By Jo-Ann Kaiser
By Jo-Ann Kaiser
COMMON NAMES HEIGHT/WEIGHT PROPERTIES American Black Cherry has a long and distinguished history in the United States, having been cultivated here since 1629. Its use in fine furniture is so revered it is sometimes referred to as cabinet cherry. Although cherry has never fallen out of favor with the public, today it is more popular than ever.
American Black Cherry has a long and distinguished history in the United States, having been cultivated here since 1629. Its use in fine furniture is so revered it is sometimes referred to as cabinet cherry. Although cherry has never fallen out of favor with the public, today it is more popular than ever.
One reason for this popularity is that traditional furniture styles, such as Mission and Shaker, are very much in vogue gain. While Mission is often made using oak and Shaker is often made with maple, cherry is also being used.
Richard Judd, furniture designer, craftsman and owner of the Zazen Gallery in Paoli, WI, says that when he first started as a custom woodworker, he used the local woods- walnut, cherry and maple. He later switched to exotics for their unique colors, grain patterns and textures. Lately, however, he says he has been using more cherry again. "I just bought some gorgeous cherry to make a coffee table," Judd says. "The top is made form two planks of cherry and it has a wonderful color and subtle grain."
Judd also says he recently purchased some curly cherry veneer, which "has a very interesting ropy look.
Christ Groff, who with his father runs Groff and Groff Lumber Inc., in Quarryville, PA, agrees that cherry has been selling especially well over the past year. "Cherry has never been out of style," Groff says, "but cherry, along with maple is particularly popular now. We are exporting a lot if it and also selling the highest grades here."
Asked who is using cherry, Groff replies, "Everyone. Furniture manufacturers, cabinet manufacturers, millworkers and architectural millworkers are all using lots of it."
Groff says that Pennsylvania is considered prime cherry country. "We have the best growing area," he says. "Good supplies are also found in the southeastern part of New York."
Figured or Plain
Kathie Kroening, CKD, a kitchen designer for The Kitchen Center in Glendale, WI, also notices cherry's increasing popularity with her clients. "Cherry, maple and birch are all up in popularity, replacing oak as the asked-for wood, she says. "Cherry is a very rich wood and as it ages the color deepens." Kroening says typical applications of cherry include heavy crowns, raised panels and fluted filler.
"It offers a more formal look than oak, which gives a more country feel," she says. "With darker stains you lose the grain. Cherry is one of the woods that can be formal but also offers warmth and coziness." Kroening notes that clients are extending the use of cherry to other rooms and also using cherry in furniture-like pieces for the kitchen. "We are putting in accent pieces in the kitchen using cherry with posts, legs and feet. They add a furniture feel to the design," she says.
A Handful of Hues
A Tendency to Darken
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