Cherry Wood | Types of Cherry Wood, Uses, Advantages, and Disadvantages

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Introduction

Cherry Wood is hardwood, known for making durable cabinets and furniture. It gives a great smooth finishing with a light pinkish-brown to reddish-brown appearance, Cherry wood is hard and heavy wood. Due to its durability and resistance to decay, it is suitable for interior applications. It has amazing hardwood properties, Which makes it a demanding wood worldwide.

“Cherry” is a common name of many species. But there are few which are famous and known for quality wood. Some species of wood are rare and expensive. There may be differences in hardness, color, and grain pattern among cherry species. These woods are used based on the properties. Carpenters like to use it due to its workability and strength.

It is a medium to large deciduous tree, most cherries are native to the Northern Hemisphere. Mainly, cherry is cultivated in these areas for the cherry fruits and lumber. Turkey is the largest producer of cherries in the world. The United States is in the second position. 

Scientific nameJuglans
Wood colorLight pink to rich reddish-brown
Tree Height35-100 ft (10-30 m) tall, 25 feet wide
WorkabilityGreat workability properties
FinishingGreat finishing 
Rot ResistantVery durable in terms of decay resistance
AvailabilityWidely available
TypeHardwood
UsesCabinetry, fine furniture, flooring, interior millwork

Cherry Wood Uses

wood uses

1. Furniture and Cabinet

Cherry wood is an extremely strong, durable, stable hardwood, widely used for making furniture and cabinets. Its uniform grain and workability make it a better choice for furniture. Cherry wood is the most prized hardwood furniture in America.

Cherry wood is preferred by carpenters worldwide. It is easy to work and holds glue, nails, and screws well.

2. Flooring

Choosing wood for flooring is often a challenging and confusing job. Because the biggest problem of wooden floors is dents and scratches. In this case, cherry wood may be a better wood that can be used for flooring without any problem.

Cherry wood is a medium-density, shock-resistant, dark-grain patterned hardwood that makes it less likely to dent and scratch easily.

By the way, avoid the use of oil, wax, and steam cleaning to keep wooden flooring durable and stable. 

3. Boat interior

In order to make the interior of the boat, it is important to have excellent wood finishing as well as be weather resistant. Cherry fulfills all the requirements. Cherry wood gives a uniform reddish-brown look after finishing. Which makes it the perfect wood for a boat interior.

4. Musical Instruments

Like maple, Cherry wood has a close grain and a great tonewood. But we get more color options with cherry wood. The second most important thing is that cherry wood can be easily worked with. It can be bent into the desired shape. 

5. Turnings and Carvings

Generally, we know hardwood is difficult to work with tools,  But we can do curving and turn easily with cherry wood. Cherry wood is a hardwood with medium density. It can be easily given the desired shape with the help of small carving tools. 

6. Interior Trim

Cherry wood is also used for stain-grade moldings and trim. Because they absorb the stain and finish well and look attractive. But cherry wood can be expensive compared to fir or pine.

Working With Cherry Wood

Workability
Workability

Cherry wood is great to work with machines and hand tools. It is known as being one of the best all-around woods for workability. It responds well to machine and hand tools. Carpenters love to work with cherry wood.

Cherry wood holds the glue, nails, and screw very well. Because of the good density. It is easy to achieve a smooth finish with light sanding. Many experts believe it Best to sand 180 grit or 220 grit in order to reduce blotching in cherry wood.

It has a high natural luster, So you need to be very careful in every step of sanding cherry wood. Hand and machine sanding are both fine.

Cherry wood is not easy to bend. It required experience to bend. Air-dried cherry wood can usually be folded but kiln-dried is much more difficult. Because the wood in kiln-dried quickly becomes hard and There is a possibility of breaking the wood in this process. 

Well, bending depends on many factors. Such as the thickness, length, and moisture content of the wood. The most important thing is the method which you are using for bending. 

What does cherry wood look like?

Generally, the heartwood is light pinkish brown to medium reddish brown and the sapwood is pale yellowish in color.

But the color of cherry wood depends on its species and tree. Natural cherry wood changes colors over time. It is a light golden/pink initially but becomes a deep, reddish-brown color after exposure to light or UV. This process takes about 12 to 18 months. 

The color change of cherry wood is caused by oxidation (exposure to air) and UV light. Oxidation will likely occur in the first three months. If your cherry wood is stained or coated, it may slow or completely conceal the oxidation process. Because the stain or polish creates a protective layer between the wood and the external environment.

