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

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wahoowad

Minister of Fire
Hearth Supporter
Dec 19, 2005
1,677
Virginia
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.
 
I split lots of shagbark Hickory and it is not at all stringy.
 
White oak?
 
wahoowad said:
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.
Sounds like ELM .

Dylan said:
My guess is that the slow splitting 'action' of your splitter doesn't provide the momentum to the splits which would stretch and snap those fibers.

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.
 
Dylan said:
Roospike said:
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.

Are you saying that the 28 ton splitter IMPACTS with the TIP SPEED of a maul??

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.
 
Dylan said:
Roospike said:
Dylan said:
Roospike said:
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.

Are you saying that the 28 ton splitter IMPACTS with the TIP SPEED of a maul??

No , I dont think so. I have split ELM with a MAUL and a 28 ton splitter and again ......Speed dont 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.

Well then, I'll be blunt: Hickory CAN be stringy, but, as I said before, the energy imparted to the 'cleaves' by a fast moving maul, stretches the (attaching) 'stringy' fibers to the point that they snap. I guess I agree with Chris.....I have little problem.
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.
 
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 . ---> :)
 
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!
 
chrisN said:
I split lots of shagbark Hickory and it is not at all stringy.

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
 
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!!!)
 
Dylan said:
Roospike said:
Dylan said:
Roospike said:
Dylan said:
Roospike" date="1162083129 said:
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.

Are you saying that the 28 ton splitter IMPACTS with the TIP SPEED of a maul??

No , I dont think so. I have split ELM with a MAUL and a 28 ton splitter and again ......Speed dont 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.

Well then, I'll be blunt: Hickory CAN be stringy, but, as I said before, the energy imparted to the 'cleaves' by a fast moving maul, stretches the (attaching) 'stringy' fibers to the point that they snap. I guess I agree with Chris.....I have little problem.
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.

Negative on that. I'm only addressing hickory, as that is a species with which I have some experience. Any elm that I've burned so far has not required splitting, though there MIGHT be some in my future....it was dead 'on the stem' and HAS been CUT to length. I'll be experimenting with some wedges and a three-pound hand sledge, splitting it just small enough to get it into the stove.
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
Dylan said:
DavidV said:
....Iknow exactly which tree you are talking about. And to those who say they can whack it apart with a maul....I"ll kiss your $#$ if you can.

I DO hope we're not confusing this tree with sweetgum, which, although I never cut or split (It doesn't grow up here in New England, except as an ornamental.) it, I've heard (on this forum) that it's a PITA to split AND that it grows readily in Virginia.

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.
 
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.
 
Dylan said:
Sandor said:
Dylan said:
DavidV said:
....Iknow exactly which tree you are talking about. And to those who say they can whack it apart with a maul....I"ll kiss your $#$ if you can.

I DO hope we're not confusing this tree with sweetgum, which, although I never cut or split (It doesn't grow up here in New England, except as an ornamental.) it, I've heard (on this forum) that it's a PITA to split AND that it grows readily in Virginia.

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.

I agree (palmate lobes vs pinnate leaflets), but thought, POSSIBLY, David was identifying based, solely, upon "bark".

OK. A split of hickory looks much different than Gum!
 
NY Soapstone wrote:
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

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

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

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wahoowad said:
Hickory on the left, oak on the right, tulip poplar on the bottom.

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.
 
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?
 
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).
 
wahoowad said:
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.

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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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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