What is the Color of Natural Cherry Wood ?
What Color is Natural Cherry, really?
Lately I am getting questions on my site asking what color is natural cherry? The short answer is, it depends.
Part of the confusion comes from the fact that natural cherry is less common than stained cherry, and part of the confusion is that natural cherry changes color over time.
Most commercial pieces made in cherry are given a dark stain. The larger commercial makers like the dark stain for a number of reasons.
It looks great and many of their customers expect cherry to be dark. Many antiques in cherry are dark in color, either because they were stained by the maker or because they have darkened naturally over time. Perhaps the biggest reason though is because it is more efficient for them to do it. Using a dark stain on their cherry allows them to use the white sapwood which saves both time and money in the making of the piece. They do not have to take the time to select the wood for grain or color and they do not have to discard the sapwood.
The color of natural cherry changes greatly over time. In the beginning it will happen quickly. Cherry that has just been cut, planed or sanded will be a pinkish tan in color, and within a few hours it will begin to turn a darker, slightly reddish brown. This will be even more pronounced if the wood is exposed to sunlight, as it is UV rays from the sun that make the change. This process will continue and over the course of years the piece will get a deeper and deeper color, becoming the chestnut brown color that makes cherry such a favorite wood.
The photos on the left show different pieces in natural cherry that have been around for a week or so and have begun to darken a little. This is typical of the color that you can expect of a piece that I make when you receive it from me. Some of my pieces have parts that are made of cabinet grade cherry plywood as well as solid cherry parts like turned wood knobs, and custom mouldings which I have recently cut from cherry lumber myself. The parts that are made from plywood will in the beginning look darker because the veneer was cut months ago, and is further along in the darkening process. In a short time the freshly cut solid wood will catch up and the wood will all be the same color.
So you can see, to answer the question "What Color is Natural Cherry?"