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Cherry Wood Characteristics: Complete Guide to Cherry Hardwood – 2021

Cherry wood is among the most prized species for fine-woodworking, cabinetry, furniture, flooring, and much more. The characteristics of cherry that make it such a popular choice for high-end woodworking are its smooth and intricate grain patterns of deep reddish-brown color. By far, the most attractive quality of cherry wood is its natural beauty. 

Learn everything you need to know about the characteristics of cherry wood in your home. Find out how it compares to other popular hardwoods when it comes to cherry’s color and grain patterns, durability and longevity, and weather-resistance. And, compare cherry’s attributes next to other popular hardwood species to see the benefits and drawbacks to cherry hardwood. 

Cherry Wood Total Guide – Characteristics of Cherry Hardwood

When it comes to the top-tier of wood species, cherry wood is among the most prized. It is beloved by carpenters for its ease to work with, and cherished by owners for its beauty. A newly finished piece of cherry is a light peach color, and over a few months to a year, it undergoes a spectacular transformation.

A piece of cherry furniture begins its life as a pale salmon color, and over time deepens in hue to a warm, deep, rich shade of burgundy-brown. The natural color-change that cherry undergoes is, in part, responsible for its acclaim. But, it also is set apart from other hardwoods in its one-of-a-kind mesmerizing kaleidoscope grain pattern.

What Color is Cherry Hardwood?

As stated, above – cherry wood is renowned for its color-changing characteristics. To begin with, cherry is light-pinkish-beige and quickly deepens to a salmon-orange hue after a few weeks or months. The wood further deepens in color over a few months to a year, changing into a light-chocolate-red color, before finally settling into a rich dark reddish-brown-maple color after several years.   

The color-changing process takes place as the cherry is exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun. And, given the dramatic color transformation that happens, it can be nearly impossible to achieve an exact color match for cherry wood. For example – if you add or replace a piece of your cherry bedroom furniture set, the new piece is unlikely to match the original set. That being said, There’s nothing wrong with mismatched cherry furniture. 

Cherry trees, like oak trees, produce wood of several color variants in the same tree. So, even if your bedroom set is made from the same cherry tree, it can feature subtle and overt color variations. Premium cherry boards are available for an additional cost, which is free of imperfections and hand-picked for color uniformity.

Wood with “Cherry” Colorant vs Natural Cherry Wood

In the wood stain aisle at your local hardware store, you see a lot of different shades of “Cherry” stain. Cherry furniture is made from natural cherry wood, so the coloration does not come from the application of wood stain. Instead, cherry is treated with lacquer, polyurethane, or wood oil finish to help protect the wood and bring out the natural color and grain patterns. 

How to Keep Cherry Uniform in Color as it Ages

Cherry changes color as it ages and is exposed to sunlight, and does so over a year or more. For instance, imagine that you place a candlestick on your new cherry dining room table and leave it there for a full year. Over that year, the color of the cherry has aged in accordance with its exposure to sunlight.

When you finally pick up the candlestick, you find a circle of lighter color wood where the candlestick was sitting. Since the light was not exposed to the area under the candlestick, the cherry refrains from changing in color, causing a mismatched table. The solution is to be sure to remove objects from your cherry furniture after you are finished using it.

How Dense and Durable is Cherry?

Of the hardwood species used for furniture and carpentry, cherry is one of the softest hardwood species. It has a Janka value of just under 1000, making it much softer than oak, maple, and walnut. In essence, cherry is almost like a very dense softwood, as it has a higher Janka value than pine or cedar.

The benefit to cherry being softer is that it lends well to fine-craftsmanship and intricate detail. On the other hand, it is less suitable for high-traffic areas where it is more likely to suffer damage. Cherry is much easier to dent, scratch, and ding-up than other hardwood species. Cherry is delicate for hardwood, but it has superior aesthetic features.

In keeping with its fragile nature, cherry is not suitable for outdoor furniture, since it has no natural water-resistance, like that of white oak. But, it is ideal for adding a rich, warm, intricate aesthetic to your home’s kitchen cabinets, bedroom furniture, and more. Talk to an associate for information on restoring or replacing your cabinets or furniture with the finest custom cherry wood furniture.