April 29th, 2013 by Peggy Farabaugh
Spring is the time of year when the (normally homely) black cherry tree gets to dress up and strut it’s stuff. Hard to believe isn’t it– that these gangly trees with rough, scaley bark will be transformed into beautiful flowering flora (and perhaps one day into natural cherry furniture like the Cherry Moon Bed above).
But it’s true. In a few short weeks they will be bursting with fragrant white and yellow blossoms which will give way to delicious black cherry fruit. These are the trees that provide a sustainable source of wood for over half of the furniture customers purchase from our store, Vermont Woods Studios.
Interested in learning more about cherry trees and natural cherry wood furniture for your home? We are the experts! Check out some of the many “cherry wood” articles we’ve written over the years and give us a call to let us know if you’ve got a question we’ve yet to answer. We’ll jump right on it!
October 28th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
I just did a Google search for “cherry furniture” and above are the products that came up on Google’s sponsored ads. Guess how many of these pieces are actually made of real cherry wood? None. Hard to believe isn’t it? Not a single one of these pieces looks even remotely like cherry. I can’t figure out why furniture makers get it so wrong but the error is absolutely pervasive in the world of imported furniture. In fact, many times when customers come to us for real cherry furniture, they ask us to apply a dark stain to our natural cherry products to make them match their imported “cherry furniture” (Vermont furniture makers actually break down and cry when we ask them to stain cherry wood, by the way).
So I thought I’d post a couple photos so you can see what real, natural cherry wood furniture looks like. Below is our American Shaker Bedroom Furniture Collection. You can see that the wood color is much lighter than any of the imported fake cherry furniture shown above. Why is that?
Well, cherry wood actually changes color! It darkens with age. Below is of a brand new natural cherry wood bedroom set.
The same natural cherry wood bed and bedroom set after 6 months of exposure to light looks like this:
Quite a difference isn’t it? Both beds have the same coating– it’s a hand rubbed natural linseed oil finish. It’s the exposure to sunlight that darkens (or ripens) cherry and transforms it from a light color to a rich, dark reddish brown.
Another way to tell if your furniture is made of real organic cherry is to look for mineral deposits. These are small black flecks in the grain where tiny amounts of sap were stored by the tree. Mineral deposits (or pitch pockets) are natural and randomly occurring. They are part of what makes each cherry piece unique. Many times, imported furniture that’s called “cherry” is made with inferior woods that undergo a multi-step chemical process of bleaching, texturizing and staining in an attempt to achieve the classic ripened cherry color. Even if the color does come out close to real cherry, the wood will be absent of cherry’s characteristic mineral deposits– the telltale sign of a fake.
So which do you prefer? New cherry, ripened cherry or fake cherry? Let us know in the comments section below or weigh in on our Facebook.
October 23rd, 2012 by Loryn Dion
I have a small confession to make. I, Loryn Dion, am a Pinterest addict. Every time I have a spare minute, I find myself flipping through DIY projects and cooking recipes on my laptop, Kindle, cell phone and even on my TV. It’s a very big problem. One of my favorite ideas that I’ve seen pop up on Pinterest in the last few weeks, and you’ve probably seen it too if you’re an avid Pinterest user like me, is the DIY closet office.
Basically, the closet office is exactly what it sounds like. For modest homes that do not have the luxury of having a separate room for an office, you take a large closet or nook space, outfit it with a desk, chair, filing cabinet and a plethora of shelves and organizers, a little paint and voila! A secret office space that can be closed up when you’re done.
There are a few versions of the office that link to pages telling you about chairs and desks from Ikea or Pottery Barn that would fit perfectly in your spare closet. While it may be true that these pieces will fit in your closet now, in 5-10 years you’re going to be tossing out that “disposable” desk to replace it with a new “disposable” desk that will just fall apart in another 5 years. Plus, these pieces are no friends to the environment. So I’m here to tell you that you can get that dream closet office space with our lifetime guaranteed, eco-friendly, office furniture.
First, I suggest starting with our Cherry Moon Writing Desk. I think it has a nice mission-flair that works well with many styles and has a unique, two-toned drawer pull option. This desk also comes in 5 different sizes to fit whatever shape your closet space is. Also check out our Vermont-Made Shaker Writing Desk if you like these options but prefer a more traditional shaker style.
Next, pick up our Cherry Moon 2-Drawer Vertical File Cabinet for additional, under-desk storage (Or our Vermont Shaker 2 Drawer File Cabinet, if you like the shaker option). If you have the room, browse our customizable book shelves to find a bookcase that will fit in nicely with the style of your closet office.
Now, you can decorate how you’d like (If you’re choosing cherry wood, I would suggest earth tone colors. They look great with cherry wood no matter what age it is) and fill up your space with supplies and appliances (I love thegreenoffice.com. They have some great deals on office supplies that are green and energy efficient).
There you have it! A quick guide to an environmentally-friendly closet office. If you have a closet office or have some great ideas for one, tell us about it in the comments or show us your pictures on our facebook page!
November 29th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
On the last post we talked about natural cherry wood furniture with regard to grain variations in the wood. Today I wanted to provide some detail about naturally occuring mineral deposits that are characteristic of cherry.
In cherry wood small black flecks occur in the grain where tiny amounts of sap were stored in the cherry tree. If you click on the photos for a larger view, you may be able to see them (or you may have to enlarge the photos: hold down your CTRL key and press the [+] key at the same time).
Mineral deposits (or pitch pockets) are natural and randomly occurring. They do not diminish the strength or quality of your furniture. As we say: they add to its uniqueness.
The frequency of mineral deposits in our furniture varies with each tree utilized but it is largely reflected in the product photos here and throughout our website. Like any other fine furniture maker we cannot guarantee the absence of mineral deposits in our cherry wood furniture and we cannot consider the presence of mineral deposits a reason for furniture returns, per our lifetime guarantee policy.
Looking for Cherry Furniture with Virtually No Mineral Deposits?
Most of our furniture makers are reluctant to offer cherry furniture without mineral deposits for a couple reasons. First, it is against our sustainable forestry principles. Up to five times the number of trees need to be harvested to produce furniture with virtually no mineral deposits. Second, the presence of mineral deposits in cherry wood can be a matter of opinion. What one customer might feel was mineral-deposit free furniture may not be the same for another customer.
If mineral deposits are an issue for you, give us a call. We'll work something out… although I should mention that the price of a "virtually mineral deposit-free" piece is generally about twice that of the regular piece.
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.