The wild cherry, or gean, frequently occurs with oak, beech and other hardwoods in mixed woodlands where it is conspicuous in spring for its white blossom. It may grow to a height of 18-25m and a diameter of 0,6m or more, large enough to yield timber for the sawmill. The cultivated cherry sometimes grows to a fairly large size in old orchards.
Cherry wood is of medium density, with a fairly fine, even t4exture, generally straight grained except in the neighborhood of large knots and near the butt. Flat-sawn material shows a well-marked growth-ring figure. The heartwood is light-pinkish or yellowish-brown, darkening in time to a mahogany shade (as in old furniture), but if golden-brown colour, sometimes with a slightly greenish cast.
The timber seasons fairly readily but with a pronounced tendency to warp. Its movement in service is classed as medium. It is a tough timber, comparable to oak in strength, and is good material for steam bending – in the same class as beech, ash, oak and elm. Cherry wood is not sufficiently resistant to insect and fungal attack to be used out of doors without preservative treatment, and is liable to attack by the common furniture beetle. It works and finished fairly well in most machine operations, turns well, gives excellent results with polishing, and presents no difficulty in staining and gluing.
Cherry is a high-grade cabinet timber which would probably be more highly appreciated and find greater use if supplies were more plentiful. In the form of furniture it is often seen in antique country-made pieces. Nowadays the limited supplies are used almost entirely for contract work. The good working qualities and attractive appearance of the timber make it suitable for interior joinery where large widths are not required. For paneling it is obtainable in the form of veneer. A relatively large proportion of the timber available is of small dimensions, suitable for fancy goods and turnery, including wood-wind musical instruments such as recorders.