Characteristics of Cherry Wood [Video]

Cherry wood: elegant, timeless, and strong. But is cherry the right wood choice for your new furniture? Keep watching as we break down the distinctive characteristics of  cherry wood compared to other wood types for furniture.

What are the characteristics of cherry wood?

Cherry wood is one of our most popular wood type upgrades here at DutchCrafters, and for good reason. This high-end option offers a beautiful wood tone and grain pattern that makes it a good fit for almost any furniture style.

Cherry darkens with time

cherry wood before and after natural darkening

A sample of cherry wood partially covered to show the contrast before and after natural darkening has occurred.

The first thing to know about Cherry wood is that the wood darkens over time with exposure to light. After finishing, the wood will darken considerably over the first year in a home and will continue to darken slowly throughout its life. The darkening requires more diligence for an owner, as we recommend removing everything from the tabletop between meals for some time to avoid blocking the light and creating unnatural variation in color. This darkening also makes it impossible to perfectly match the stain to an existing wood tone in your house, so with cherry we’ll instead recommend that you find a stain color that complements the tones around it.

tabletop showing characteristics of cherry wood grain

A round cherry wood tabletop shows characteristics of the wood grain.

Cherry wood’s grain pattern

Cherry features a fine, shallow grain that takes stain well and makes it a great choice for distressing. Compared to oak’s long lines and, rounded arches, you’ll find more abstract patterns, tight waves and ripples in cherry grain. Despite its sterling reputation, don’t be surprised to find long, thick, white and gray streaks through the wood, as well as dark-colored mineral deposits, flecks and the occasional knot. Want more of that natural character? Choose the “Rustic Cherry” option for your furniture. Less of it? Ask a furniture specialist if you can upgrade to “Select Cherry.”

A hardwood, but not too hard

Cherry is among the softer types of hardwood. It’s comparable to Walnut, but significantly softer than Oak or Hard Maple. This makes it lighter weight and easier to move around, but it does mean that the wood can sustain dents and scratches more easily than some alternatives.

Cherry wood vs. cherry-colored wood finish

Don’t confuse cherry wood with a cherry-colored wood finish. Cherry wood contains some light red tones, but if you’re really looking for the deep red tones like the cherry fruit, that is accomplished with the finish more than the wood type. Cherry wood looks great with a red-toned finish, but this red finish can also be applied to oak or brown maple at a lower price point if you prefer those wood types.

Summary of cherry wood characteristics

In summary, cherry wood is a beautiful, high-end wood choice for furniture. Its straight, smooth grain is an excellent option for all sorts of furniture in all sorts of styles—from formal to contemporary. However, the slightly softer wood and progressive darkening require an owner to take extra care to maintain the furniture over time. So, what do you think? Is cherry right for you?

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