November 27th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
Cherry wood is perhaps the most prized furniture hardwood in America. Our Vermont Woods Studios Furniture craftsmen typically use cherry that is grown in sustainable forests in Pennsylvania, as that is home to the finest cherry wood in all the world. For each piece of furniture, natural cherry boards are carefully selected for excellence in grain match, color and width.
Because we sell most of our cherry wood furniture online, we focus our website on ensuring our customers understand what natural cherry wood looks like. We've created detailed descriptions of cherry wood, we offer wood samples and we feature great photos that show the color and grain of the wood.
One thing we always point out to customers is that a single cherry wood board can have grain contrasts. The lighter grain was closer to the tree’s bark (sapwood) and the darker grain was closer to the tree’s center (heartwood). This picture shows a cross section of a cherry tree. The dark center of the tree is the heartwood and the light outer ring is the sapwood. When choosing boards for your furniture, we focus on the darker heartwood however we cannot guarantee there will be no trace of sapwood.
For example, if you look closely at the top of this table, you will see some of the grain contrast. We minimize the appearance of the sapwood by flipping the boards so that the heartwood is on the tabletop. If you were to look at the tabletop from underneath the table you would see a bit more traces of sapwood.
Cheaper furniture that is mass-produced is usually made of wood that has undergone a multi-step chemical process of bleaching, texturizing and staining in order to masque these natural characteristics of the cherry wood. In fact, most so called "cherry furniture" is not made of cherry wood at all. It's made of veneers and woods like poplar or alder that are heavily processed and do not look much like natural cherry at all.
At Vermont Woods Studios our natural cherry wood furniture is the real thing. We do take the time to select and join boards that have the best available grain match, but we cannot guarantee the kind of uniformity in color that you will find in heavily processed laminate surfaces. For more information on grain contrast or to order cherry wood furniture made exclusively of heartwood give us a call.