Cherry

Other commercial names Wild cherry
Botanical name Prunus avium L.

Historical and cultural information
The sweet tasting red fruits are often associated to pleasure, love and the forbidden, which is why they say that stolen cherries taste better. Much of this sensual power is hidden in the red, golden-brown cherry wood inspiring hospitality and warmth. Linen bags filled with cherry stones can be heated on a stove and then used as bed-warmers during winter. This precious wood inspired the creation of refined and elegant furniture during the Biedermeier and Liberty periods.

General information
In the wood trade, the name “cherry” generally refers to the wood of the marasca tree. As a forest species it does not bear a significant presence and it normally grows at the edge of mixed hardwood forests. At the end of March, beginning of April one can admire the beautiful white flowers on trees yet without leaves. Cherry trees rarely reach the age of 100 years since the trunk is subject to internal rotting. The tree is cut already at 70 years of age.

Characteristics
The limit of the annual rings is highlighted by the vessels in spring wood, which form a clear ring. When exposed to light, cherry wood becomes darker, from light golden-brown to brownish-red. Steaming can produce a shade of colour similar to that of mahogany. On radial section the medullary rays create pleasant flecks.

Properties
Cherry wood is of medium weight (dry density 570 kg/m3) and medium-hard to hard (Brinell hardness 31 N/mm2). This wood is easy to work with any tool and method. Thanks to its even structure it is possible to obtain extremely smooth surfaces. Drying generally occurs quickly and smoothly. Larger pieces tend to split at the top and smaller pieces may warp. During open-air drying, care should be taken in adequately stacking and covering the wood.

Use
Cherry wood is used solid and in rotary cut veneers for making furniture, interior structures, wall and ceiling panelling, boards, design objects and accessories. Cherry is a classical choice for furniture making and was much preferred during the Beierdemeier period.