Cherry wood lumber and genuine mahogany wood lumber have many similarities. In fact, to the untrained eye, these two dark reddish brown woods may be indistinguishable. Used extensively for interior applications such as cabinetry, furniture, and flooring, these two woods are actually quite distinct. The experts at J. Gibson McIlvain can help you determine which wood is ideal for the project you have in mind.
Some of the key differences between these two attractive options include their sapwood and heartwood, grain patterns and stability, and working properties and durability.
Sapwood & Heartwood
Cherry trees have narrow sapwood in hues ranging from the wood’s trademark reddish brown to white. Some may even have a creamy pink sapwood, which is open to attack by furniture beetles. By contrast, mahogany trees have yellowish white sapwood that is appears quite different from the heartwood. While not as insect- or rot-resistant as the heartwood, mahogany’s sapwood is less vulnerable to attack than that of the cherry tree.
Cherry heartwood is darker than its sapwood, ranging from reddish brown to deep red, with a texture that’s fine and uniform. Cherry heartwood also has some brown flecks and gum pockets in it. The heartwood of freshly cut mahogany can vary in color from yellow to red, salmon, or pink but ages into a deep reddish brown, similar to cherry. Sometimes it too can develop dark gum pockets or white spots.
Grain Patterns & Stability
Cherry wood lumber is known for its fine, uniform grain patterns and rich, dark wavy streaks, which are showcased best in quartersawn boards. Mahogany has a grain that’s uniform as well, but it ranges from very fine to extremely coarse. While mahogany’s grain is typically straight, it can contain interlocking patterns such as blisters, mottles, or fiddlebacks.
While cherry can be fairly stable, provided it’s properly seasoned, mahogany almost always possesses excellent dimensional stability.
Working Properties & Durability
The working properties of cherry and mahogany are premium, allowing for clean cuts by both hand and power tools. Since mahogany has a tendency to splinter, using sharp tools is extremely important. The open-grained properties of mahogany make it responsive to sanding and planing, but its large pores must be filled before applying the final coating if a smooth finish is the goal. Because cherry wood lumber’s density is uneven, preparation is needed before a finish is applied.
Both cherry and mahogany are hardwoods, but cherry is slightly softer. Neither is as dense as many other hardwoods, though, making them ideal for interior applications. In such environments, furniture and other pieces crafted from both woods stand to last a lifetime or longer, as long as they are well-maintained.
Even though genuine mahogany lumber and cherry wood lumber are different in many ways, they do have many similarities. J. Gibson McIlvain carries premium boards of both types of lumber in a wide variety of widths, lengths, and thicknesses. McIlvain has over 200 years of experience in the lumber industry, so their expert staff is better-equipped than anyone else to answer questions about your next project. To learn more about the lumbers they offer or for more information about their services, visit their website at www. mcilvain.com today.
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