Cherry sales have been in a lull for about six months, taking a back seat to walnut and oak, according to hardwood dealers interviewed by Woodshop News. But there’s no better time to buy cherry as the diminished demand has dropped the price and flooded the market with premium stock.
“Cherry is at a very low price right now,” says Rory Wood of Rare Woods USA, a retailer and wholesaler in Mexico, Maine. “With the demand at an all-time low, this has resulted in it coming in at a very high quality. It’s probably at a 40-year high in terms of quality. The grades are getting better and better. For cabinetmakers, it’s really the best time in history to buy cherry, which is one of the premium hardwoods in America.
“I’d say over the whole year it’s been one of the top five, but recently it hasn’t moved as well as it normally does,” says Clinton Dillon of Steve Wall Lumber Co, a retailer in Mayodan, N.C. “It’s not booming for any particular project. If anything, I think people are just backing off from cherry a little bit. Three or four years ago, a lot of people were buying cherry and it seems like walnut has stayed hot and the oaks have come back a little bit, too.
“The quality is still the same. It’s still good-quality cherry. We have a lot of cherry from North Carolina, so it’s a little bit richer in color, but we also do some Pennsylvania cherry, too. Quality is still fine and price is holding steady.”
Doug Grove of Groff and Groff Lumber in Quarryville, Pa., says cherry sales are way down, except for the occasional request for figured or curly cherry. He promotes it as an exceptional deal for the current market price.
“I think it’s just the trend, especially, it seems like everybody’s still buying walnut. Cherry’s been down for years. For every 100 board feet we sell of walnut, we might sell one board foot of cherry. The figured cherry slabs with the natural edge on them seem to sell for tabletops.
“[Cherry] has good working properties. It ages well. It doesn’t bleach out as it gets darker. It’s hard. Nothing looks better than a nice cherry kitchen. I feel like some of the other woods like walnut just bleaches out and it just doesn’t look good after a couple of years. Cherry gets better with time.”
Prices for 4/4 FAS cherry were quoted at $5.25 to $7/bf.
This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue.