the same fahion as well ?
    I myself have yet to hear of the "best" way to split elm with out the strings holding it together.
  8. KateC

    KateC New Member

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    EEEP! :gulp:


    I'll just be a-tippy-toein' outa here now

    :red: :)
  9. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Hum ............. I didnt think it was like that .

    Maybe i need to add a smiley . hahah

    Here Dylan , This goes with my last NON-baiting question . ---> :)
  10. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    It is hickory. It is stringy, at least compared to the poplar, white oak, red oak, sassafras, locust and cherry I split right along side it. Those split cleanly, what didn't split cleanly was pulled apart effortlessly. I had to fight the hickory with every split. I had to stand on it and pull or even use the machette! Definately hickory - I had the leave still attached to some logs!
  11. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

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    I just split some of that for the first time today - you are right about that!

    I had cut the tree back this summer to open up some more sun to my garden, and left the rounds stacked up. Finally got around to splitting it today and I would say it's my favorite of anything I've split so far aside from ash which makes anyone look like a stud when you easily bust up a 18" round of it :)

    Already have a huge dead ash to take down but will also be looking around our land for some more shagbarks to thin this winter.

    -Colin
  12. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Big sigh.... Elm sucks...Hickory might as well be ash compared to elm.... White oak can be pretty stringy, so can sycamore, but elm is the king of stringy...Spike has is right...speed is not what it takes to split elm. I split a lot of it with a 6 lb maul and at this point I can swing that thing darned fast. Once the round cracks, it takes repeated blows to chop, or bludgen my way through the strings that are left. I've split hickory in my days, and it's nothing compared to elm

    did I mention that I hate elm? (it does heat the house better than pine though!!!)
  13. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Well if you do come up with something faster or magic splitting method for Elm make sure you post your findings.

    I split ELM in the winter time as green and seasoned per gas splitter and Maul and have also split ELM in the summer green and seasoned per gas splitter and Maul ..........
    Nothing seems to be a hands down faster way that i have found.
  14. day52

    day52 New Member

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    My experience has been that a forest tree will be straighter grained and easier to split than a field tree. Also the woods trees will not have as much grit embedded in shagbark as field or yard trees will--a lot easier on the saw. All the pignut I've worked with has been stringier than than the shagbark, but better than elm--lots more heat and is fairly manageable. Of course the only elm we get around here is only up to a foot across or so. Bugs and disease almost always get them by then.
  15. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    Wahoowad I am only about 60 miles from you and Iknow exactly which tree you are talking about. By the leaves I also believe it is Hickory. The bark is pretty smooth untill the tree gets older and starts to get some more features in the bark. And yes it's stringy as hell. I keep a very sharp Phillipino jungle knife outside with me when I'm splittle that stuff so I can just cut the strings instead of fighting it. it is VERY close to elm in it's PITA factor. And to those who say they can whack it apart with a maul....I"ll kiss your $#$ if you can. The only success I've had with getting clean splits from that stuff is when it's frozen. Get a string of days where it's in the teens and you can load up on it and bust it apart with the 8 lb'r.
    I have another variety of Hickory that splits like butter but is hard as kech on my saw.
  16. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Sweet Gum do readily grow in Va. But I really do not know how you can confuse a gum and hickory. The leaves are totally different.
  17. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    Gum is different. not fibery at all, just doesn't split. Burns ok and you can make nice bowls from it. Got a ton of it in the back yard rotting away because it isn't worth the effort to split.
  18. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    OK. A split of hickory looks much different than Gum!
  19. ChrisN

    ChrisN Feeling the Heat

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    NY Soapstone wrote:
    Colin, If you had fun splitting that hickory, just wait until you burn it. It is my favorite species in the Jotul!

    Chris
  20. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Hickory on the left, oak on the right, tulip poplar on the bottom.

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  21. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    WOW, that Hickory does look nasty. I haven't come across anything that looks like that yet. except elm.

    Some of the old oak I have can get a little stringy, but doesn't require literally cutting the strands like the elm or that hickory.
  22. Loft32

    Loft32 Member

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    I'm bringing up an old thread...

    I've got alot of shagbark hickory on the property and I just felled one for the first time - about 2' diameter at the base and quite healthy. I'm having a bear of a time splitting the rounds. I thought I cut them fairly short at about 18", but maybe not short enough.

    My 10 lb. maul just bounces off of it...and when it finally does split, it's really stringy and I've got to fight each split to get them apart. Should I just stack the rounds and let them dry out for a month or so? Will that help? Any advice?
  23. bambam

    bambam Member

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    Just dropped a hickory about 3 feet across at the stump, wait until it is frozen and it will split much easier. I think it is because the when it is froze the strands tend to swell and that leaves the wedge, maul, or splitter seperate the strands much easier, I think I heard that before. I do know it is best to have a hatchet or something to cut the strings is worth its weight in oil (beats getting a hernia).
  24. WOODBUTCHER

    WOODBUTCHER Minister of Fire

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    I've split both Pignut and shagbark, if it's green it can get stringy and or pretty hairy around knots and y's.
    In the srping of 2007 we got a whole grapple load of pignut and shagbark, it was green and heavy........you will never mistake hickory again after lifting and splitting 4 cords of it in one day.
    It splits better in log form after about 12 months.

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  25. WOODBUTCHER

    WOODBUTCHER Minister of Fire

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    Some hickory bark variations and some "hairy" pieces.
    The wood pictured is close to 2 years old and the heartwood has lost some color.

    WB

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