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

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.

  New-bed

I was working with one of our Vermont Woods Studios customers yesterday who was looking for a natural cherry bed to match existing cherry furniture in his bedroom.  He’s had the existing furniture for about 10 years and now it’s a lovely, rich reddish brown color– something like this solid cherry bed made by Robin Chase of Maple Corner Woodworks.

 


 

 

Cherry-moon-panel-bed (2) The problem is that natural cherry starts out a much lighter wood, usually with a color similar to this Cherry Moon Bed and it takes time to darken as it is exposed to light.  The length of time to go from this light color to the darker color above varies with the amount of light in the room and can take anywhere from a few months to a number of years.  Most customers, however report that their furniture darkens within 6-12 months.

 

Customers often ask if there is a way to speed up the process and the consensus among our craftspeople is that the best solution is just to expose the furniture to as much light as possible.   Adding a dark stain is also a possibility but woodworkers always plead with us to have patience and wait it out instead.  For most customers, the result truly is worth waiting for, especially since our furniture is purchased for a lifetime of use.  Check out more photos of our natural cherry furniture in the Cherry Moon Collection, Vermont-Made Shaker Collection and throughout our website.

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.