Cherry wood is wood that has been harvested from cherry trees. Cherry wood is highly valued by both consumers and woodworkers. Cherry wood is the most sought-after wood variety for the various types of furniture made by many fine furniture makers. With its tight, regular grain, easy workability, and beautiful color, it is easy to understand why.
With its tight and regular grain and beautiful color, it is easy to understand why.
What is Cherry Tree Wood?
The American black cherry tree, Prunus serotina, and the wild cherry tree, Prunus avium, are the two species of cherry trees that produce the majority of cherry wood. The most popular species for woodcrafting is black cherry wood.
The American black cherry tree was already present in North America when European settlers arrived. The cherry wood was dubbed “New England mahogany” because it turned from a light brownish-pink to a darker red-brown in the sunlight. It was almost indistinguishable from actual mahogany.
Black cherry trees can be found throughout the United States, from the north midwest to Texas, and all the way down the east coast from Nova Scotia to northern Florida. West Virginia and Pennsylvania have the highest concentrations of black cherry trees.
Quick Details of Cherry Wood
|Color||Ranges golden brownish-pink to deep red brown with exposure to sunlight|
|Appearance||Uniform and smooth texture with a medium natural luster, fine pore structure|
|Grain||Straight grain sometimes with ripple feature|
|Rot Resistance||Moderate, the heartwood is very rot-resistant|
|Workability||Easy to work with due to the straight grained texture, easy to burn with power saws, smooth finishing but more difficult to stain|
|Allergies/Toxicity||Some allergic reactions noted like wheezing and giddiness when exposed to sawdust|
|Pricing||More expensive than some common hardwoods|
|Availability||Lumber and veneer have adequate supply|
Characteristics of Cherry Wood
Cherry wood’s properties are what make it such a popular choice for furniture and cabinetry.
Cherry wood is a closed porous hardwood with medium strength and durability. It is classified as a softer hardwood. It is less hard than other hardwoods like hickory and oak but harder than coniferous softwoods like pine.
The cherry wood color is one of the most unique qualities of the wood. It ranges in color from a light brownish pink to a reddish brown. The lighter colored wood (sapwood) is closer to the tree’s bark. The darker wood is closer to the center of the tree (heartwood).
Cherry wood patinas with exposure to light over time. The wood will darken in all areas that are exposed to light. This will continue even after the wood has been finished. For this reason, it is ideal to expose wood products and furniture to light in a consistent way. Darkening will slow down after a few years of light exposure.
Cherry wood has a fine and tight grain structure as well as a fine pore structure. The tight and even grain has an appealing appearance, and woodcrafters prefer it because it makes the wood easy to cut and machine. The consistent grain pattern elevates and refines the appearance of furniture and decorative objects. Cherry wood has a moderate luster, which results in a smooth appearance when finished. Stain is not necessary for cherry wood, as the color of the wood is attractive without stain.
Sustainability of Cherry Wood
Black cherry, the variety most harvested for wood products, is a fast growing hardwood. There is some illegal harvesting of this much-loved wood. In order to make sure that you get your wood from a sustainable forest, look for certifications by the Forest Stewardship Council or the Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification. If you live in the United States, you can buy a product made from a local source because cherry wood is available in so many areas. This reduces the overall carbon footprint of the product.
Cherry Wood Pros and Cons
- Sturdy: Cherry wood is robust and long-lasting. It is not easily scratched or dented.
- Sustainable: Cherry trees grow quickly. Seeking reliable certifications will help you locate sustainable sources.
- Beauty: Cherry wood is prized for its exquisite color and finely detailed grain.
- Easy to Shape: Compared to certain other hardwoods, cherry wood is softer. This facilitates shaping using both hand and power tools.
- Cost: Compared to other hardwoods like maple, cherry wood is more costly. For every board foot, the price varies between $3 and $8.
- Blotchy Stain: Cherry wood absorbs stain unevenly, making it challenging for novices to stain.
- Changing Color: Over time, cherry wood undergoes color changes. While this is a benefit for certain individuals, its irregularity may cause issues.
Uses of Cherry Wood
Cherry is a versatile wood variety. It is beautiful and soft enough to use in applications like instruments, millwork, boat interiors, furniture, floors, and doors.
Antique Cherry Wood Furniture
The color tone of antique cherry wood furniture is rich and deep. This is due to the color’s gradual deepening. This Italian cherry wood table was constructed sometime in the middle of the 1800s. It has a plank wood top and turned legs.
Cherry Wood Harp
Cherry is a type of tonewood. This means that it is dense enough to be a good musical tonal projector. Cherry has a balanced and neutral tone. It projects low, mid, and high frequency sound. Cherry is used for this harp from Thormahlen Harps. It is called the Cherry Swan.
Cherry Wood Cabinets
Cherry wood kitchen cabinets are one of the most popular applications for cherry wood. FabCab uses cherry wood to create these flat panel cherry cabinets in this kitchen. Using this design and wood combination, they have created a modern and sleek yet rustic style kitchen for this cabin kitchen.
Cherry Wood Flooring
Wood floors are another popular application for cherry wood. A similar color floor can be obtained using a cherry wood stain and a different wood, but it will not have the same luster. Cherry wood floors have a medium luster that shines well when buffed and finished. Cherry floors look gorgeous in a wide-plank style.
Cherry Wood Dresser
Modern wood craftsmen love to use cherry because of its easy to use texture. Due to its beautiful natural color, cherry wood furniture is typically not stained. The sleek, contemporary design of this cherry wood dresser from Vermont Wood Studios is impressive. It features accents in dark hues made of black walnut.