Cherry wood is highly valued for its warm, elegant color, and distinctive grain patterns, which make it a popular choice for furniture and home decoration pieces. But is cherry a hardwood that can withstand harsh elements?
In this article, our expert woodworkers prepared an in-depth analysis of the characteristics of Cherry to help you determine if it’s the right wood for your project.
The Hardness of Cherry Wood
Cherry is one of the most sought-after hardwoods among woodworkers due to its durability and workability. It’s an excellent choice for various woodworking projects that require durability and stability. In fact, cherry is considered one of the most durable hardwoods like maple and oak.
It has exceptional strength and hardness, with a Janka rating of 995 lbf, which means it’s highly resistant to humidity, temperature variations, and wear and tear. Due to this, cherry has become one of the top choices for furniture, flooring, and cabinetry.
However, its hardness can vary depending on the specific species of the Cherry tree, as well as other factors, such as growing conditions and the age of the tree.
But generally, cherry wood is a stronger and more resilient hardwood that can withstand harsh elements compared to most hardwoods.
Here are some comparisons of cherry wood’s hardness to that of other common hardwoods based on their Janka score:
16,390 N (3,684 lbf)
Jatoba, Brazilian Cherry
10,500 N (2,350 lbf)
Turpentine, Red Mahogany
12,000 N (2,697 lbf)
Hickory, Satinwood, Pecan
8,100 N (1,820 lbf)
10,400 N (2,330 lbf)
6,000 N (1,360 lbf)
Sugar Maple, Hard Maple
6,400 N (1,450 lbf)
5,800 N (1,300 lbf)
5,900 N (1,320 lbf)
Northern Red Oak
5,700 N (1,290 lbf)
5,140 N (1,155 lbf)
Baltic Birch, Yellow Birch
5,600 N (1,260 lbf)
4,500 N (1,010 lbf)
Imbuia, Black Cherry
4,200 N (950 lbf)
4,230 N (950 lbf)
4,200 N (950 lbf)
3,870 N (870 lbf)
3,690 N (830 lbf)
3,158 N (710 lbf)
2,402 N (540 lbf)
3,100 N (700 lbf)
2,269 N (510 lbf)
2,313 N (520 lbf)
1,868 N (420 lbf)
1,735 N (390 lbf)
1,823 N (410 lbf)
1,690 N (380 lbf)
1,557 N (350 lbf)
1,690 N (380 lbf)
1,423 N (320 lbf)
As shown above, cherry wood falls in the middle of the range of hardwoods in terms of hardness. This means that cherry has a medium density compared to other common hardwoods.
While cherry is not as hard as some of the denser hardwoods like walnut or mahogany, it is still a strong and durable wood that is suitable for a wide range of woodworking projects.
Characteristics Of Cherry Wood
Cherry wood has been favored by craftsmen for centuries for its natural beauty and versatility, making it a highly valued hardwood. It’s a popular material for carving decorative objects due to its medium density, making it easy to carve, saw, and sand.
Since Cherry wood is not too hard compared to most hardwoods, it’s easier to create fine details and intricate designs on its straight-grain pattern. Also, it has great stability, so it will not shrink or warp as it dries, preserving your carved designs over time.
Unlike most hardwoods, cherry wood is easier to stain due to its smooth, tight-grained surface that accepts finishes well. Its uniform grain structure allows finishes to be applied evenly and smoothly.
Additionally, its beautiful reddish-brown color brings timeless elegance to your home as it darkens with exposure to light. This results in a warm and rich tone that adds character and richness to the wood’s appearance.
Most importantly, it contains natural oils, which provide protection against moisture and humidity, extending its lifespan. Below are cherry wood’s outstanding qualities:
Meanwhile, below are cherry wood’s main characteristics:
Cherry Wood’s Pros and Cons
Like any other type of hardwood, Cherry wood has both advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the key points you must consider when using Cherry wood for your project:
Uses of Cherry Wood
Cherry is one of the most versatile hardwoods that you can use in your various projects. While Cherry wood is highly regarded for furniture making and indoor applications, it can also be used for various exterior projects.
Although its color may change over time, especially when exposed to direct sunlight and other harsh elements. But most woodworkers find it more aesthetically appealing when its color darkens. Therefore, do not hesitate to use them for outdoor applications as well.
Here are some common projects where you can use Cherry wood:
How Strong Is Cherry Wood?
Cherry has medium strength compared to some hardwoods. However, it has excellent shock resistance and dimensional stability, allowing it to withstand heavy loads and stress.
Essentially, it has remarkable bending or flexural strength and compressive strength, meaning it can withstand pressure without splitting or breaking.
Cherry has higher compressive strength and bending or flexural strength compared to some popular hardwoods like Oak, Aspen, Soft Maple, Basswood, Poplar, Sycamore, and Sweetgum. Therefore, it is stronger and more durable for various applications.
Is Cherry Wood Harder Than Oak?
Essentially, Cherry has a lower Janka score than Oak. This means that cherry wood is relatively softer compared to Oak. Below are the Janka hardness scores of Oak and Cherry wood:
Is Cherry Wood Harder Than Maple?
Cherry and Maple are both categorized as hardwoods, but they have different durability and strength. Although Soft Maple and Cherry have the same Janka hardness, Hard Maple is stronger than Cherry wood.
However, Cherry has better resistance to environmental elements, making it more durable than Maple. Below are the Janka hardness scores of Maple and Cherry wood:
Is Cherry Wood Harder Than Mahogany?
Generally, mahogany and Cherry have equal strength and density. However, Cherry has a higher resistance to decay, making it more suitable for outdoor applications compared to mahogany.
Additionally, Cherry wood has higher Janka hardness than mahogany. Therefore, Cherry wood is stronger and more durable than Mahogany. Below are the Janka hardness scores of mahogany and Cherry wood:
Is It Difficult To Cut Cherry Wood?
Generally, Cherry wood is easier to cut, as it has a moderate density and hardness that makes it relatively easy to work with using common woodworking tools. Due to its excellent workability, many woodworkers opt to use it for their wood carving projects.
With the use of simple tools, you can easily cut and shape Cherry wood without the risk of chipping, splitting, and cracking. So, even if you’re a beginner or a DIYer , you will find Cherry wood easier to work with.
Overall, Cherry is a hardwood that is stronger and more durable to resist weather variations, moisture, humidity, insects, molds, and other harsh elements.
Aside from its durability and strength, its distinctive grain pattern and reddish-brown hues that darken with age make it highly valuable and one of the most sought-after hardwoods. If properly cared for and maintained, your cherry wood pieces can last for many years.
- Echo CS-490 Review (2023) — Horsepower, Chain, and Specs - June 4, 2023
- Eggshell vs Satin Paint — What are the Differences? - June 3, 2023
- What Is The Best Wood For A Garden Shed? - June 2, 2023