American Cherry


Char Cherry Even Width (Thumbnail)American Cherry (Prunus Serotina) –  Black Cherry is a medium-sized tree ranging from 60′ – 80′ tall and 2′ – 3′ in diameter.  The larger trees  were once common but are now rarer as the Cherry trees thrive  in full sun. The long-ago practice of clear cutting forests actually helped the supplies of cherry to grow larger trees. Now, due to revised forestry practices, it is  a smaller tree.  The lumber planks  average 8’ – 10’ long and 4” – 7” wide.

Distribution: Eastern Canada and Eastern U.S.A., specifically New York and  Pennsylvania.

General Characteristics: The heartwood, when first cut, varies from a very light pink to a dark red brown color. The wood darkens substantially with exposure to light. The initial pores formed at the beginning of each year’s growth are just somewhat larger than the others. Therefore, Cherry has somewhat of a growth ring pattern on the board face. The tree develops a long, straight defect-free bole, its popularity started when the colonists soon learned it could be substituted for the more expensive mahogany in making fine furniture.

Hardness/Janka:  Janka: 950; (26% softer than Northern Red Oak)

Grain: Fine, straight close grain with  fine, frequently wavy, uniform texture. There is distinctive flake pattern on true quarter sawn surfaces. Texture is satiny, with some gum pockets. Cherry wood can also be figured with “flash” or a broad undulating grain pattern. This material is particularly prized for the special decorative effect it gives. Quartered Cherry has a very interesting, small but numerous ray fleck.

Variations Within Species and Grades: Significant color variation between boards. Gum spots or small dark longitudinal liaisons about 1/16″ wide to 1/2″, or longer, are a common characteristics of Cherry. Gum spots can be larger, and sometimes gum even follows an entire growth ring around the tree. These spots are caused by wounding or by a peach bark borer, which feeds on the tree cambium. The cambium responds by forming the gum spot. Peach bark borers reproduce in fallen trees and tops. Along with gum pockets, pin knots are  inherent  in the heart wood, neither are considered a defect.

Customized Species and Grades: The favored wood for the  American colonists has carried over to flooring because it can be polished to a deep, glowing red. Cherry is also unique in that as it ages, its lustrous hues will darken a bit more than will other hardwoods and will ultimately mature to a rich, burnished auburn color. The variegated  gum pockets adds charm and distinction and tell a unique ecological story, much like your  own family tree.