Cherry Wood Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

1. Appearance 

Cherry wood is known for its excellent color, fine, and smooth texture. Its natural color improves over time and becomes more rich reddish-brown from brown. Which increases its beauty even more.

2. Workability

Generally, Most hardwoods are difficult to work with their wavy and irregular grain, but due to the uniform and straight grain in cherry wood, work can be done easily. 

Due to its working properties, Cherry wood is the choice of carpenters. It also saves a lot of time and resources. 

3. Durability and stability

Cherry wood is very durable and stable wood. It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor furniture. But expert advice is to use it for exterior applications only after the exterior finishes.

4. Flexibility

It is flexible wood, which is easy to cut, mold, and curve. Due to its flexibility, it is used for many purposes. 

Disadvantages

1. Expensive

Cherry wood is more expensive than many other hardwoods such as maple, but I believe it justifies its price for smooth grain and visual appeal. 

2. Hard to match

There are many color options available in cherry wood, which can be a bit difficult for an owner to find the perfect match wood block.

3. Not easy to stain

It is not easy for beginners to stain cherry wood. Without knowledge, you may ruin the wood.

4. Change color over time

As we know, cherry wood changes its color after being exposed to the environment. So, the color of the wood is lighter during the making of furniture, whereas after a few months you get a dark color. A lot of people don’t like this.

How to Stain Cherry Wood?

Stain wood
Stain wood

Cherry wood is not easy to stain. If you are a beginner then it may be more difficult for you. So don’t try to stain a big project, take the help of an expert or start with a small block of cherry wood. Otherwise, you may ruin this expensive wood. 

A wide range of colors are present in cherry wood, sapwood and heartwood are totally different from each other. There is a difference in the planks of different trees. So try to find the same color boards for your entire project. Otherwise, you will see different colors in the same project.

Clean the woodblock before staining. For this use medium-grit sandpaper (#120). Always sand in the direction of the grain to avoid leaving unsightly scratches. Before moving on to the next step, wipe the wood clean with a dry cloth.

linseed and tung oil finishes give cherry a deeper, richer color than shellac, lacquer, and polyurethane. But after a few months, the color of both becomes almost the same.

If you are looking for the best stain for cherry. There are many stains available in the market, you can choose any one of them according to you.

Some stains are given below. You can choose from these.

  1. HOWARD RF9008 RF008 Restor-A-Finish, 8 oz, Cherry, 8 Fluid Ounces Buy Now
  2. Hope’s Pure Tung Oil, Waterproof Natural Wood Finish and Sealer, 16 Fl Oz Buy Now
  3. LinSheen Boiled Linseed Oil Buy Now

Is cherry wood expensive?

Yes, cherry wood is an expensive wood species but cheaper than mahogany and teak. The reason for it being expensive is a low supply and high demand. Cherry wood has always been in demand due to its excellent properties.

Typically cherry wood can be about $3 to $10 per board foot. But its price depends on many things such as species, place of purchase, quality, and quantity. We can divide the wood into three grades (Grade A, B, and C) on the basis of quality.

A grade is considered to be the best wood. Grade A has a uniform grain pattern and does not have sapwood and knots. This grade is used to make high-quality furniture and floors. Grade A costs more than grades B and C.

Is cherry wood good to burn?

wood firewood
wood firewood

Cherry wood is one of the most popular woods to burn due to its great smell, coaling qualities, and doesn’t give off a lot of smoke. It can be easily split and cut.

It generates moderate heat during burning. Which is less than oak, maple, and beech but is sufficient.

Compared to other hardwoods, cherry dries quickly (about 6-12 months) and splits easily with one strike using a Splitting Axe or maul. 

Cherry will produce 20.0 million BTUs per cord. It is less than other hardwoods but is better than softwoods.

Is cherry water-resistant?

Cherry wood resists warping and shrinking, or we can say that it performs better than other hardwoods. It requires less maintenance and care.

But it is not suitable for exterior applications without exterior finishing. Rather, no wood can be 100% waterproof. By painting or polishing, their durability increases for a time.

Types of cherry wood

1. Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Black cherry is also known as wild black cherry, rum cherry, or mountain black cherry. It is native to Eastern North America. It is a medium-sized, fast-growing deciduous tree or shrub. The length of its tree is about 50–80 ft (15–24 m) and trunk diameter is 3-5 ft (.3-.6 m).

