What is character grade Hickory?

Posted: August 21, 2023

Character-grade Hickory flooring is most often produced by a technique called “live-sawn”. A live-sawn board, like the ones found in our rustic Hickory flooring, is rich and variable in color with distinctive natural characteristics due to the way it’s cut from the log. Live sawn is a method of sawing lumber that involves cutting the entire log in a continuous manner, incorporating both the heartwood and sapwood layers. This results in a mix of grain patterns and colors that showcase the full range of the tree’s growth rings. We’re going to cover the several factors that contribute to the vibrant color and natural character of character-grade Hickory flooring.


  1. Varied Grain Patterns: Character-grade Hickory captures a wide range of grain patterns, including straight, wavy, and even some unique irregularities. This mix of patterns and colors adds visual interest and depth to the wood.
  2. Color Variations: The heartwood of Hickory tends to be darker in color, often ranging from reddish-brown to deep brown, while the sapwood can be much lighter, ranging from creamy white to pale yellow. By including both heartwood and sapwood in the same board, character-grade Hickory flooring displays a captivating interplay of colors.
  3. Growth Rings: The growth rings in Hickory are distinct and pronounced, especially in live-sawn boards. These rings vary in width and color, which contributes to the wood’s character and creates stark contrasts between different sections of the wood.
  4. Knots and Burls: Hickory trees can develop knots, burls, and other natural irregularities. These features are often highlighted in live-sawn lumber, adding a rustic and unique character to the wood.
  5. Natural Imperfections: Character-grade Hickory preserves natural imperfections such as insect tracks, mineral streaks, and small cracks. These imperfections tell the story of the tree’s life and growth, enhancing the wood’s overall visual appeal.
  6. Stability: Lives sawn lumber tends to be more stable than other types of cuts because the growth rings are oriented in a more uniform manner. This stability makes live-sawn Hickory suitable for a variety of applications, including flooring, cabinets, furniture, and much more.

Overall, the combination of the live-sawn cutting technique and the inherent characteristics of Hickory wood results in a visually striking and stunningly beautiful material that will be an endless conversation piece for all to see.

Our knowledgeable and educated staff is here to answer any additional questions you may have about our character-grade Hickory flooring. Please call us today for a free quote: Ph# 406.642.7120 or click here to submit an inquiry online. We look forward to working with you on your next project!