50-shades-of-cherry
Google image search results for ‘real cherry wood”. Half of these are NOT cherry wood.  Many are illegal rainforest woods, brought to you by organized crime which has taken root in the global timber industry.

Cherry Wood: Will The Real Color Please Stand Up?

We have conversations with customers every day about the color of real cherry wood furniture.  It’s no wonder!  When I just googled “real cherry wood” well over 50 shades of cherry came up.  Quite a variation, isn’t it?

First of all, half of these images are NOT of cherry wood.  When the big American furniture companies started off-shoring their furniture 30-40 years ago they found it cheaper to use rainforest woods than cherry (rather than ship cherry wood from North America to third world factories and then export it back to North America as furniture). So they stained these cheaper woods and gave them various trade names containing “cherry”.  For example Makore, an increasingly rare African wood being illegally logged in Sierra Leone and Gabon has been sold under the trade name Cherry Mahogany, though Makore is not closely related to either cherry or mahogany.  Worse yet,  it is listed as an endangered species due to illegal logging and exploitation by organized crime which has taken root in the global timber industry.

Real cherry wood furniture looks like this
Real cherry wood furniture looks like this when it’s new but ripens to a dark reddish brown after it’s been exposed to light for a few months.

Many times customers come to Vermont Woods Studios looking to buy real cherry wood furniture that matches existing cherry pieces in their homes.  After discussions and emailing pictures back and forth they are shocked to find that their “cherry” furniture from Bassett, Broyhill, Ethan Allen, Thomasville, Drexel, Lane or other big “American” companies is not cherry at all but rubberwood, poplar or some kind of engineered hardwood.

At Vermont Woods Studios, our cherry furniture is indeed made out of real, solid North American Black Cherry wood.  The color starts out as a light pink and slowly ripens to a rich reddish brown over time, as it’s exposed to light.  Nina’s photo of the rocker below shows the range of natural cherry colors after the wood’s been exposed to light.

This rocker shows the range of colors for real cherry wood
This rocker shows the range of colors for real, natural cherry wood. You can see the chair’s darker than the cherry in the photo above. Notice too, that even within the one rocking chair, there are differences in cherry wood color that are created by grain patterns and grain direction.

Are you interested to learn more?  Find tons of information and photos of American made, real cherry wood furniture on our website & send us your questions on Facebook or in the comments section below.

real cherry wood furniture

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

real cherry wood furniture
This Natural Vermont Spindle Bed is shown in real, natural cherry wood. It’s pretty new in the photo so it’s light in color. After a few months of exposure to sunlight, the furniture will darken to a rich reddish brown color.

If you’ve made your way to this post, chance are you’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to find real cherry wood furniture.  Why do you suppose real cherry is so hard to find?  Well, it’s kind of like trying to find real American made furniture right?  Both are relatively rare in this age of cheap imports and they can easily get obscured by the mass marketing of knock-offs.

Real Cherry Furniture 101

Real honest cherry furniture is still being handcrafted in Vermont and in fact, it is the wood of choice for over half of our customers.  As such we get asked a lot of questions about it.  The curiosity of our customers has made us experts in cherry wood and cherry furniture & we’re happy to share everything we’ve learned.  Here are a few articles you might be interested in:

  1. Natural Cherry Wood Furniture: What Color Is It… Really?
  2. Cherry fundamentals: heartwood, sapwood, color, grain and mineral deposits
  3. Cherry Wood Furniture: Where Does It come From?
  4. Solid Cherry Wood Furniture: 3 Ways To Tell If It’s Real
  5. Natural Cherry Wood Furniture Characteristics: Color
  6. Natural Cherry Wood Furniture Characteristics: Mineral Deposits
  7. Solid Cherry Furniture: 10 American Made Collections From Vermont

Faux Cherry Furniture 101

real cherry wood furniture
So you’re not sure what the color of real cherry is? Well, no wonder! When I just googled “real cherry wood” these images are what came up. Quite a variation, isn’t it?  Learn how to tell cherry from it’s imitators here.

Don’t be fooled by the plethora of stores that sell faux cherry knock offs and label them as “real cherry wood”.  What you’re buying at those stores is actually rubber wood, poplar, alder or any number of fast-growing wood alternatives.  They are often illegally clear-cut from the world’s rapidly disappearing rainforests, then bleached, texturized and stained to look like cherry.  Why would companies like Wayfair, Crate and Barrel, Amazon, Walmart, Overstock, Macy’s, JC Penny’s risk their reputations by engaging in such false advertising?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook.

real cherry wood furniture

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Cherry Dining Furniture | Customer Review
Thanks to Jeff F in Alaska for sending this photo and review of his new Vermont made dining set.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of our fine furniture business (or any business, I would imagine) is when a customer becomes a friend.  This is a story about a friendship that developed between our staff and a family who lives in Alaska.

The truth is… the process of ordering handcrafted, made to order furniture is a (relatively) long one.  Sometimes it takes 8 weeks or more for crafting a dining room set.  After that shipping can take a couple additional weeks (depending on a customer’s distance from our workshops in Vermont) because “faster is not always better” when it comes to moving fine furniture.

