Black Cherry, Choke Cherry, Pin Cherry
From contributor D:
I have found the black cherry to be clearly better quality lumber than the other species you mentioned. Even if the cherry you're getting is black (Prunus serotina), where it comes from can make a big difference. The black cherry found in central PA are not as valuable as the black cherry grown in the north woods of northern PA. One big difference I've seen is the sap deposits in the more southern cherry as opposed to the northern grown ones. The northern cherry typically has the tighter, more dense growth rings, too. The choke cherry (Prunus virginiana) and more commonly, fire or pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) are pioneer species. If they're the first to grow over a cleared area, or grown on the fringes of an opening, they are going to have lots of branching - more open crown, and not near as nice of a log to them as a forest species like the black cherry. Also, any tree that is commonly found on edge habitat is obviously more likely to have fence hardware, nails and the like in it than forest interior trees. I know after the last round of cutting pin cherry that grew along a field edge, I decided I don't have enough money to waste in blades to justify the so-so wood I got out of it. Hopefully you got a nice black cherry to saw, and it doesn't come with any surprise metallic presents!
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