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Thread: Use for Pecan wood -

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Allen, TX
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    Use for Pecan wood -

    I have a friend who's father had 2 30"+ diameter pecan trees uprooted by the tornados in OK recently. He's going to just let them rot. My friend is thinking about going up and taking them to a nearby saw mill - I get to help and get some of the lumber if we decide to do this.

    Question - is Pecan a good wood for woodworking? What would you make with it? I can't ever remember anything I've seen made out of Pecan.

    Any info on Pecan would be appreciated. Thanks.


    Perry

  2. #2
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    Feb 2003
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    Oak Ridge, NC
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    Pecan is close kin to hickory. The wood is almost identical in appearance. It makes great ax handles, but one or two of those is all most people need. It is also used in furniture and takes stains well. I'd go for it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lineville, Alabama
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    88

    Pretty Wood

    With that said it's the only attribute I know of Pecan. It is very unstable, movement with climate changes. Lots of splits and cracks. If you really want an opinion, I think I read a reply by Barbara Gil, where she has cut and used quite a bit. My impression was that she hated every minute of it.. So depends upon how much it will cost to get it worked up, whether I would want it or not.
    Jim Fuller Lineville, Al

  4. #4

    Pecan

    From what I have learned from the Saw Mill Owner where I get my lumber, I pretty much agree with what Jim posted. It is nice to look at, but I understand it can be a pain to work with. One thing I did learn about Pecan from my Saw Mill Buddy is that Pecan is great for BBQ'n and Smoker Cooking Meat. During my last visit to the Saw Mill, the owner gave be a big box of Pecan Chunks. He said he uses it all the time for BBQ'n and likes the flavor more than Hickory. I used some over the weekend, to smoke some Ribs and Pork Steaks, and I have to agree with him. The flavor is great, and the smoke smells delicious during the cooking. After he gave me the Pecan Chunks, I asked about Pecan Lumber, and was going to get a few boards to try out................he told me I probably wouldn't be too happy with Pecan for woodworking lumber, but he would sell me some if I wanted it. Needless to say, I took his advice and just came home with my Walnut and Cherry.

  5. #5
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    Wake Forest, NC
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    I guess I must be the only exception here. I've worked with and absolutely love hickory. It's hard and will burn if not machined with sharp tools. I have seen none of the horror stories told by others. I buy all mine kiln dried and haven't noticed it any more prone to movement than any other hardwood. I've made several sets of kitchen cabinets from it, including my own. I have one very wide door (24") and it moves about 1/8" during seasonal changes. I can't tell that the finish has even been broken on anything less than 16" wide.

    Don't know how much trouble you would have with air drying, but if it's kiln dried it's my preferred wood.

    Go for it!!

    Ron

  6. #6

    Hickory vs. Pecan

    While Pecan and Hickory are related species, the similarity in woodworking charactaristics pretty much ends there. There are many manufacturers using Hickory for Cabinetry, and it is beautiful, one of my favorites for Kitchen applications. However, Pecan is much different than Hickory. In looking at the Pecan Lumber at the Saw Mill, IMHO there is a substantial difference in the 2 species. In the limited experience I have had working Hickory, it works pretty much like White Oak, and a lot like Ash. It is a toss-up between Ash and Hickory when it comes to density...........they are both hard as the dickens! The Pecan I looked at had a different grain cell structure all together when compared to Hickory. I am curious now, and I may just pick up a board or two of Pecan and give it a whirl, just to see for myself. That is the only way to satisfy my curiousity.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Keene, TX
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    19

    Uses for pecan wood

    I have turned a number of items from dried pecan wood. Pattern can range from beautiful to so-so. have never had a bowl split after turning or sitting for several years. The canes which I have turned have been great. No complaints from customers. I have found that pecan wood varies depending upon type of soil, climate, etc. Missouri pecan seems to be nicer than most Texas pecan. Some boards are suitable for nice furniture.
    Doc

  8. #8
    I like Pecan wood for segmented bowl turning. Several years ago I also made some furniture from it. Beautiful hard wood. It has not split for me after processing. It will chunk off when turning from dry hardwood. The pain is worth the gain. Posting a photo of a pecan large salad bowl I just recently made. GTH
    Last edited by George Troy Hurlburt; 02-15-2006 at 10:54 PM.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2003
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    Batesville (North Central) Arkansas
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    OK.. I've been reading this post for several days

    Since I have a stack of 30 year old kiln dry, 3/4" FAS Pecan my uncle gave me, I have been real interested in this thread. I have to use it for something special to remember my Uncle by. It's random width average 6-8" and 10' long... 12 boards.

    Any Ideas ? I'm not in a hurry here. I'd like to get more skill before using it.

    I know some championship BBQ Teams that swear by Pecan for smoking. They prefer it and fruit woods (Apple & Pear) to hickory.
    Zack Jennings
    Refugee from the Pond

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Originally posted by Dr. Zack Jennings
    Since I have a stack of 30 year old kiln dry, 3/4" FAS Pecan my uncle gave me, I have been real interested in this thread. I have to use it for something special to remember my Uncle by. It's random width average 6-8" and 10' long... 12 boards.

    I know some championship BBQ Teams that swear by Pecan for smoking. They prefer it and fruit woods (Apple & Pear) to hickory.
    Those sound like nice boards...make some tables or cabinets with them to remember your uncle. You should have a few small unusable scraps left to enhance your culinary experiences, too...
    “Never raise your hands to your children, it leaves your groin unprotected.” - Red Buttons

    If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say -- talk in your sleep...

    Be safety conscious. 80% of people are caused by accidents.

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  11. #11
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    Feb 2003
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    Granbury, TX
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    Me too...

    I have been watching this thread closely as well.

    When I built my house 3 years ago, I had to cut down 5 pecan trees. By the time I got the logs to the mill (no woodmizer anywhere close), there were wood borers in them.

    Then the "mill" did a butcher job turning them into lumber...

    So I have a bunch of "boards" that have dried for 3 years that I may end up burning in the fireplace...or on the grill. I may still try to salvage a little lumber for small boxes, but I am not hopeful.

    I have to cut down 2 or possibly 4 more trees to build my workshop this winter or next spring.

    My thought is to offer them up to the local turners this time...
    Martin, Granbury, TX
    Student of the Shaker style

  12. #12
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    Feb 2003
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    Lafayette, IN
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    Why limit yourself to the local turners? Some of us a little farther are really quite open to benevolence, too.
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


  13. #13
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    Feb 2003
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    Granbury, TX
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    Jason,

    If you want to drive to Texas for some "free" pecan, be my guest....
    Martin, Granbury, TX
    Student of the Shaker style

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Allen, TX
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    Thanks everyone -

    Thanks for all the responses. I found the 'makes good firewood' comments entertaining - before I even posted this my neighbor who has a huge smoker he just made wants to go up w/ us and bring back a truck full of pecan for his smoker.

    Too bad I don't have a lathe...that sounds like where it'd be most useful. Depending on the cost to get it cut up still haven't decided if it's worth making lumber out of it - especially since I don't have a lot of places for wood storage.

    Thanks again - and thanks for the pic of the bowl. I was wondering how it'd finish up.

    Perry

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