LUMBER FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
Black cherry has grown in popularity recently, largely because of its combination of fine texture, wavy but even grain and mid-tone color. It has many of the qualities and feel of the best mahogany (Swietenia species), which is now very difficult to buy. Black
cherry tends to have some dirty patches or flecks, but the wood darkens very quickly after milling and finishing to camouflage those imperfections. In fact, it is so reactive to light that you can temporarily "write" messages on a black cherry board
by using a mask or stencil.
Type Temperate hardwood
Other names Cabinet cherry, New England mahogany, American cherry, rum cherry
Alternatives Peroba rosa (Aspidosperma polyneuron), European cherry (P. avium)
Sources North America
Color Medium reddish brown that darkens quickly
Texture Fine, close and even
Hardness Moderately hard
Weight Medium (36 lb./cu. ft.) (580 kg/cu. m)
Seasoning and stability Fast-drying, without much distortion and with continued moderate movement
Range of board widths Good
Range of board thicknesses Good
Though you can find a little lacewood-like figure where boards are quartersawn, the grain pattern is uniform and less interesting than in many other woods.
There shouldn't be a problem with the sustainability of black cherry. Certified boards are readily available.
AVAILABILITY AND COST
Widely available, but rising in price.