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Go figure: Curly cherry  provides that little extra


Cherry hasn’t lost any of its luster, according to hardwood suppliers interviewed by Woodshop News. But most keep a small supply of figured cherry to really make a design statement.

“Regular cherry has a beautiful color and all that but when you add that figure, it just adds a tremendous amount of life to the wood,” says Lou Irion of Irion Lumber in Wellsboro, Pa.

“Obviously the straight grain cherry is always more popular because for one thing there’s more of it. Less than 1 percent of cherry cut has good figure. But the difference is people tend to get excited about the curly cherry, much more than they do with the straight cherry.”

Steve King of Yankee Pine Lumber Corp. in Rowley, Mass., says that because figured cherry often comes in small batches, one-off pieces also tend be the only option.

“I sold some figured the other day and it was just enough to do a bar top,” says King. “We sell it when we get it. When furniture people are making something, and they want a little extra ‘ba-bam’, that’s what they get. Some people don’t like it, but some do. It’s just for furniture, as far as I know, for people who want to make their piece look more interesting.”

Veneer buyers tend to reject figured cherry, preferring straighter grain patterns, according to Matt Gilland of Superior Veneer in New Albany, Ind.

“We’re not getting many requests for figured cherry, but it is available. Calls for quartered cherry seem to be picking up, but people don’t want figure in it, even where the figure in those cases is real light to medium. When they’re requesting figure, they want it heavily figured but we’re just not seeing those requests,” says Gilland. “The industry is fickle and it could change tomorrow.”

Prices for 4/4 figured cherry were quoted between $7/bf and $10/bf. 

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue.

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