A good wood - is it???

debo_2006December 18, 2008

I have a few questions about American Black Cherry wood:

1) Is this good, better, or best in terms of wood for furniture?

2) Where exactly does it rate among others?

3) Is it very hard in that it won't scratch easily?

I'm talking about a dining room set made from this, and the website states that it is solid, no veneers or selected woods, just all cherry. I asked about the manufacturer and I was told it's private label sold exclusively through the linked website. It's one of their best sellers, so they say.

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

Obviously, I never bought a DR before. Anything else I should be considering when purchasing online or at a store?


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

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Black Cherry, in my opinion, is a wonderful wood any my personal favorite, except for the expense. If finished right, it will develop a rich patina with time and exposure to light. Generally the light sapwood is removed and only the heartwood is used. However, some manufacturers use it all and bleach all the natural color out of it then add a stain to recolor.

Generally "Pennsylvania Cherry" commands a premium price. When I was visiting Colonial Williamsburg, they were working with VA cherry and said it was no where near the quality of the PA cherry.

It is relatively dense but not impervious to impressions. It is less dense than some hardwoods like ash, hard (sugar) maple or oak. It is more dense than poplar.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2008 at 7:24PM
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Cherry is soft enough that writing on a piece of paper with a ball point pen can leave impressions in the wood.

Even real mahogony would be damaged this way.

Only the hardest of the maples, oak, ash, etc. might survive unmarked.

Black Cherry is still a great furniture wood.
The more severe the climate it grown in the better the wood will be.
The annual rings are narrower resulting in a denser and stronger wood.

Warmer climates have longer growing seasons resulting in coarser grain and lower density and strength.

There are a very few exceptions in the tropical woods like Lignum Vitae, Rosewood, and some others.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2008 at 7:51PM
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Sure, cherry is fine, walnut is good too.

But I would be more concerned with the joinery of those chairs, how the chairs are assembled. Do the chairs have mortise and tenon joints (best), or is there a lot of steel hardware underneath?

Sit in a chair and lean it back on two legs. Does it seem "bouncy"?

Some chair designs have "stretchers" connecting the four legs, for maximum strength, e.g. this Hickory Chair.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 8:57AM
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