THE TRUE CHAMPION OF FRUITWOODS
Though black cherry (Prunus serotina) is now ubiquitous, pear is one of the most prized of the fruitwoods, coming up a pale pink-brown, with a fine, even texture and gentle wavy grain. Like other fruitwoods it has a creamy feel, and is favored by chairmakers
and the manufacturers of musical and measuring instruments. Stained black, it is often used as a substitute for ebony, and has many of the same qualities. It is often used for marquetry. Pear is not usually available in wide boards, and is often attacked by
pests, but it is very stable. The best lumber is said to come from France and Germany.
Type Temperate hardwood
Other names European pear (U.S.), pearwood (U.K.)
Alternatives Peroba rosa (Aspidosperma polyneuron), black cherry (Prunus serotina)
Sources Europe and North America Color Pale brown, with a pink hue
Texture Fine and even
Grain Wavy, but not interlocking
Weight Medium to heavy (44 lb./cu. ft.) (700 kg/cu. m)
Strength Surprisingly strong
Seasoning and stability Seasons slowly and tends to distort and warp. But once dry it is very stable.
Wastage Distortion may affect boards, but there is little contrast between sapwood and heartwood. Wastage should be moderate, but will be high if you are converting your own branches or trunks. If you choose to do this, kiln-dry the lumber.
Range of board widths Poor
Range of board thicknesses Likely to be very limited
Durability Not particularly good, but both heartwood and sapwood can be protected with preservative.
Common pear is often steamed for a richer color. The quartersawn cuts can reveal a mottled figure.
It is very difficult to evaluate the status of pear. As it is a fruit-bearing tree more will always be planted, and only old trees that are large enough will be felled. These will probably have ceased bearing fruit, and will hopefully be replaced after felling.
AVAILABILITY AND COST
Common pear has limited availability, especially the best European lumber, and is likely to be quite expensive.