Bark On, Bark Off

One thing that makes hickory furniture unique from other types of furniture is its bark. Many of our furniture pieces are made using hickory saplings (young trees) that have been harvested in an environmentally friendly way. The saplings are cut in the winter months when the sap level is down, which allows the bark to stay on the core. As is expected, bark patterns are unique to each sapling so every piece is one-of-a-kind.

Bark is never left completely natural and untouched, as some sanding and finishing is necessary. We currently offer two “bark textures:" Regular Bark and Tahoe Bark. Regular Bark is a more natural texture with minimal sanding while Tahoe Bark is heavily sanded and leaves the wood smoother while revealing more variation in color. Some refer to these options as “rough bark” or “smooth bark,” but due to the inherent differences in hickory trees the roughness/smoothness will vary among pieces. However, “rough” and “smooth” are easy ways to remember the difference between the two.

(From Left to Right) Tahoe Bark, Regular Bark

So what is the “best” bark texture for your furniture? The answer is… it depends! Many factors can influence your selection including, but not limited to setting, style, purpose, or area of use:

  1. Setting – Rustic settings typically prefer the Regular Bark because of its natural and authentic look, a more refined setting lends itself to the smoother and more sophisticated Tahoe bark texture

  2. Style – Mountain Modern style favors more refined or smoother textures, whereas an Adirondack style tends to have more natural texture

  3. Purpose – A formal dining room would likely use the smoother bark option to avoid snagging ties or delicate clothing, but regular bark is at home in relaxed and informal rooms

  4. Area of Use – We encourage Tahoe Bark (smooth) for any Old Hickory Furniture used in covered porch or covered outdoor settings because our outdoor finish adheres to Tahoe Bark better than Regular Bark

One last takeaway about bark textures is that the stains or finishes applied each provide a variety of appearances, so make sure to ask about stain options for your specific piece of furniture or see our website for more information.

Options & Finishes: