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What Does Cherry Wood Furniture Look Like?

What Does Cherry Wood Furniture Look Like?

Table of Contents

In China, oak and black walnut are famous, but cherry is a bit niche. 

Yet many foreign customers still like cherry wood furniture.

Now I would like to introduce cherry wood furniture from seven perspectives.

  1. Status: One of the best hardwoods in the U.S.
  2. Features: warm and round, not easy to crack.
  3. Color: a little reddish.
  4. There are a lot of counterfeiters.
  5. Will be more popular in the future.
  6. Cherry wood furniture pictures.
  7. Wax oil VS lacquer on cherry wood?

1. Status: One of the best hardwoods in the U.S.

In North America, natural resources are well protected (such as forest resources). 

1.1. Is cherry wood the main American hardwood?

There are more than 20 kinds of North American hardwood for export. And 10 categories of them are listed as the main types.

The black walnut is famous for its unique chocolate color and beautiful texture.

American oak is famous in Eurasia because of its large stock and cost-effectiveness.

To the Chinese, cherry wood seems less well known than black walnut and oak.

But for Americans, cherry wood is second only to black walnut.

10 kinds of central export hardwoods in the U.S.
▲ 10 kinds of central export hardwoods in the U.S.

You can also see clues from the price.

North American black walnut’s price is between CNY12,000-20,000 /m3.

North American cherry wood is not as expensive as black walnut. The furniture grade is around CNY10,000/m3, and the high quality is more than CNY12,000/m3. It is second only to the price of black walnut.

The red oak is generally CNY6000~8000/m3.

The North American red birch, often used to imitate cherry wood, is only CNY3000~5000/m3.

1.2. Why is it called black cherry wood?

The American cherry wood is known as the Black cherry because its fruit turns black when ripe.

black cherry

Unlike other countries, black cherry trees in the United States are exceptionally tall.

The mature tree’s height can be more than 15 to 20 meters, and the diameter can also be more than 1 meter.

The American cherry tree can grow into a towering tree.
▲The American cherry tree can grow into a towering tree.

1.3. Cherry wood stock.

The growth cycle of cherry wood is about 50 years.

It accounts for 3% of the nation’s hardwood stock, neither too high nor too low.

Yet, the high-quality cherry wood stock is much less than the total.

1.4. Core and sapwood colors vary greatly.

The color difference between the sapwood and the core of cherry wood is significant. The core is darker, and the sapwood is much lighter.

Generally, only the core is “useful” by default.

The color of the sapwood and core are different on the back of the new furniture。
▲The color of the sapwood and core are different on the back of the new furniture。

2. Features: warm and round, not easy to crack.

At first glance, cherry wood looks like many “natural-colored” hardwoods.

cherry wood looks like many "natural-colored" hardwoods.

But cherry wood is different from them, such as oak and ash.

The most obvious difference is that cherry wood is more “warm and round” and “not easy to crack”!

American red oak has a specific gravity of 0.63 and a hardness of 5738N. Oak is hard among many temperate hardwoods.

The dining table and chairs made of American red oak have straight edges.
▲The dining table and chairs made of American red oak have straight edges.

But the specific gravity of cherry wood is only 0.5, and the hardness is only 4226N.

This figure is slightly lower than North American black walnut (0.55 and 4492N).

specific gravity and hardness of cherry wood
▲Data of cherry wood

The difference in specific gravity and hardness is mainly due to the structure.

The difference in structure allows cherry wood to have a more rounded edge (black walnut can also).

Cherry wood table top with rounded edges.
▲ Cherry wood table top with rounded edges.

The cross-section of the annual ring pattern is not clear when looking closely.

(Semi-ring porous wood has non-obvious growth rings.)

Round edges of the cherry wood tables.
▲Round edges of the cherry wood tables.
Round edges of the black walnut wood tables
▲Round edges of the black walnut wood tables.

Yet oak edges are much rougher and harder, and the growth rings are more apparent.

(Ring-porous wood has apparent pith rays, and cracking occurs here).

The straight side of the oak table. 
▲The straight side of the oak table. 

Growth rings and pith rays are borderlines.

Without growth rings and pith rays, the wood surface will have no texture and look ugly.

If with evident growth rings and pith rays, the wood surface will crack when the temperature and humidity change.

So it is moderate for cherry and black walnut to have no pith rays and evident growth rings. And there will be beautiful texture on the surface. And it is unlikely to crack.

Cherry wood is semi-ring-porous to diffuse-porous. It is different from the semi-ring-porous wood of black walnut.

3. Color: a little reddish.

The color of most woods will darken over time due to oxidation. 

But the color of cherry wood will change to another color.

the color of cherry wood will change to another color.

The color is slightly darker than oak when first produced before being oxidized.

But after one year, the color will change from yellow to reddish.

after one year, the color will change from yellow to reddish.
after one year, the color will change from yellow to reddish.

You can see the cherry wood going from a very lovely warm pink to brown-reddish. This process is irreversible and inevitable.

The picture below shows two wood samples from October 2018, black walnut on the left and cherry on the right. As you can see, the color of cherry wood is close to black walnut.

4 years later, cherry wood color is similar to black walnut

After the cherry wood is discolored, the color difference will be more prominent.