So during this period we get to know our customers pretty well.  We communicate back and forth regularly about our progress and about the schedule and logistics for delivery.   Occasionally our conversations about logistics include personal details and once in a while this leads to a special friendship which develops unexpectedly.  Such was the case with the family of Jeff F who recently sent us this kind note:

We recently purchased a dining room table and chairs from Vermont Woods Studios. We looked around before we made our selection, both online and in local stores. Although we had not made a purchase previously from Vermont Woods Studios, we made a leap of faith and ordered from them, as they seemed to offer the materials, design, and craftsmanship we were looking for. 

It’s not often these days that people exceed your expectations, but ours were exceeded in all respects. The staff at Vermont Woods Studios was informative, knowledgeable, and responsive. Communications, estimated ship dates, and follow up all were timely and accurate. When the furniture pieces arrived, they were just as we had hoped. Each piece was extremely well-crafted. Joints were flawless. The cherry wood was gorgeous and the grain was very well-matched. The finish was nearly luminescent.

We found the people at Vermont Woods Studios wonderful to work with, and our experience could not have been more positive. They went out of their way to help and accommodate us at every turn. We have recommended them to friends without any hesitation, and I’m certain that we’ll be ordering additional pieces of furniture for our home.”–Jeff F.

Thanks, Jeff.  Your letter made our day and reminded us what our jobs are all about.  Cheers– to many happy moments shared together around your Vermont made dining furniture!

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

 

Cherry Furniture | Handmade in Vermont | Real Solid Hardwood
Dennis and Nina took this picture at Stonehurst, our new fine furniture showroom.  It’s our Vermont Shaker Moon bed, dresser and nightstands, handmade in Montpelier of natural cherry wood.

Cherry furniture is enjoying the top spot on our customer’s list of favorite wood species again this year.   It’s been the trend for several years and no doubt 2014 will be another banner year for cherry wood.  Most Vermont woodworkers are set up to offer customers a choice of at least the Top 4 American Hardwoods used in fine furniture making, that is:  cherry, maple, walnut and oak.  But cherry has always been the favorite as far back as I can remember.

In responding to customer preferences as well as the availability of high quality, sustainably harvested cherry wood, Vermont furniture makers have become America’s authority on fine cherry furniture.  We work right alongside them at Vermont Woods Studios and have been sharing their knowledge on our website, in our blog and in a variety of articles.  As we head into the furniture buying season, I thought I’d compile some of these resources and publish them as The Ultimate Buyers Guide for Cherry Furniture.

Check it out and let us know on Facebook, if you have additional questions we can add to the Guide.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Natural Cherry Wood Changes Color Just Like Liz and Sean
Sean is drawing some interesting analogies between himself, Liz and natural cherry wood furniture today. 

Guest blogger:  Sean Henry

Editors note: Sean Henry and Liz Francese are our front line, crackerjack, Vermont-made furniture sales people.  If you’ve purchased from us before you’ve probably talked to them on the phone (and you’ve definitely received emails from them) so you’ll totally “get” Sean’s tongue-in-cheek essay on how people and cherry wood change over time.  If not, I guess you’ll just have to visit us at Stonehurst and see for yourself.

Let me explain something. When Liz and I were youngsters, we were adorable. No seriously, we were absolutely adorable. We were cute, blond, loveable, patriotic (me) and verbally expressive (Liz).  As I am sure you can see from the pictures we were the kind of kids that parents would love to pull pictures out of their wallets to show off to all their friends. But as you can also see, things change.  Well, maybe not all things change (this is where I tell you to look at both of the pictures of my favorite co-worker and see if you can find the similarities between the two pics).

 

Click here to shop for Cherry Wood Furniture.
Click here to shop for Cherry Wood Furniture.

Okay, so now that I have that part out of the way…  The one thing I wanted to point out — and yes I am finally getting to the point­­ — is that we both used to be blond or perhaps I should say dirty blond.  We both had a nice, light head of hair and over time it has become a darker shade of brown.  You may say to yourself, “what does any of this have to do with Cherry wood furniture?”  Well let me tell you.

Cherry Wood Furniture ripens with age. 

Natural Cherry wood is a lot like Liz and I.  When it first arrives, it will be a light, almost dirty blond color.  The light color of new Natural Cherry wood may not be what you expect to see after looking at all the beautiful images of cherry wood furniture on our website.  Don’t worry, this will change.  Over time, Cherry wood darkens or “ripens” as it ages and as it is exposed to light.  As the Natural Cherry ripens, you will see the beauty of the wood and all its amazing characteristics come through.  You will start to see a noticeable change after just a few months. After six months to a year it will have that rich, ripe auburn color.  After that the color of the Cherry wood will change more gradually.  You can see the difference in the pictures above.

Cherry Wood Furniture, On Sale. 

One last thing I want to point out before I stop writing this long-winded blog (I am new at this).  You have probably noticed my baby picture with the American flag and my very American red white and blue sailor suit.  I thought it would be a good reminder to everyone that our Cherry Wood Furniture is frequently on sale.   So it might be the perfect time for some change and the perfect time to think about how our Vermont-Made, Handcrafted, ever-changing, beautiful, Natural Cherry wood furniture will look in your home! Visit our Sale Page to see what deals we’re offering. 

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.