A good wood - is it?

debo_2006December 17, 2008

Is American Black Cherry good, better, or best in terms of wood? Where exactly does it rate? Is it very hard in that it won't scratch easily? I'm talking about a dining room set made from this, and "they" state that it is solid, no veneers or selected woods, just all cherry.

The set is a table with 2 leaves that extends to 108", with 2 arm chairs, 4 side chairs and buffet all for $5K (free shipping). Does that sound reasonable for a Black Cherry set?

Obviously, I never bought a DR before.

Here is a link that might be useful: American Black Cherry DR set

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American black cherry is an excellent wood for use in dining room furniture. It is a hard wood, which doesn't mean it will not scratch, but solid cherry furniture can be repaired if it does get damaged. The price listed indicates that you are in the mid-priced range for a cherry dining room. You are not getting Stickley furniture at that price, but should be able to get a very serviceable dining room set. It bothers me that your website does not specify the name of the manufacturer, but they might give it to you if you ask, and I would be able to comment more specifically on a particular brand. For your information, I was a Dining Room buyer for a large furniture chain many years ago.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 1:30PM
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I did ask when I called the customer service number on the website. Their reply was that it is a private label for their Internet company. I search and search all over the web to see if I could find it elsewhere and I can't. They will not give me the manufacturer's name. I even asked if I could get a wood sample and he said they don't provide any. Hummm.

I guess it bothers me to spend 5K on a set I can't see, touch and sit in. Thanks for your comment.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 10:02PM
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Before buying anything online, I click on the contact link. If they don't show their physical address and phone number etc. I leave. I don't trust a business that hides their address (as furniturefromhome.com does). Private label may mean that the manufacturer makes it exclusively for them, or it may just mean that they don't want to reveal the manufacturer so you can't shop for a better price. I would hesitate to do business with an operation such as this, especially such a large purchase. I think you would be better served by finding a salesperson you trust at a local furniture store who will explain the differences between wood species and manufacturer's quality.

Cherry is an excellent furniture wood, it is about 80% as hard as rock maple. One aspect to learn about is the difference between heartwood (the inner part of the tree, reddish brown color) and the sapwood (outer part of tree, creamy white color). Some companies select out the sapwood (considerable expense for waste), others don't. I have seen several disappointed customers who received their dining table with a mix of heartwood and sapwood that was unexpected. Scratch resistance has more to do with the finish than the wood species. There is no un-scratchable furniture. Conversion varnishes, are probably the most scratch resistant and chemical resistant commercially available finishes. That is the finish that is on most kitchen cabinets today.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2008 at 3:06PM
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Generally, a lot of good advice here on cherry as a medium for furniture...especially the importance of determining the heart content of the wood. It makes a huge difference in overall quality and likely quality of manufacturer.

The most objective measure of wood hardness I have seen and the most universally recognized is the Janka Hardness Scale. On this scale, american black cherry is rated at 950 while rock (sugar) maple is 1450 so rock maple is much harder. However, good heart cherry is much prettier for most furniture IMO. I have a fair number of good cherry pieces and they are very nice and plenty hard. However, I also have a 16 inch thick end grain rock maple butcher block...it is WAY harder than the cherry and hard and heavy as steel (almost indestructible). FWIW

OH and BTW, the butcher block is a working block. I have used it heavily for about 5 years and, while it has cut marks in the top, it has no wood loss at all yet...emphasizing its durability.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 12:16AM
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