Natural cherry wood is one of the most valuable hardwoods for furniture in the United States. By far our most popular hardwood is Cherry. It is a reddish-brown hardwood with a smooth texture that is formed from the fruit of the American Black Cherry tree.
Cherry's color and aging qualities are well-known among woodworkers and furniture connoisseurs. It starts out as a soft pink and gradually darkens to a deep scarlet with a lovely patina.
Cherry Wood's Characteristics
From pale pink to a deep reddish brown
American Black Cherry Tree (Prunus Serotina)
995 on the Janka scale
$4 to $19 per board feet
Furniture, cabinets, flooring, kitchen accessories
Frequently Asked Questions About Cherry Wood
You may be surprised to learn that natural cherry wood changes color over time and that color variations across trees and even between boards from the same tree are normal. While many types of wood can darken with time, working with cherry wood can make this process rather obvious. When exposed to light, it begins with a bright golden/pink tone and progressively darkens to a deep, reddish-brown hue.
This darkening or "ripening" process is most noticeable within the first six months of sun exposure and can last for several years until the cherry wood's trademark reddish brown hue is achieved. To hasten the aging process, expose the wood to as much natural light as possible.
Why does the color of cherry wood change?
Although there is some disagreement on what causes wood to change color over time, the majority of experts agree on one or a combination of the following factors: oxidation (exposure to air) and ultraviolet radiation. Both of these processes change the chemical composition of the wood molecules, causing light to reflect differently off the surface.
What Are the Most Common Applications for Cherry Wood?
In the United States, cherry is undoubtedly the most valuable timber for furniture. Furthermore, it is commonly used in cooking equipment such as bowls, wooden spoons, and cutting boards.
What Causes the Grain Pattern in Cherry Wood?
Cherry wood has a smooth, closed grain pattern, similar to maple wood. We expect and cherish the distinctive traits of wood grain, as we do with any natural product. A single cherry wood board may have numerous unique grain patterns depending on the maturity of the tree.
Differences in Grain Between Heartwood and Sapwood
It's unusual to come across pieces of solid cherry wood furniture with distinct grain differences. The lighter grain was closer to the tree's bark (sapwood), while the darker grain was closer to the core (heartwood).
When picking boards for your furniture, our artisans often focus on the darker heartwood, however sapwood may be utilized on occasion. Our professionals will carefully choose and assemble boards with the best color and grain matching possible.
Cherry can be categorized as either a softwood or a hardwood.
Because it is collected from the deciduous prunus serotina tree, cherry wood is categorized as a hardwood. All of the timbers utilized by our craftspeople at TY Fine Furniture are classified as hardwoods.
Softwood, on the other hand, refers to wood milled from coniferous trees. Contrary to popular belief, the classification of a wood as hardwood or softwood has nothing to do with its density or resistance to scratches and dents.
Density/Hardness of Cherry Wood
The Janka scale is used to assess the resistance of a wood species to denting and scratching. The Janka value is a measure of the force necessary to embed a tiny steel ball partially into the surface of wood, denting it permanently. The Janka rating of American black cherry wood is 995, which is somewhat lower than Walnut, Oak, Maple, and Ash, but higher than Pine, Hemlock, Alder, and even Mahogany and Cedar.
Where Does Cherry Wood Come From?
Cherry wood originates from the lumber of the American Black Cherry Tree (prunus serotina). After around ten years, the prunus serotina bears a tiny, sour fruit that is commonly used in jellies, jams, and other confections. The fruit of the American black cherry tree should not be confused with the sweet, juicy cherries seen in supermarkets. Once ripe, these dime-sized berries cluster on mature cherry tree branches and are quickly devoured by birds and other animals.
Where Can You Find Black Cherry Trees in the United States of America?
While prunus serotina is prevalent along the east coast, the midwest, and parts of Mexico, the strongest and healthiest trees are frequently found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York. Our artisans get their wood from sustainably managed forests in Ohio.
In the United States of America, how tall are black cherry trees?
The height and diameter of the American Black Cherry Tree varies depending on the growing conditions. Under ideal conditions, Prunus serotina can grow to a height of 100 feet and a diameter of 4 feet. The bulk of mature cherry trees, on the other hand, range in height from 50 to 80 feet and have a diameter of 2-4 feet. They can reach their maximum height in as few as 15-20 years and continue to grow for up to 250 years.
How Can I Tell if the Cherry on My Furniture Is Real?
It is difficult to distinguish wood types based solely on appearance, especially if the furniture has been colored. A variety of woods have similar grain patterns, and the color of wood changes with age. The most accurate way to determine the type of wood used to make your furniture is to contact the artisan who made it and ask.
Is Cherry Furniture Suitable for the Outdoors?
Regardless of the wood finish used to coat the wood, every sort of wood furniture exposed to the elements will deteriorate with time. We do not recommend putting cherry furniture outside. Consider our tropical hardwood options of Ipe or Cumaru.
Is Cherry Wood a Reliable Source of Energy? Are Black Cherry Trees Endangered in the United States of America?
Cherry is the fourth most harvested wood species in the United States, trailing oak, poplar, and ash. The American Black Cherry Tree grows throughout most of the eastern United States, with the Allegheny Plateau supplying the most valuable cherry wood. Because of the proximity of these cherry orchards, the carbon footprint is minimized due to shorter transportation routes between forest, mill, and artisan. Utilizing American black cherry hardwood also helps to conserve some of the world's most biodiverse wildlife habitats by substituting it for imported rainforest woods.
What are common variations in Cherry Wood?
In genuine cherry wood, natural mineral deposits form–small black specks in the grain where sap was previously held. Mineral deposits (also known as pitch pockets) occur naturally and randomly in cherry wood furniture, providing character.
How Does Cherry Solid Wood Help to Provide Furnishings for a Greener World?
Natural cherry wood is a domestic hardwood obtained mostly in forests in the United States, where environmental regulations are stricter. In comparison, a substantial amount of the American furniture industry is based on imported wood, which is routinely removed illegally from endangered tropical forests. These imported woods contribute to worldwide habitat degradation, and their transportation and processing have a considerable environmental impact. We see cherry as a more environmentally friendly alternative to teak, mahogany, and other un-managed tropical rainforest woods–and one that is just as, if not more, appealing!
At all costs, avoid faux cherry wood.
The most common mistake that customers make when purchasing cherry furniture online is selecting an item that is not fully made of cherry wood. The term "cherry" is commonly used as a trade name for a wide range of unrelated woods, including wood stains used on lower quality material. If you're having trouble finding cherry wood furniture, try searching with the terms natural or real.
Cherry-colored stains and finishes
Our customers occasionally ask us about coloring their cherry wood furniture. While many of our pieces be stained, we advise clients to pick clear, natural cherry wood finishes. A natural finish highlights the natural characteristics of the wood. If, on the other hand, you're looking for stained cherry wood, we have a choice of colors available. Every product page includes a link to purchase samples.