It’s common to try craving different woods. So if you find yourself in possession of a nice piece of cherry lumber you may wonder can you carve cherry wood?
In all honesty, cherry is a great wood for carving. It supports detail very well and has an interesting color, therefore, staining is neither desirable nor necessary.
Cherry is indeed all good for carving, however, for whittling proceeds with precaution. In this article, we take a closer look at cherry wood and most importantly how cherry responds to carving and whittling.
Can you carve cherry wood – Closer look at cherry wood
Is cherry wood good for carving?
As stated cherry wood is quite good for carving. Cherry is a hardwood and will support more detail, take a better finish, and have some grain to give it variety.
Cherry is much harder to cut than pine or basswood, but that is not particularly important when you use chisels. In fact, they restrict the tools to just the right amount that allows intricate detailing.
Cherry wood is cross-grained and therefore does not require filling. Some artists also uses power tools to carve cherry wood.
Whittling cherry wood
To whittle cherry wood, more skill is required and it’s risky because you will be forced to use more force by flexing at the elbow instead of flexing at the wrist.
Alternatively, you could try whittling cherry green (wet). It will be easier to whittle cherry green, however, you risk having splits if drying happens too first.
Of course, there are some precautions that can help circumnavigate this inconvenience. See the basics of greenwood seasoning.
Is cherry wood hard to cut?
The best way to answer this question is by comparison. We can compare it to another familiar hardwood to determine how hard the cherry wood is to cut.
Compared to oak cherry will be easier to work on. However, it’s still just as strong as maple. Therefore, expect to sharpen tools regularly while carving cherry.
This scale of hard to cut is just at the perfect scale for carvers. slicing and cutting the cherry will leave mostly perfect and clean cuts. This can be very desirable in whittling where knife-cut marks are the final surface.
The compact grains are also responsible for how remarkable cherry wood can hold details. In addition to this cherry will accept finish well but be careful with oils as they tend to darken the grain.
Does cherry wood crack easily?
Some good species of cherry, for instance, the American cherry are extremely stable when it comes to checking and warping.
American cherry which is also referred to as black cherry is exceptionally beautiful, black cherry is one of North America’s finest woods for carving.
However, there is a pronounced variance in color between its sapwood and heartwood, which can sometimes be problematic. If the two are used side-by-side, finished work may display a discrepancy in color, which will intensify as the wood ages.
Using sapwood as material for carving increases the possibility of checks, splits, and cracks on the carving as it ages. Therefore it’s always good to go for heartwood whenever possible.
A good portion of black cherry wood contains gum deposits throughout. Although this does not significantly affect the wood in use for carving.
What is cherry wood good for?
Many whittlers have always used local woods, particularly the fruit and nut woods. All are hard and tend to check. They are as well subject to insect attack and warpage, but they will support more detail and undercutting.
Additionally, they take a better finish and have a grain that does not interfere with carving and a color that makes painting unnecessary.
Among them are pear, pecan, black walnut, apple, and of course our beloved cherry. Cherry and black walnut are particularly good, probably being the best American carving woods.
Cherry is good for a variety of things in all the crafts under woodworking. Cherry wood is cherished in Furniture, turning, carving, pinery, musical instruments, boat interiors, and decorative veneer.
Additionally, the cherry wood is doesn’t have any toxic chemical build-up. This plus the fact that is relatively resistant to weathering makes it ideal for spoon carving.
Other food utilized carvings like bowls and chopsticks and other utensils can also be carved from cherry wood.
Conclusion on carving cherry
To sum it up carving with cherry is super fun some advantages of using cherry wood for carving include the rich grain and ability to support detail work. You will enjoy all the variety of tools available for carving when you choose to carve cherry.
For whittling, however, you would best carve it wet. To avoid splits as it dries see our guide on finishing wood carvings. I hope that this resource was helpful in answering can you carve cherry wood? Keep whittling!