Q:

How do you tell the difference between cherry wood and walnut wood?

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Quick Answer

Walnut is a hardwood with hard, dense, tight, straight grain and a smooth finish, while cherry is a hardwood with fine texture, a reddish-brown hue that darkens with age and is generally softer than other hardwoods. Of the two, cherry wood is generally better for woodworking projects.

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Full Answer

Walnut wood is usually sourced from the Juglan genus of trees, of which there are 21 different species that are indigenous to most parts of the world. The most commonly used trees used as a source of walnut wood are the American Black Walnut, Butternut, Claro Walnut, English Walnut and Peruvian Walnut. The grain in walnut wood tends to be straight but at times can be irregular. The sapwood has a creamy white hue, but the hardwood has a dark chocolate color that becomes a rich purplish-brown if air dried.

Cherry wood is sourced from cherry trees. When the wood is first cut, it has a lighter shade but matures into its recognizable rich brownish-red shade. Cherry wood has a variety of alternative names, such as Black Cherry, Capulin and Choke Cherry. Cherry wood is strong and durable but easy to manipulate, making it a popular choice amongst cabinetmakers and other woodworkers. Although it is softer than most other hardwoods, cherry wood does a better job of absorbing stains and glazes.

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