By the way:

There will be some dark streaks on the surface of the cherry wood. They are mineral lines and gum pockets, but not knots or imperfections.

dark streaks on the surface of cherry wood
mineral lines and gum pockets on cherry wood surface

4. There are a lot of counterfeiters.

There are many counterfeiters of cherry wood in the market. Such as “South American Cherry,” “African Cherry,” “Myanmar Cherry,” and so on.

Listed below are three common cherry wood imitations.

4.1. South American cherry wood.

There are two main types of South American cherry wood in the market. 

One is red alder from North America. It is called North American red birch or North American alder.

Furniture made of North American red birch.
▲Furniture made of North American red birch.

The other is Jatoba, from Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and the West Indies. The wood is also called South American teak in China.

Jatoba floor.
▲ Jatoba floor.

Some say North American cherry is heavier and more robust than South American cherry. That’s not true!

North American cherry wood is heavier and more rigid than North American red birch.

But North American cherry is much softer and lighter than Jatoba.

The wood to make the floor must be very hard!

(The floors are made of oak, not walnut or cherry wood.)

4.2. Burmese cherry wood.

It is common in China.

Southwest birch is similar in appearance to cherry. So it is often sold under the name “Myanmar Cherry.”

Its color but not texture is close to cherry. It is “low-end counterfeiting”!

Southwest birch
▲Southwest birch

4.3. African cherry wood.

All know Africa has many types of wood, and their names are confusing.

The earliest known African cherry wood is the monkey fruit tree, whose alias is “red cherry.”

Later, the poisoned seed Samantha replaces the monkey fruit tree as counterfeit.

African cherry wood.
▲African cherry wood.

Besides, there is Otto Mountain, known as “Red Cherry Wood.”

It is indeed red, as shown in the picture!

African red cherry wood.
▲African red cherry wood.
which one is authentic cherry wood?
▲It’s hard to tell which one is authentic cherry wood. Both may not be authentic cherry wood.

5. Will be more popular in the future..

It is more worth having cherry wood than oak in the future.

Temperature and humidity vary widely in some countries. Hardwoods like oak and beech will deform and crack due to moisture changes.

The black walnut cracks and deforms less. But its price is high.

The cherry wood cracks and deforms less. And the price is lower than black walnut. So it is a cost-effective choice for long-term use. So it would be more popular in the future.

There are two reasons why cherry wood is not popular in China in nowadays.

5.1. The price is high.

The Cherry wood price is higher than oak, rubber wood, and pine.

5.2. The color is reddish, and the Chinese need aesthetic adaptation.

When compared to oak, cherry wood has a huge advantage!

Cherry wood’s texture is not as beautiful as black walnut. But it is more robust than other woods!

The cherry wood table top differs from the simple mountain grain or straight grain of the oak.
▲The cherry wood table top differs from the simple mountain grain or straight grain of the oak.

6. Cherry wood furniture pictures.

6.1. Cherry wood bed.

Cherry wood bed.
Cherry wood bed.

6.2. Cherry wood dining table.

Cherry wood dining table.
Cherry wood dining table.

6.3. Cherry wood coffee table.

Cherry wood coffee table.

6.4. Cherry Wood Cabinet.

Cherry Wood Cabinet with glass door
▲ Cherry wood + glass door
oak Wood Cabinet with glass door
▲Oak + glass door
black walnut Wood Cabinet with glass door
▲Black walnut + glass door
Cherry Wood Cabinet with glass door
Cherry Wood Cabinet with glass door

6.5. Cherry wood TV stands.

Cherry wood TV stands.
Cherry wood TV stands.

7. Wax oil VS lacquer on cherry wood?

Cherry wood is expensive. But it is neither heavy nor hard.

The wood is relatively soft and easily scratched. So wax oil is not as protective as lacquer.

So, if you want your cherry wood table to last a few more years, go for the lacquer.

We use wax oil on black walnut because it is harder than cherry wood and looks stunning with wax oil.

Cherry wood TV stands.
▲c

Summary: What wood furniture to choose?

The core issue is “money.”

Option 1. If you are not short on money:

Choose black walnut if you like dark colors as it’s the king of hardwoods.

Choose cherry wood if you Like the natural wood color. It is elegant, extravagant, and durable.

Both of the above can be “heirlooms.” They can last for a few years or even hundreds of years!

Option 2. If you are short of money but still want solid wood:

there will be fewer choices.

Choose oak in black walnut color if you like dark color.

Choose oak or beach in the natural color if you like the natural wood color. 

Option 3. If you’re stuck in the middle, your like cheap, but also accept expensive ones:

From air humidity:

Choose oak or beech if your place is humid and has warm air, and you don’t worry about furniture cracking.

Choose cherry wood or black walnut if your place is dry and you worry about the furniture cracking.

From the color texture:

Choose oak, cherry, or black walnut, but not beech if you want a nice grain.

Choose an oak or cherry wood, but not black walnut if you want nice textures and natural wood color, .

Between oak and cherry:

Choose cherry wood if you worry about warping and cracking.

Choose oak if you worry about the color changing over time.

The color of cherry wood may darken over time, and there may be color differences on the surface.
▲The color of cherry wood may darken over time, and there may be color differences on the surface.

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