Cherry lumber is one of the most attractive hardwoods available, but it is not always the easiest to work with. Woodworkers with patience and determination, however, are finding that the deep colours and hardiness of projects made with cherry lumber are well worth the effort.
Properties Of Cherry Wood
Cherry lumber does not usually come from the North American species made famous by the ever truthful George Washington. Instead, many types of cherry lumber is produced from tropical cherry trees which grow much larger than their North American cousins. While North American black cherry wood is highly prized, tropical cherry lumber is generally more moderate in price and more widely available.
Regardless of its source, cherry wood is characterized by a strong aroma, as well as distinctive colours which range from light white or yellow for the sapwood to deep red or reddish brown in the heartwood. Cherry lumber is also known for its markings; most cherry wood has prominent gum streaks and/or pin knots throughout its fine grain.
Unfortunately cherry lumber does have a few less desirable qualities. Woodworkers who dry their own lumber may experience significant warping or shrinkage, in part because cherry wood tends to dry very quickly. Cherry lumber also does not react well to nails, which means that screws are a better fastener choice. Finally, the high density of cherry wood means that it can be difficult to get the wood to hold a high polish without continued maintenance.
Uses Of Cherry Lumber
Cherry lumber has been used in many different applications over the years. Cherry lumber makes beautiful cabinets and fine furniture, and can also be turned in a lathe to produce durable handles for tools and kitchen implements. But cherry flooring is probably the most common use of cherry lumber, at least for do it yourselfers.
Cherry flooring brings beauty and warmth to almost any home. Its deep red colors make the perfect compliment to many of the most popular modern wall coverings, while still imparting a sense of colonial or old-world charm to your home.
These and many other reasons are why many do it yourselfers have begun to brave some of the challenges inherent in using cherry lumber.