Black Cherry, Choke Cherry, Pin Cherry

      What people call "cherry" is not all the same, or all equally valuable. November 18, 2006

I am about to obtain a large cherry tree, precise species yet unknown. If appropriate, I will mill, dry and manufacture some furniture with it. I am wondering if all cherry is equal to black cherry in furniture manufacturing? If I determine that this tree is a choke cherry or pin cherry, should I still proceed?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor B:
Here in the S Tier of NY, choke cherry and pin cherry are more shrubs than trees. If large means over 8", you must be talking about black cherry. The value of a black cherry log delivered to a mill starts at about $ .20 per BF and works its way up from there. If it is a lawn tree, mills may not accept it. Of course some mills advertise a high end of $ 7.00 per BF.

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!

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Lumber and Plywood

  • KnowledgeBase: Lumber & Plywood: Wood Identification

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2021 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article