The color of the heartwood is light pinkish-brown to reddish-brown and the color of the sapwood is pale yellowish. It usually has a straight grain with a moderate natural luster.

Hardness: Its Janka hardness is 950 lbf (4,230 N). Dried weight is 35 lbs/ft3 (560 kg/m3).

Workability: Great workability, Black Cherry wood is easy to work with hand and machine tools. It is difficult to stain due to constant color change.

Uses: Cabinetry, fine furniture, flooring, interior millwork, veneer, turned objects, and small specialty wood items.

2. Sweet Cherry(Prunus avium)

Sweet cherry is also known as wild cherry, gean, or bird cherry. It is native to Europe and Asia. It is a medium-sized, fast-growing deciduous tree or shrub. The length of its tree is about 32-65 feet (10-20 meters) and trunk diameter is 1-2 ft (.3-.6 m).

The color of the heartwood is light pinkish brown to golden brown and the sapwood is pale yellowish. It has straight grain or is slightly wavy.

Hardness: Its Janka hardness is 1,150 lbf (5,120 N). Which makes it suitable for furniture and flooring.

Workability: Sweet Cherry wood is easy to work with. It holds glue, nails, and screws well. It can be a bit difficult for beginners to stain.

Uses: Veneer, furniture, cabinetry, turned objects, musical instruments, and carvings.

3. Brazilian Cherry (Hymenaea Courbaril)

Brazilian cherry is also known as Jatoba, Native to the West Indies, northern South America, Central America, and southern Mexico. It is a medium-sized tree. The length of its tree is about 100-130 ft (30-40 m) and trunk diameter is 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m).

Wood is dense, heavy, and beautiful. The heartwood varies from a light orangish brown to a darker reddish-brown, while the sapwood is light grayish-yellow. Its grain is interlocked. 

Brazilian cherry has great Rot Resistant properties and is resistant to termites and other insects.

Hardness: Its Janka hardness is 2,690 lbs (11,950 N). Which is much more than black and sweet cherry.

Workability: Brazilian Cherry is not easy to work with. Its density is so high that it affects the blade of the machine tool.

Uses: Veneer, furniture, cabinetry, turned objects, musical instruments, and carvings.

4. Caribbean Cherry (Lonchocarpus spp.) 

Caribbean Cherry is also known as Mayan/Aztec Cherry and Black Cabbage Bark. It is native to Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico. This large-sized tree, The length of its tree is about 80 to 100 ft (25 to 31 m) and the diameter of the stem can be 2-3 ft (.6-1 m).

Its heartwood is light brown to a darker brown and sapwood is yellow. Grain is straight, irregular, or interlocked, with a coarse texture.

Hardness: Its Janka hardness is 2,700 lbf (12,010 N). Suitable for making Decking, flooring. 

Workability: Generally it is easy to work, but due to interlocked or irregular grain, there may be problems in work. Machining results are generally good and glues, and finishes well.

Uses: Decking, flooring, furniture, as well as heavy construction in areas within its natural range.

5. Chilean Cherry (Nothofagus dombeyi)

Chilean Cherry comes from the Nothofagus Dombeyi genus, It is not part of the cherry family. Instead, it is part of the Beech tree family. But it is commonly known as Chili Cherry. It is native to Argentina and Chile.

Its heartwood is pale tan to pale pink and sapwood can range from grayish to cream colors with streaks.

Hardness: Its Janka hardness is 990 lbf (4410 N). Suitable for making furniture and flooring. 

Workability: Workability is overall good, It is easily molded into various molds and shapes.

Uses: Decking, flooring, furniture, as well as heavy construction in areas within its natural range.

6. Patagonian cherry (Gibortia Hymenifolia (Scin. C. chhodiana))

Patagonian Cherry is also called Tiete Rosewood and Sirari. It is native to South America. Patagonian Cherry is a large-sized tree, a mature tree can be 130–165 feet (40–50 m) tall and 3–6 feet (1–2 m)  trunk diameter.

The color of heartwood is orange to pinkish-brown while the sapwood is light brown. Color tends to darken and redden with age. Patagonian Cherry has a straight grain with a fine uniform texture.

Hardness: Its Janka hardness is 2,790 lbf (12,410 N). 

Workability: It is a hard, heavy, and dense wood. So it is difficult to work with. But due to the straight and uniform grain, there may be some ease in working. It contains silica, So it can affect the machine blade. Take care while working.

Uses: Interior flooring, turned objects, and other small specialty wood items.

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