what color is cherry wood

What Color is Cherry Wood?

Cherry wood is no doubt one of the most popular furniture hardwood these days. This is backed up by its best-selling reputation across wood suppliers. What color is Cherry wood, you may ask. It is a reddish-brown, smooth grained hardwood of the American Black Cherry tree. Many wood aficionados and woodworkers adore Cherry because of its aging process and color. It begins in a light pink hue, darkening through time until it reaches a reddish hue with an attractive patina. 

Cherry Wood Natural Colors

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It may be quite surprising to know that the natural color of Cherry wood changes hues through time. The color of Cherry wood may greatly vary from one tree to another, even with various boards from a single tree. Even though different wood types may turn out darker as time passes by, the procedure can be very complicated when it comes to Cherry Wood. Cherry wood starts with a light or golden pinkish tone, darkening to a bold, reddish-brown color when it gets exposure to light. 

The darkening of the Cherry wood color, otherwise called “ripening”. It is relatively apparent especially within the first six months of being exposed to light. This may go on for many years before it turns into that gorgeous reddish-brown color. This is the color that Cherry wood is loved for. 

Why the Change in Color?

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Even though there are some discussions on the possible reasons why Cherry wood changes colors through time, many would agree that it could be one or multiple factors combined, especially UV light and oxidation (air exposure). Both of these factors may result to some chemical changes in the wood molecules, thus affecting how light is reflected on the surface. 

Cherry wood features a closed grain, smooth pattern. It is similar to that of maple wood. Just like any other natural material, many accept the unique features and characteristics of Cherry wood’s wood grain. A single board made of Cherry wood may also have multiple grain patterns that are contrasting, which usually depends on the tree growth. 

Cherry wood, as mentioned, is one of the most loved furniture hardwoods used in woodworking projects. Most of the highest-grade wood usually has this purpose. On the other hand, lower-tier and mid-tier Cherry wood is usually used in wood flooring and kitchen cabinets. They are also used in some kitchen accessories like wood spoons, bowls. They are also safe for making cutting boards. 

From Pale to Darker Color Through Time

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The natural color of Cherry wood changes quite differently as time passes by. Up front, the change happens quite fast. Freshly cut Cherry, or one that has just been sanded or planed will feature a pinkish color. In just a few hours, it will begin to turn itself into a slightly darker, reddish-brown color. 

The color of natural Cherry wood will become more pronounced when it gets more exposure to sunlight. The UV rays of the sun produces this change. This process goes on through time, even for several years, with the piece achieving a deeper and darker color. When it reaches a chestnut brown color, it becomes most desirable.

Confusions in the Natural Color of Cherry Wood

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Wood suppliers often get questions from customers regarding the actual color of natural Cherry wood. The usual answer that most suppliers give is that, it depends. One of the reasons of this confusion is the idea that natural cherry is relatively less common compared with stained cherry wood. Another reason for the confusion is that natural cherry wood may change huge through time. 

Most Cherry wood pieces that are available commercially are usually finished with a dark stain. Many commercial wood makers prefer dark stain for several reasons. For one, a dark stain appeals very well. Also, many customers anticipate that Cherry has a dark color, maybe because they got ones that have darkened through time, or maybe because they have been stained by the manufacturer. 

Another possible reason, perhaps the most idealistic one, is that applying a dark stain is one of the most efficient ways to handle Chery wood. With dark stain on Cherry wood, manufacturers can utilize white sapwood, thus allowing them to save money and time in the creation of the wooden piece. There is no need for them to choose the wood for their color or grain. 

Enhancing Cherry Wood Color

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Finishes and stains may be applied to natural cherry wood. While it is still recommended to keep the natural beauty and luster of Cherry wood and its vibrant and rich color, you can still choose to enhance the hue even better by using a finish or stain. 

If you really wish to use a finish, it is generally more ideal to choose natural or clear finish for Cherry wood. The range, and colors vary depending on the cherry wood that you are trying to apply it on, as well as the type of grain pattern that it has, whether it is a sapwood or a heartwood. 

Sapwood typically comes with lighter colors, while heartwoods usually feature richer or darker colors. As with the range of colors available, they are available from light gray, to autumn red, golden russet, deep red, to dark mahogany. You can even go as dark as purplish or burgundy shades. With its straight grain pattern and uniform texture, the overall beauty of Chery wood becomes more distinct with its color. 


What color is Cherry wood? Cherry wood features a distinct reddish-brown hue when it has already matured. This unique characteristic makes it one of the most attractive options for several woodworking projects. While many enjoy the natural hue of Cherry wood, some apply wood stain to Cherry wood furniture. There are a lot of colors to select from. On the other hand, if you want to apply stain, and still keep the natural beauty of wood, you may want to consider using clear or natural finishes. What is your experience in working with Cherry wood? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!



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