Sunday, May 26, 2024

Why Cherry Wood is Great For Woodworking

Handmade, solid wood furniture is a woodworker’s dream, a simple fact. As a keen woodworker, I love to experiment with all different types of wood in my spare time when attempting to craft my ambitious projects.

I recently discovered cherry woodworking, and I’m obsessed.

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I’ve found that cherry woodworking is the way to go if you’re looking to create upmarket furniture, craft suave flooring, or experiment in your dad’s tool shed.

I’ve written this article to help you thoroughly understand cherry wood and its end product.

Read on to gain confidence in your future cherry woodworking projects while immensely enjoying yourself.

cherry woodworking

What is Cherry Woodworking?

Cherry wood is highly regarded amongst artisans, both wannabes and the real deal. Once you’ve done some cherry woodworking, you will undoubtedly prefer to use it moving forward because of how enjoyable it is.

American cherry wood is widely available in the UK and the United States (mainly in the US, obviously, hence the name). It justifies its status as a top-tier hardwood and is valued for its deep colours and easy handling.

Suppose you’re working with cherry wood and know what you’re doing. In that case, you can look forward to producing some excellent furniture, doors, trim and occasionally flooring.

So, Why is Cherry Wood So Good?

Giving you a basic Cherry wood overview, the timber is a very popular material among woodworkers because of its unique combination of qualities:

Hardness and Weight:

 American cherry timber is durable and very workable. Its Janka hardness rating is 660 to 995. Although it is softer than other woods like maple, it is very resistant to impact.

With a weight of roughly 1.6 kg per board foot (BF), it is instead heavy but nevertheless doable for various tasks.

Colour and Grain:

The reddish-brown heartwood and buff sapwood of freshly cut cherry wood create a fantastic contrast. Cherry wood is super attractive, and as it gets exposed to light, it deepens its colour, usually to a rich red. Its output is usually straight, fine, and easy to level; the grain may have wavy or waveforms that enhance its attractiveness even more.

Workability and Stability:

Cherry wood is highly workable in terms of strength and stability. It is a favourite amongst the trade for its versatility in constructing everything from furniture to musical instruments, as it is simple to machine, turn, and carve.

American cherry wood has some fantastic characteristics, which makes it a best seller in most timber yards.

Where Does Cherry Wood Come From?

The American Black Cherry Tree is the source of cherry wood. Obvious right? The tree usually has some small fruits, which can be used to make jelly, jams, and other sweet treats. We’d care a lot more if we were in the jam game!  The American black cherry tree is predominantly found in the United States (shock).

cherry woodworking

What Is Cherry Wood Usually Used For?

Cherry wood is versatile, as we said, so it is widely used in many different fields when woodworking. Here are a few basic, common projects you can crack on with when starting some cherry woodworking: 

Furniture: The perfect project to showcase the raw edge of the wood, cherry wood is often fashioned into live edge slabs. These components are frequently used to create tables, counters, and other useful furniture.

Flooring: Cherry wood is popular for spicing up your flooring. Given sufficient care and craft, cherry wood flooring can last years without little maintenance due to its durability.

Cabinetry: Cherry wood is an excellent material for kitchen and bathroom cabinetry because of its strength and the way it can be made to look.

Doors: American cherry timber is an excellent choice for crafting hardwood doors. The wood will leave your interior doors looking genuinely fantastic.

Other Functional Pieces: Cherry wood is also an excellent material for musical instruments, room dividers, wine racks, and chopping boards since it combines a unique flair with functionality. You name it, you can probably craft it using cherry woodworking.

Are There Downsides To Cherry Wood?

The price is the first thing that needs to be addressed. American cherry timber is a premium wood, and due to its hardwood nature, it can also take a lot of hard craft sanding. The finish will undoubtedly give you an arm workout.

Other than that, you won’t be able to stop admiring it. Cherry wood is what you’ll want to use when crafting a high-end project for your home.

Working Techniques for Cherry Wood

I will share a few of my techniques from when I’ve done my cherry woodworking. These techniques significantly enhanced the quality of my work, and the end result made the wood look fantastic. Here are some key strategies:

Your Sanding Techniques:

As mentioned above, sanding American cherry timber will give your arms a more extensive workout than any gym. Always sand carefully with the grain to avoid cross-grain marks, which can detract from the finish. For the best results, hand sand using a block rather than machine sanding. 

I used both, utilising my orbital sander for rough sanding and then switching to hand sanding for finer grits to achieve my ultimate smooth finish.

Cutting and Machining:

I received fantastic advice on using carbide bits and power tools to minimise the risk of burning the wood. The last thing you want is burn marks on your new dining room chairs. Cherry’s workability is generally good but is prone to burning, especially with figured grain.

Always make sure your saw blades are sharp. This will also help reduce any occurrence of burn marks when working. Rotating the log 180 degrees for each cut allows wider lumber, less warp in drying, and minimal edging.

Finishing and Staining:

Nearly all the wood adhesives you can buy are suitable for cherry wood; however, removing any excess glue promptly before finishing is crucial to prevent surface marring.

While cherry takes stains well, a clear finish is often the best option. This allows the wood to naturally oxidise and deepen in colour. Applying a pre-stain conditioner can help minimise blotchiness.

You must consider where your new project will sit on your property. Exposing cherry wood furniture to sunlight can expedite the colour-deepening process, and diluting baking soda in water for application can quickly darken the wood through a chemical reaction.

cherry woodworking

Cherry Woodworking FAQ's

Cherry wood is an excellent option for woodworking jobs. Woodworkers greatly value it for its gorgeous reddish-brown colour, straight grain, and excellent texture.

Cherry wood is also well-known for being stable and workable, making it ideal for various woodworking projects, such as creating furniture, cabinets, and ornamental pieces. 

Because of their distinct characteristics, cherry and oak are popular choices for various woodworking projects. Cherry wood, rich in colour and smooth texture, is highly valued for its ability to complement finer furniture and décor pieces.

Conversely, oak is a well-liked option for structural components like floors and beams because of its strength and longevity. The decision between cherry and oak ultimately comes down to your personal preferences and the project’s requirements.

Cherry wood has several benefits, but it also has some disadvantages. One drawback is that it is prone to colour changes over time when exposed to sunlight, a naturally occurring phenomenon called “cherry patina.”

This patina may change the wood’s natural colour. Furthermore, cherry wood is typically more expensive than other hardwoods, which may affect woodworkers on a tight budget. Lastly, if cherry wood is not adequately dried and seasoned before use, it may distort and split.

Yes, in comparison to other hardwoods, cherry wood is typically thought to be more expensive. Its elevated cost can be attributed to its popularity, restricted supply, and desirable attributes.

Cherry wood is a valuable option for many woodworking projects, as its lovely appearance, workability, and durability frequently make the cost worthwhile.

Cherry wood is renowned for its toughness and density, yet carving is relatively easy with the correct equipment and methods. Because of its smooth texture and fine grain, it is reasonably simple to work with, especially for skilled woodworkers.

However, especially when carving detailed features, it’s imperative to use sharp tools and caution to prevent tear-out or splintering. Cherry wood can be carved into exquisite, detailed designs with the proper ability and care.

Thank You For Reading Our Article On Why Cherry Wood is Great For Woodworking

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I'm Chris, and my life revolves around two profound passions: embracing the joys of fatherhood with my energetic 2-year-old son and channelling my skills into transforming every nook and cranny of our home.
Dads tool shed

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