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What is Cherry Wood?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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Cherry trees produce one of the most desirable woods used to make furniture. Cherry wood is a brown American hardwood that has a hint of pink or dark red to it. It darkens with age, and this quality is considered both desirable and beautiful.

Light cherry furniture tends to look warmer, yet less formal than dark cherry. It can look especially elegant in hand-carved beds. Some cherry sleigh beds feature hand-carved details of flowers or other designs across the head and foot boards. A sleigh bed is sleigh-shaped and has curved edges on the head and foot boards like many old fashioned sleds have.

A cherry wood bedroom set may include elaborately carved chests of drawers and night tables along with the bed. A hardwood dresser may be tall with many drawers, or it may be short with just a few drawers. Traditional cherry bedroom furniture may feature brass accents, while modern pieces may have silver-toned hardware.

While much of the furniture made with cherry tends to be traditional, modern pieces created from this favorite hardwood are also available. For example, a innovative cherry wood dresser may feature a stretched out oval shape rather than the traditional rectangular style. Cherry computer desks are popular items, as they are often compact, yet attractive. Baby cribs that convert into single or double beds are popular, as the bed can grow with the child as well as change to a different, darker wood tone as the years go by.

Cherry cabinets can give kitchens and bathrooms a rich look. Solid wood cabinets are long-lasting, yet they're often less expensive than other hardwoods. Bathroom vanities made from this wood that hold one or two sinks may feature attractive molding and may have a matching mirror made to hang on the wall above the vanity.

Many dining and coffee tables sold today are made from cherry. Solid furniture is made only from cherry wood, while cherry veneers have a layer of the hardwood with different wood or wood products underneath. Faux cherry doesn't include any wood from the cherry tree but has only its color and look.

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Discussion Comments

By GlassAxe — On Jan 01, 2011

@ submariner- The problem with cherry wood is that it is acidic. It will lower the pH of your soil, making it unbearable for many plants. Ash form cherry wood species has the same effect on the soil as pine needles and birch. Some plants like nightshades and blueberries will thrive in acidic soils, but most plants will suffer.

Besides ash from cherry and a few other species, most other wood ash is good for your soil. In fact, mixing ash into the soil is a good way to remedy acidic soil composition. Mix in maple, ash, or oak ash into garden soil to raise the pH of your soil. You can also mix one tablespoon per gallon of non-cherry wood ash to raise the pH by one.

By submariner — On Dec 29, 2010

Is ash from burning cherry wood logs bad for tilling into a garden? Someone told me I should not spread ash on my garden if it came from cherry wood. She said it would kill some of my plants, or at least stunt their growth. Why is this? I believe her, but after thinking about it, I could not figure out why this would be the case. I have read a number of articles about soil reclamation by mixing ash into dead soils. I always thought that ash was full of essential nutrients that plants need.

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