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” these 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 to China over 30 years ago they found it cheaper to use rainforest woods (rather than import cherry from North America 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.

Many times customers come to us looking to buy real cherry 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, depending on how much light the furniture is exposed to.  See various colors of cherry wood as it changes colors.

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 | Bedroom 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. Solid Cherry Wood Furniture: Is it Real?
  4. Cherry Wood Furniture: Where Does It come From?
  5. Solid Cherry Wood Furniture: 3 Ways To Tell If It’s Real
  6. Natural Cherry Wood Furniture Characteristics: Grain Variations
  7. Natural Cherry Wood Furniture Characteristics: Color
  8. Natural Cherry Wood Furniture Characteristics: Mineral Deposits
  9. Solid Cherry Furniture: 18 American Made Collections From Vermont

Faux Cherry Furniture 101

What color is real cherry wood?
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.

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!

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.

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.

A Rocker rockin' a Rocker! Our first "celebrity" endorsement.
A Rocker rockin’ a Rocker! Our first “celebrity” endorsement.

One of the most unique pieces of furniture we have in our showroom and one that gets a lot of attention at the Vermont Welcome Center is the Custom Quilted Vermont Rocking Chair. This is really a chair that needs to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. It is available on our web site in Natural Cherry, Birdseye Maple or Natural Walnut.

A Jacob’s Ladder toy.

The first time I saw it I was reminded of the child’s toy Jacob’s Ladder. The Quilted Rocker is made up of dozens of smooth wood pieces strung together with nylon rope. The look is unique but the comfort is amazing. I had a knitter friend come to visit the showroom and her eyes lit up when she sat in it. “I could see myself doing a lot of knitting in this chair!”

Well, she wasn’t alone. On Halloween we had a visitor stop by just at closing time. “Gene Simmons” was equally impressed though he doesn’t really strike me as a knitter. Actually, that’s my usually mild-mannered husband, Chris, in one of his favorite costumes. And yes, he made it himself…er, the costume, not the chair.

Stop by and try the Custom Quilted Vermont Rocking Chair for yourself. We think you’ll agree it’s not only a conversation piece, it’s a place of comfort.

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.