Cherry Question

agrieco

anthony
Corporate Member
I've never worked with Cherry before...so I'm looking for some feedback-

I bought this lumber from a well know supplier (will leave them out for now). The 4/4 cherry boards have these black/dark streaks down them. As I look around online- I see really clear wood when I look at cherry boards...so...I'm left with questions:

1) What are these black streaks in these cherry boards?
2) If the board has these up/down them pretty consistently, what would the 'grade' be?


thx


187914
 

pcooper

Phillip Cooper
Corporate Member
Most of the cherry I work has those streaks, I call it character when it's in my projects. I don't know if you will ever find any that doesn't have them unless you pay a lot more or waste a lot of material cutting it out/around them. I've had a few minor voids that I filled with superglue and sanded to make them flat and not crack open later. I'm sure there is a specific name for that look, but I don't know what it is. One thing I do notice though, as the cherry ages it gets darker, and the streaks seem to blend in better after a few years. I don't use stain on anything, just natural darkening with age is the way I like it.
 

Graywolf

Board of Directors, Vice President
Richard
Staff member
Corporate Member
They are common in cherry, and like sapwood not a flaw. You will find the same in maple.
 

Jeff

New User
Jeff
They look like small stress cracks in the wood along the grain. Can you scratch them across the grain with your fingernail or probe them for the depth? Leave them be or fill them with a little epoxy. They add character to whatever you're building.
 

JohnW

New User
John
I've done a lot of projects using cherry. The streaks are common. I call them sugar streaks because that's what an old timer told me. As stated above, UV light will darken cherry substantially and these streaks will blend in better as the wood ages. My go to cherry finish is:
1. Sand to 220 grit
2. Rub down with BLO, wipe off as much excess as you can and let dry for at least 24 hours.
3. One coat of garnet shellac
4. 3-4 coats of clear finish, typically water based acrylic, but dependent of final use.

If you can put your project out in the sun after it's sanded, even for a few hours, it will darken. After a few months it gets darker and after a few years will acquire a deep rich look that most of us aim for.
 

agrieco

anthony
Corporate Member
I've done a lot of projects using cherry. The streaks are common. I call them sugar streaks because that's what an old timer told me. As stated above, UV light will darken cherry substantially and these streaks will blend in better as the wood ages. My go to cherry finish is:
1. Sand to 220 grit
2. Rub down with BLO, wipe off as much excess as you can and let dry for at least 24 hours.
3. One coat of garnet shellac
4. 3-4 coats of clear finish, typically water based acrylic, but dependent of final use.

If you can put your project out in the sun after it's sanded, even for a few hours, it will darken. After a few months it gets darker and after a few years will acquire a deep rich look that most of us aim for.
Thanks for the finish "formula". Do you have any pictures of a finished product using this workflow?
 

agrieco

anthony
Corporate Member
Thanks for all the replies.

I'm still missing a piece of data- while it seems these sugar streaks/pitch pockets/etc, I'm curious if I got what I paid for in terms of grading of the lumber. Does Cherry grading take into account these "features"?
 

Graywolf

Board of Directors, Vice President
Richard
Staff member
Corporate Member
Grading of Hardwood in general takes in account the amount of pieces that can be cut from a board without defect. All Hardwood dealers I deal with do not consider this a defect, nor do they consider sapwood to be a defect. My question to you is did you hand select these boards or were they selected for you?
 

agrieco

anthony
Corporate Member
Grading of Hardwood in general takes in account the amount of pieces that can be cut from a board without defect. All Hardwood dealers I deal with do not consider this a defect, nor do they consider sapwood to be a defect. My question to you is did you hand select these boards or were they selected for you?
Perfect-if this isn't consider a defect, then that is v useful info.
to answer your question- the lumber was selected for me and delivered
 

agrieco

anthony
Corporate Member

Graywolf

Board of Directors, Vice President
Richard
Staff member
Corporate Member
Ok, how much did you pay per board foot and how wide are the boards?
 

srhardwoods

Chris
Senior User
Its called "gummy cherry" and not a defect in the grading rules. Some mills will pull it and keep it separated to be sold as a matching unit, most mills however do not. I'll load some pictures a little later of a closet I built and I pulled all the gummy cherry for the figure.
 

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