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The figures are in and they do not tell a lie — American cherry continues to be a favorite with furniture manufacturers.
A past survey of High Point Market exhibitors by the Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc. found that American cherry is the species of choice for residential furniture, particularly bedroom and dining room pieces. Taking the second spot in popularity was American maple, tying with rubberwood, which increased in usage. Next in line was American white oak, which tied with mahogany for popularity.
The Best Domestic
Cherry is considered the best domestic cabinet wood due to its warm red tone and dramatic grain cathedrals. It is perhaps the only wood species that consumers ask for by name. Over the past 20 years or so it has become a much more popular wood for the kitchen cabinet market as well.
American cherry can be finished in a wide range of colors and turns more red with age. It is a hardwood, but is still easy to machine. It is not particularly easy to bend, and is prone to splitting when steam bent, unlike ash that is more flexible.
Pennsylvania cherry also has the least amount of pitch pockets. Buyers come from all over the world searching for the color, also called pink salmon. If you go farther North, the cherry is bright pink; farther South, it becomes more orange in tone.
Cherry thrives in full sun, so the long-ago practice of clear cutting forests actually helped the supplies of cherry to grow. It has been a popular fine furniture wood since the early settlers discovered its properties. It is especially prized for its beauty and workability, its fine grain texture and range of figures, which includes curly cherry. When finished, cherry wood is a beautiful salmon pink to red and its color improves with time.
American cherry grows in the eastern United States and Canada. Its uses include furniture and cabinetmaking, high-end joinery, musical instruments, flooring and boat interiors. It is a favorite for turnery and carving and also is used in pattern making and specialty items.
Article excerpted from Wood of the Month archives.
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