Is Cherry A Hardwood? (How hard is Cherry?)

is cherry a hardwood

Cherry is one of the most popular wood types in the woodworking world which can use to make furniture, cabinets, floorings, paneling, and many other indoor and outdoor projects.

I’ve worked with Cherry wood for more than 10 years and the hardness of Cherry wood is important to know before working with it. So, let’s discuss, Is Cherry a hardwood?

Yes, Cherry is a hardwood that comes from deciduous species. Cherry is a soft hardwood with medium strength and density. Cherry has a Janka hardness rating of 950 lbf (4,230 N) which is softer than other varieties of hardwoods. Cherry is soft and lightweight wood with excellent shock resistance.

But there’s more to know about the hardness of Cherry.

In this article, we’ll deeply explore, is Cherry a hardwood, how hard Cherry is, Cherry wood characteristics, and the strength of Cherry wood as well.

Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions as well.

Just keep reading!

How Hard Is Cherry?

Cherry is a soft hardwood with medium density and medium strength with significantly lower hardness than other hardwood species.

The hardness of Cherry wood can be measured with Janka hardness ratings.

Janka hardness test is the standard method of measuring the hardness of any wood species.

Janka hardness rating is the resistance of wood against wear and shear. If a particular wood has high wear and shear resistance, that means its Janka hardness rating is high.

According to the Janka hardness test, Cherry wood has a hardness rating of 950 lbf (4,230 N) which is significantly lower than many other hardwoods and some softwoods as well.

For example, Ash, Beech, Hard Maple, Walnut, and Oak are some popular hardwood species that are harder than Cherry.

Because of that, even though Cherry comes from a deciduous species with broad leaves that falls annually, it is considered a soft hardwood due to its medium density and strength.

Cherry wood has a straight grain structure with curly patterns.

Even though Cherry wood is considered a soft hardwood, it has excellent durability and decay resistance than most hardwoods.

With moderate hardness and high durability, Cherry wood can be used for outdoor woodworking projects without worrying about its low density compared to other hardwoods.

It has good shock resistance as well.

Cherry wood has semi ring to diffuse porous structure just like Birch and Maple hardwoods.

Apart from being medium hard and dense, Cherry wood has excellent bending properties which are helpful for steam bending.

Plus, it is softer hardwood and lightweight wood which is useful in wood carving.

As you can see, the medium hardness of Cherry wood is easily skippable because of its cool features which as so useful in woodworking.

As per the Janka hardness rating, Cherry has a hardness rating of 950 lbf (4,230 N) which is a medium hardness value.

Refer below the hardness comparison chart to get a good knowledge about the hardness of Cherry compared to other popular woods.

Wood SpeciesHardness value
Brazilian Walnut3,684 lbf (16,390 N)
Red Mahogany, Turpentine2,697 lbf (12,000 N)
Brazilian Cherry, Jatoba2,350 lbf (10,500 N)
Golden Teak2,330 lbf (10,400 N)
Hickory, Pecan, Satinwood1,820 lbf (8,100 N)
Hard Maple, Sugar Maple1,450 lbf (6,400 N)
White Oak1,360 lbf (6,000 N)
Ash (White)1,320 lbf (5,900 N)
American Beech1,300 lbf (5,800 N)
Red Oak (Northern)1,290 lbf (5,700 N)
Yellow Birch / Baltic birch1,260 lbf (5,600 N)
Teak1,155 lbf (5,140 N)
Black Walnut, North American Walnut1,010 lbf (4,500 N)
Cherry950 lbf (4,230 N)
Black Cherry, Imbuia950 lbf (4,200 N)
Red Maple950 lbf (4,200 N)
Larch830 lbf (3,690 N)
Yellow Pine870 lbf (3,870 N)
Douglas Fir710 lbf (3,158 N)
Silver Maple700 lbf (3,100 N)
Hemlock540 lbf (2,402 N)
Black Spruce520 lbf (2,313 N)
Cypress510 lbf (2,269 N)
Redwood420 lbf (1,868 N)
Basswood410 lbf (1,823 N)
Engelmann Spruce390 lbf (1,735 N)
Sugar Pine380 lbf (1,690 N)
White Pine380 lbf (1,690 N)
Aspen350 lbf (1,557 N)
White Cedar320 lbf (1,423 N)

As you can see even though Cherry is not the hardest wood, it has a good average value of hardness which is totally sufficient for many woodworking projects.

So, let’s discuss some characteristic features of Cherry wood as a hardwood.

Cherry Wood Characteristics

Cherry wood is a soft hardwood with medium density and strength. It has a pinkish-brown color that slowly turns into reddish brown color upon exposure to the sunlight.

Because of being a hardwood with softness inside, working with Cherry wood is quite easy.

Most of the hardwoods are difficult to work with due to their high density and extremely tight wood grain.

Woodworking tools may get blunt and beginners in woodworking are unable to learn new skills with those hardwoods since most people get frustrated when working with them.

But, not with Cherry.

You can nail, screw, cut, glue, and drill Cherry wood due to its medium density and high workability.

Plus, Cherry wood is easy to stain, paint or seal with almost any wood finisher in any color since it takes wood finish so well.

Because of having a uniform grain pattern with fine texture, you can easily get a nice and smooth surface easily for your Cherry wood furniture and wood carving projects.

Cherry is easy to shape and polish due to its excellent finishing properties.

Cherry wood has excellent bending properties. Therefore, it can use for projects that require flexibility.

