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.