Does Cherry Wood Ever Look Interesting?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by redsquid2, Feb 8, 2021.

  1. redsquid2

    redsquid2 Добрая Росомаха

    Aug 31, 2011
    I am sometimes tempted to buy cherry wood, but I can't seem to find any with interesting grain pattern. Have you ever used it for a knife handle or any situation where the wood needs to be aesthetically interesting? I just think it is boring.

    I have made file handles with it - just natural straight grained cherry - and it seems pretty tough/durable.

    Pictures appreciated.

    Andy
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2021
  2. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    I bought some cherry from a local guy a summer or so ago .... and I had the same reaction as you have. Just kind of "blah" in terms of grain. I did also buy some cherry burl, and had some stabilized .... that is more interesting .... but the plain old cherry .... I would not buy again.
     
    redsquid2 likes this.
  3. CallumRD1

    CallumRD1

    136
    Jan 10, 2020
    I have found some beautiful pieces of cherry that I've made furniture out of, but I've never seen a piece where the grain is intricate enough to be interesting in an application as small as a knife handle. My desk has an incredible piece of ~2x12x60" cherry that has a beautiful wavy, iridescent, flame like figure I've never seen the equal of but it only looks that good displayed over a few square feet. If you chopped out a ~1x4" piece it would be very boring. I've never looked for cherry burls though. I'd be curious to see what they look like.
     
    redsquid2 likes this.
  4. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    The root ball and some burls look good, but IMHO, regular cherry is pretty bland for a knife handle.
     
    redsquid2 likes this.
  5. Greenberg Woods

    Greenberg Woods Wood Fanatic and Rosewood Addict

    Dec 27, 2013
    This comes down to one of the wood secrets i always think im not supposed to tell, but here goes.

    basically any hardwood is perfectly serviceable as a knife handle.

    Plain walnut, cherry, maple, oak, hell poplar would 100% work.

    They just wouldn't be very attractive, would dent and smudge easily, and you would have a lot more trouble selling them.

    as knife makers, our product is inherently a luxury good, something sold for its beauty and performance beyond what is required, so there is such a demand for curls and burls and all the other beauty that can be found in wood.
     
  6. DanF

    DanF KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    821
    Apr 17, 2017
    79CDC3D0-27DF-42DB-85C1-950B3B7FD835.jpeg
     
    kdnolin, Wyo Coyote, Ken H> and 9 others like this.
  7. FredyCro

    FredyCro Basic Member Basic Member

    650
    Jan 11, 2019
    Here is an interesting piece freshly cut. It lost a lot of that color drying but I hope it will regain some of it with stabilizing.

    [​IMG]
     
    kdnolin, Hengelo_77, Ken H> and 3 others like this.
  8. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    I had a friend several years ago send me some wild cherry. It was more interesting but still kinda subtle.
     
    redsquid2 likes this.
  9. Kevin Kf knives

    Kevin Kf knives

    276
    Jul 2, 2018
    I've seen curly cherry, I think. I'll see if I can find a picture, but I might be full of you know what too.
     
    redsquid2 likes this.
  10. Metalhead0483

    Metalhead0483 Basic Member Basic Member

    530
    Jan 17, 2008
    I used cherry in a big batch of small, medieval style knives a few years ago for a commission. It was soft, easy to work with, and didn't look offensive, but there's definitely nothing there to recommend itself.
     
    redsquid2 likes this.
  11. Britt_Askew

    Britt_Askew Dealer / Materials Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Dec 9, 2010
    Curly cherry is a thing but the curls are usually not what you would see on something like curly maple or walnut, most of the curls on cherry are wider and when you cut a piece the size of a knife handle you usually wont get many curls in the piece , looks good on a table top though. see some here https://irionlumber.com/matched-sets/curly-cherry/
     
    Kevin Kf knives and redsquid2 like this.
  12. Alex Topfer

    Alex Topfer

    192
    May 1, 2019
    you might have more luck if you can get less processed wood and be selective about pieces. long straight bits will have plainer grain, while areas where branches split and the like have more complex grain.

    there's also the option of using a simpler wood as a contrast to other more complex bits. get some cherry and use it as a contrast to a highly detailed guard or blade.
     
    redsquid2 likes this.
  13. Kevin Kf knives

    Kevin Kf knives

    276
    Jul 2, 2018
    That's what I remember seeing, thanks
     
    redsquid2 likes this.
  14. J. Hoffman

    J. Hoffman KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 1, 2011
    [​IMG]
    Other than cherry burl, the woods beauty is not shown well on small pieces such as handles. On pieces of furniture or other larger items you can see the figure. It doesn't get tight curls like maple. The color of cherry is unique though and cutting it makes the shop smell nice.
     
    Kevin Kf knives and redsquid2 like this.
  15. Britt_Askew

    Britt_Askew Dealer / Materials Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Dec 9, 2010
    About a dozen years ago I sawed up a cherry burl and after it dried a couple years I looked at it and "knowing what I know now" it was really nice burl with a ton of eyes but they were all open - "knowing what I knew then" I had a bunch of holes everywhere. It put out some pretty good heat when tossed into the wood heater :eek:o_O
     
    FredyCro likes this.
  16. FredyCro

    FredyCro Basic Member Basic Member

    650
    Jan 11, 2019
    I got a a burly cherry branch of a friend about couple of months ago, it's just about 5 inches in diameter and about 15 inches long. I am interested what's inside but it might just be a large flop, I think it's about time to cut into it since I squared it (took of the bark with table saw) just after I got it. I sealed the ends but it still cracked violently.
     

Share This Page