Being rot and decay-resistant and having high durability makes Cherry wood one of the best woods when it comes to outdoor woodworking projects.

Plus, it can sustain dents and nicks more easily than other popular hardwoods.

Cherry wood furniture is able to withstand environmental elements such as moisture, temperature variations, humidity, and more.

This behavior is uncommon for most medium-density hardwoods.

Cherry wood has good shock resistance and a significant amount of strength which are useful to carry loads without losing its dimensional stability.

Here’re the most significant qualities of Cherry wood,

  • Soft hardwood
  • Medium density
  • High rot resistance
  • Excellent decay resistance
  • Darkens over time
  • High durability
  • Easy to work with
  • Easy to finish

Here’re the main characteristic features of Cherry wood,

ColorPinkish brown to reddish brown
Density0.50 kg/m3
Hardness950 lbf
Stiffness1.49 Mpsi
Wood TypeHardwood
ApplicationsFurniture making, Cabinet making, Flooring

So, let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of Cherry wood as a hardwood.

Pros And Cons Of Cherry Wood

High DurabilitySoft Hardwood
Rot-resistantMedium Density
Decay resistantDarkens over time
No characteristic odorModerately expensive
Attractive color 
High workability 
Easy to shape 
Easy to finish 
High availability 

As you can see Cherry wood is one of the most versatile woods with lots of benefits over its disadvantages.

With proper finishing and good maintenance, you can easily skip the cons of Cherry wood easily.

Let’s see some applications of Cherry wood.

What Is Cherry Wood Used For?

As we already know Cherry wood can use literally for any indoor and outdoor woodworking projects because of its wonderful woodworking features which are so unique to have.

Here’re some popular applications of Cherry wood,

  • Making indoor and outdoor furniture
  • Cabinet making
  • Flooring
  • Paneling
  • Doors
  • Boxes and crates
  • Wood carvings
  • Musical instruments
  • Boat building
  • Molding
  • Turning
  • Decorative items

You can clearly see why Cherry is popular among woodwork. It is a top-rated hardwood with many uses.

How Strong Is Cherry Wood?

Cherrywood is a moderately strong wood compared to other hardwoods. It has good dimensional stability and shock resistance to stay strong under stress.

Because of having excellent bending capabilities, the bending strength (flexural strength) of Cherry wood is significantly high.

It has unparalleled strength which is useful for the long run with high durability.

The compressive strength and bending strength of Cherry wood are as follows,

  • The compressive strength of Cherry wood is 7,110 psi
  • The bending strength of Cherry wood is 12,300 psi

With the above numbers, you can get a clear idea of why Cherry wood is popular in woodwork which considers flexibility as a factor.

Cherry has unique flexibility that is useful in bending.

According to the experts, Cherry is stronger than Aspen, Basswood, Sweetgum, Sycamore, Oak, Soft Maple, and Poplar.

That’s it, folks! Hope you found an in-detail answer for your hot topic, is Cherry a hardwood?

So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions as well.

Is Cherry Wood Harder Than Oak?

Cherry wood is softer than Oak. Both red oak and white oak are significantly harder than Cherry wood.

Cherry and oak wood both are hardwoods, but Cherry wood can easily replace by oak wood in terms of its hardness.

According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Cherry and oak is as follows,

Wood TypeHardness
Cherry950 lbf
Red Oak1,290 lbf
White Oak1,360 lbf

Which Is Harder Maple Or Cherry?

Hard maple is harder than Cherry, but soft maple has a similar hardness to Cherry. Overall, Maple can be considered harder than Cherry.

Cherry and maple both come from the same hardwood family.

Even though Cherry is softer than maple, it has good environmental resistance and durability than maple.

According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Cherry and maple is as follows,

Wood TypeHardness
Cherry950 lbf
Hard Maple1,450 lbf
Soft Maple950 lbf

Is Cherry Wood Hard To Cut?

Cherry wood is easy to cut since it has moderate hardness, density, and strength.

Cherry is softer than other hardwoods which makes it easier to cut and mill with a table saw or other woodworking hand tools or power tools.

Because of being easy to cut, Cherry wood is great for wood carving projects since you can shape the wood easily without chipping or cracking.

Even a beginner in woodworking is able to learn cutting techniques and tricks using a soft hardwood like Cherry since it cuts easily with no issues.

Is Cherry Harder Than Mahogany?

Cherrywood is harder than mahogany. But Cherry and mahogany have similar mechanical properties since they have similar density and strength.

Mahogany is great if you’re focusing on visual appeal since it has a luxurious appearance. But Cherry performs better than mahogany in outdoor environments.

According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Cherry and maple is as follows,

Wood TypeHardness
Cherry950 lbf
Mahogany800 lbf

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Is Cherry A Hardwood

In this article, we have deeply discussed, is Cherry hardwood, and how hard Cherry is by looking at its characteristic features with pros and cons.

Cherry is a soft hardwood with a Janka hardness rating of 950 lbf (4,230 N) which is softer than many other softwoods. Cherry wood has moderate density, hardness, and strength. Because of being soft, working with Cherry wood is easy. It is used for furniture making, cabinets, flooring, and wood carvings.

Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions as well.

Hope you have gained good knowledge about, is Cherry hardwood with its properties.

Try Cherry wood for your next woodworking or wood carving project and see how its hardness is useful to maintain the stability of the project.

Happy woodworking with Cherry wood!

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him! Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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