American cherry

Prunus serotina

American cherry

General Description

The heartwood of American cherry varies from rich red to reddish brown and will darken on exposure to light. In contrast the sapwood is creamy white. Cherry can be supplied steamed, to darken sapwood or left unsteamed. The wood has a fine uniform straight grain, smooth texture, and may naturally contain brown pith flecks and small gum pockets.

Other Common names

American black cherry

Distribution & Availability

Found throughout Eastern USA, but main commercial areas are Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and New York State. Although cherry accounts for less than 2% of the growing hardwood resource, it is widely available in a full range of specifications and grades as both lumber and veneer.

Case Studies

Brussels Environment Agency HQ

Brussels Environment Agency HQ

American cherry brings its natural colour and warmth to Europe’s largest passive office building

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View Physical & Mechanical Properties

Physical & Mechanical Properties

The wood is of medium density with good wood bending properties. It has low stiffness, medium strength and shock resistance.

American cherry - Physical & Mechanical Properties

Specific Gravity (12% M.C.):0.5
Average Weight (12% M.C.):561 kg/m3
Average Volume Shrinkage (Green to 6% M.C.):9.20%
Modulus of Rupture:84.809 MPa
Modulus of Elasticity:10,274 MPa
Compressive strength (parallel to grain): 49.023 MPa
Hardness:4226 N
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View Working Properties

Working Properties

Cherry is easy to machine. It nails and glues well and when sanded, stained and polished, it produces an excellent smooth finish. It dries fairly quickly with moderately large shrinkage, but is dimensionally stable after kilning.

American cherry - Working Properties

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Main Uses

Furniture and cabinet making, high-class joinery, kitchen cabinets, mouldings, panelling, flooring, doors, boat interiors, musical instruments, turning and carving. The subtle range of red tones found in the heartwood have made this species very fashionable for many high end applications.

American cherry - Main Uses

Kitchen cabinets
Mouldings and
Veneered panels
Sports goods
Tool handles
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Other Information

On exposure to UV light, cherry products with a natural finish will generally darken in colour over time. This premium wood has naturally occurring pin knots and gum streaks which are not considered defects. Sapwood is admitted without limit. Because of this NHLA rule, cherry lumber is often sold with a heartwood specification such as 90/50, which means one face will be 90% heartwood and not less than 50% heartwood on the reverse face. Consult your supplier about how their cherry is being sold.

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