Rustic cherry wood furniture offers all the beauty of cherry furniture with a rugged, organic character. The lovely grain, the rich colors and the unique darkening are all present with more imperfections allowed to create a rustic look and feel.

Bedroom in rustic cherry wood

Take the beauty of cherry wood and add a few burls,
A few knots and streaks and grain patterns with curls,
The rugged, organic, imperfect and merry,
Are captured in the warm look of rustic cherry.

Qualities of Rustic Cherry Wood Furniture

Rustic cherry wood is simply a more natural, less refined version of cherry wood. Rustic cherry wood features characteristics of cherry along with irregularities like knots, advanced grain variations, and mineral streaks. The natural and handmade nature of rustic cherry wood makes for gorgeous solid wood furniture that fits country, cabin, cottage, and farmhouse style homes.

Look of Rustic Cherry Furniture

Rustic cherry wood brings the natural beauty of the outside world in with its rugged look. Rustic cherry has a yellowish-white sapwood and a darker heartwood. The colors in rustic cherry wood include variations of white, brown, and deep red, and can differ from mild to dramatic. Rustic cherry includes wood planks with natural knots, mineral streaks, gum pockets, flecks, sap wood and imperfections as well as more grain variation. It finishes well, bringing out the beautiful range of colors of the wood, and it can be shaped easily. Popular choices for finishing rustic cherry wood are browns and greys.

The knots in rustic cherry wood are celebrated for the ruggedness that they add. In rustic cherry furniture, knots can be left open or filled, depending on the level of rustic you like.

Examples of rustic cherry wood

Rustic Strength

Rustic cherry wood is durable and sturdy and can be relied on to make highly durable furniture that can be handed down. It has the same hardness rating as cherry wood of course, scoring a 950 on the Janka Hardness Scale* that compares the relative hardness of woods.

To give you an idea of where it ranks among other popular hardwoods, white oak has a rating of 1360 and walnut a rating of 1010. Brown maple has the same rating as cherry and rustic cherry with a strong 950.

*The Janka Hardness Test involves measuring the force required to embed a .444 inch (11.28 millimetres) small steel ball to half its diameter into a piece of wood.

Like regular cherry wood, rustic cherry is considered one of the “softer” hardwoods, but this is only in comparison to other hardwoods. Rustic cherry offers plenty of strength and durability; it’s just recommended that rustic cherry furniture be handled a bit more carefully than other hardwood species.

Samples of Stain Finishes on Rustic Cherry Wood

Rustic cherry wood is fairly easy to work with. It’s easy to carve and its fine grain takes stain well. It also takes well to steam bending. Rustic cherry wood looks beautiful with a natural finish or rich colored stains, and it’s a great wood option for distressing.

Stains samples in rustic cherry wood

Natural Characteristics of Rustic Cherry Wood

Rustic cherry is a rugged version of cherry wood. It will include:

  • Mineral streaks
  • Knots
  • Small grain burls
  • Pitch pockets
  • Gum in the wood
  • Grain distortions

It is important to note that the degree of rustic elements may vary by woodshop. Rustic cherry wood will darken with exposure to light, developing a rich patina.

What’s the Difference Between Regular Cherry and Rustic Cherry?

Both regular cherry wood and rustic cherry wood come from the same tree, but different boards are selected for these categories. Rustic cherry boards will have more knots while regular cherry boards will have little to none. For rustic cherry furniture, the knots can often be filled with epoxy if desired.

Rustic cherry wood will have more variation in the wood grain, with small grain burls, knots, mineral streaking and sapwood all having a chance to be showcased! Variations in grain and color contribute to the rustic effect. These beautiful imperfections add an elegant and practical look at the same time!

How Rustic Cherry Wood is Used

Rustic cherry wood makes an excellent choice for rustic style furniture.

It’s durable and strong and is a popular choice for furniture, buildings, cabinets and flooring.  It’s an ideal wood for distressed finishes that create a time worn look. Rustic cherry wood’s strength, visual appeal and resistance to warping make it a popular pick for office, living room, dining room and bedroom furniture.

Where the Cherry Trees Are

Like regular cherry, rustic cherry wood comes from the American Black Cherry fruit tree, Prunus Serotina. Other nicknames for Prunus Serotina are rum cherry and wild cherry.

American Black Cherry Fruit trees grow in eastern North America, with an abundance found in the northern and great lake states.
The average American black cherry tree grows between 50 and 80 feet tall, while some can get as tall as 100 feet.

The Cost of Rustic Cherry Wood Furniture

Rustic cherry wood costs more than oak but less than regular cherry wood. This is because there’s less waste involved in building with rustic cherry wood, since knots and burls and other imperfections are included, so it costs a bit less than regular cherry wood.

How to Care for this Wood Type

Rustic cherry wood furniture will darken over time with exposure to light, so just like cherry wood furniture, it’s important to keep all parts of rustic cherry furniture exposed equally to light. This way it will darken evenly.

Please visit our Caring for Wood Furniture page for more information on maintaining solid wood furniture.

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