How Good is Cherry Wood for Carving?

As a woodcarver or enthusiast, have you ever wondered if cherry wood is good enough for carving? Well, you don’t have to worry about that anymore. In this article, we will find out if cherry wood is suitable for carving or not. 

When it comes to wood carving, cherry wood is good. Cherry wood is ideal for chip carving and chainsaw carving. Cherry wood is a hardwood, and therefore is perfect for creating a stunning and appealing wood figure. However, if you want to use this lumber for whittling, your carving tool will have some difficulty piercing through the grain, especially if the cherry wood has dried through.

I’m sure you might be wondering what makes cherry wood good for carving compared to other types of wood available. This is why we will talk about the benefits of using cherry wood to carve and other important information you should know before carving with cherry wood. 

Why is Cherry Wood Good for Carving?

Now that we know that cherry wood is suitable for carving, here are some of the reasons that make it good.

It has beautiful colors 

Cherry wood is a naturally gorgeous, well-colored wood that does not require further treatments. Even though the wood may be stained wonderfully, it comes in two distinct colors: sapwood and heartwood. 

Sapwood, which comes from the tree’s outermost section, is recognized for its light, yellow, and brownish color. On the other hand, heartwood comes from the tree’s center and has a deeper, richer red-cherry tone, giving it the look of cherry wood. It is possible to display the beauty of different types of cherry wood in your own house with various variants of cherry wood colors.

The wood is even and hard

Cherry wood is hardwood. It is more expensive and can be preserved for carving on a special occasion. Also, because the wood is firm, there are fewer holes or other uneven places inside the wooden blog, making it easier to mold into your idea as it is even and suitable for wood carving projects.

It is easy to mold

Even though cherry wood is hard, it can be readily molded and shaped into the required figure with the right sharp tools, allowing you to create a beautiful masterpiece out of it.

It has a clearly defined structure

The cherry wood’s defined structure allows the carver to create a sturdy and aesthetically pleasing design that will not readily break, unlike other woods where even a tiny amount of stress can cause the structure to fail.

Is Cherry Wood Prone to Cracking?

The answer depends on the section of the cherry wood lumber you are working with. The five main parts of a tree trunk are:

  • Outer bark 
  • Inner bark (phloem)
  • Cambium 
  • Sapwood (live xylem)
  • Heartwood (dead xylem)

The lightest part of the trunk, cherry sapwood, is prone to cracking when it dries. This portion of the tree has the most moisture accumulation. As the moisture in the sapwood evaporates, it shrinks and eventually breaks.

Cherry heartwood, which is the tree trunk’s innermost core, does not absorb moisture as much as other woods. The moisture content of this portion of the tree trunk is lower. As a result, it does not shrink or crack as much when it dries. If you carve into pure cherry heartwood, it is less prone to break as it dries.

On the other hand, cherry wood is more prone to cracks as it dries out if you carve into the sapwood. It is important to note that even though there is heartwood in the core of the sapwood timber, if the sapwood splits, the heartwood may break as well.

What are the Best Cherry Wood Parts for Carving?

Working with cherry heartwood is the best method to prevent cherry wood from cracking. Cherry sapwood should not be used for woodworking or carving. The sapwood region of the trunk is lighter than the heartwood, making it easy to distinguish between the two. 

Allowing cherry wood to cure slowly can help lessen the risk of cracking. This entails allowing cherry wood to air-dry rather than speeding up the process through kiln-drying or using denatured alcohol. This procedure can take up to 60 days in warm, low-humidity weather or longer if you are dealing with thicker slabs.

What Are The Best Wood Finishes for Cherry Wood?

It will be helpful to know the types of wood finishes that you can use. Cherry wood, like all other woods, responds well to specific finishes. With the correct finish, cherry wood will look unique and beautiful. The following are the types of cherry wood finishes that you can use:

Wipe-On Drying Oil Finish

Boiling linseed oil and tung oil allows the oil to reach the wood’s smallest pores. These oils have an amber tint that gives them a mottled cherry appearance. These wipe-on finishes are simple to apply, although they may become messy. The dust-free qualities of these oils, on the other hand, eliminate the risk of drips, sags, and brush marks. These oils are film-forming finishes since they also include varnish. As a result, they become film-forming varnishes that are simple to apply and dry quickly.

A good product recommendation is the Minwax 40910000 Wipe-On Poly. It is a durable, clear finish that combines polyurethane protection with classic, hand-rubbed beauty.

Features of Minwax 40910000 Wipe-On Poly

  • Easy to apply – no drips or brush marks
  • Protects wood against water, household chemicals, food stains, and wear
  • Provides a hand-rubbed look
  • Made of a high-quality oil-based polyurethane
  • Available in Gloss or Satin

Sprayed-On Film Finish

You can apply a sprayed-on film treatment to avoid the mottled appearance of cherry wood. Mottling is reduced because sprayed-on finishes do not contain as many colors as drying oils. You will obtain the greatest results if you use an aerosol can. Waterborne polyurethane should be avoided since it can make cherry wood seem pale and parched.

If you want to buy a sprayed-on film finish, Rust-Oleum 1906830 Lacquer Spray is a good choice. Rust-Oleum Specialty Lacquer Spray adds an ultra-hard, factory-like finish to furniture and accessories.

Features of Rust-Oleum 1906830 Lacquer Spray

  • Ideal for use on interior/exterior surfaces
  • The acrylic formula offers an ultra-hard, high luster finish with a fast cure and hardening time
  • Dries to the touch in 20 minutes
  • It covers up to 7 sq. ft. per can


Is it possible to grill using cherry wood?

Yes, you can grill with cherry wood. Grilling poultry and pork is best done using cherry wood. It often provides a pinkish-red to dark brown color to lighter meats. The smoke flavor is subtle, giving meats a sweet, fruity flavor.

Is cherry wood good for cutting boards?

Yes, cherry wood is good for cutting boards. It stands out from other types of woods in terms of appearance. As a result, a cherry wood cutting board would be a wonderful present for a chef who enjoys using wooden cutting boards.

What wood is similar to cherry wood?

The most frequent replacements to cherry wood are maple and birch. Their grain patterns are not the same, but they can resemble cherry at a first impression with a dye stain.


By now, you already know that cherry wood can easily take on any detailed work for intricate wood carvings. You can also whittle with cherry wood, but only if you are working with green cherry wood. Otherwise, you may find it challenging to make accurate cuts with your whittling tools once the lumber has dried.

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

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