The rich reddish-brown wood is strong, hard, and close-grained. It works well and finishes smoothly, making it one of the most valued cabinet and furniture woods in North America. Black cherry wood is also used for paneling, interior trim, veneers, handles, crafts, toys, and intricately machined angles.
Black cherry scientific name: Prunus Serotina : the largest of the native cherries and the only one of commercial value, is found throughout the Eastern United States used often for it’s stable, straight-grained, and machines well.
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The only difficulty likely to be encountered in smooth planing cherry is very shallow tearout with curly figure and on some quartered surfaces with fine ray fleck. A high attack angle and skewing will help, and scraping is an alternative.
Machining is not a problem on the jointer, planer and bandsaw. Cherry is notorious, however, for producing burn marks when ripping on the table saw. Helpful are a sharp blade that is free of pitch and adequate power in the saw to allow a good steady feed rate.
Cherry’s eastern origin makes it a domestic lumber available to harvest in Virginia. Prices should be moderate, though it should typically cost more than oak or maple, usually close to the price of walnut. The woodworker must be judicious in selecting boards for a project in cherry more so than with most species. A little blotchiness is inevitable and not an aesthetic problem, and boards even from the same tree will vary in color, but look for as much consistency as possible.
Cherry hardwood lumber
Tree Size: 50-100 ft (15-30 m) tall, 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 35 lbs/ft3 (560 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .47, .56
Janka Hardness: 950 lbf (4,230 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 12,300 lbf/in2 (84.8 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,490,000 lbf/in2 (10.30 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 7,110 lbf/in2 (49.0 MPa)
Shrinkage:Radial: 3.7%, Tangential: 7.1%, Volumetric: 11.5%, T/R Ratio: 1.9