What is Cherry Wood: Color, Grain, and Other Traits

What is Cherry Wood: Color, Grain, and Other Traits

Natural cherry wood is one of the most valuable hardwoods for furniture in the United States. By far, it is also a popular choice of material among clients here at T.Y. Fine Furniture. 

We understand why cherry wood continues to be a favorite among furniture makers and homeowners alike. It is, after all, durable hardwood with a beautiful reddish brown color, the kind that brings warmth to a space.

If anything, the natural color of cherry is what sets it apart from other popular hardwoods, like walnut, maple, and oak. All these hardwoods change color as they age, but perhaps, not as dramatic and alluring as cherry wood. 

Things You Need to Know About Natural Cherry Wood

When we talk about cherry wood, we’re referring to the American Black Cherry Tree, scientific name Prunus serotina, as the source. This wood species can potentially grow up to 100 feet tall and reach up to 5 feet in diameter, but the size varies, depending on the environment it grows in. 

Cherry wood thrives in many parts of North America and South America, but we source ours specifically in Ohio, from sustainably managed forests. 

Natural Cherry Wood Changes Color

As it ages, natural cherry wood changes color – it darkens over time. It is light and pinkish when freshly cut, and in the first six months of exposure to sunlight, the color of cherry wood may change from light pink to light pinkish brown, or a color with deeper red tones. But it may sometimes take years before the color changes into the signature cherry wood color, a gorgeously warm reddish brown.

Cherry Is a Workable Wood

Many furniture makers, T.Y. Fine Furniture included, love to work with cherry because it is a workable hardwood. On the Janka Hardness Rating Scale, black cherry scored 990-995, which means it is a hardy material that is durable enough to withstand the wear and tear from normal use as furniture. At the same time, it is also relatively easier to work with machines, chisels, nails, and screws, among others tools. 

Cherry Wood is Typically Smooth and Straight-Grained

Take a look at our Solid Wood Dresser in Cherry Wood from the Apollo Collection.


Cherry wood has a smooth texture and a straight, closed-grain pattern that is similar to maple wood. But we don’t expect uniformity in wood grains, even when the material comes from the same tree. Tree maturity mainly contributes to the grain pattern of natural wood. Pith flecks or worm tracks also create these brown streaks on the grain. Other things like mineral deposits and gum pockets affect the way the grain looks as well. 

“Cherry” Stains and Finishes

Many people are confused about the color of cherry wood because so many manufacturers are passing off low-grade wood that is finished with an unnatural dark maroon stain as ‘cherry color’, and in some cases, ‘dark cherry color’. But a low-quality stain cannot even compete with the beauty of natural cherry wood. 

Here at T.Y. Fine Furniture, we don’t use cherry-colored stains, and we only use natural cherry wood for furniture pieces we claim are made from cherry. We try our best to showcase the beauty of natural wood by coating each piece with our propriety food-grade and organic wood finish.  

Distinguishing Real Cherry Wood Furniture

It is challenging to distinguish wood types based on appearance alone, especially if the furniture has been stained. Plus, a variety of woods have similar grain patterns, so it really is difficult to identify the material by just looking at the color and the grain. 

Buying furniture that is crafted by your local artisans – this is the most reasonable way to ensure that your furniture is made from real cherry wood. Small-scale furniture makers are more hands-on with the process and tend to use natural solid wood. 

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