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Beech vs Cherry Wood (for Furniture, Flooring, and Cabinets)

Both Beech and Cherry are hardwoods, and it's a bit complicated to choose between these two. This article discusses the difference between the two hardwoods.

Carpenter working on wood furniture using angular grinder.

I’ve recently decided to use beech or cherry wood and found that many people don’t know which is better for furniture, flooring, or cabinets. So I took the time to research this topic to find better the two kinds of wood; Beech vs. Cherry wood.

Cherry is a hardwood perfect for carved chairs and shows up in clean-lined Shaker-style tables and cabinets. Beech is also a hardwood that is quite durable and resistant to abrasion and shock that carpenters love to work with. It’s commonly used for flooring, chairs, legs/backs, and woodenware.

Both of these are hardwoods, making it a bit more complicated to choose between the two. Ultimately most people will then look at the natural coloring and quality overall to see what they would like.

Beech vs. Cherry Wood

Beech lumber with fine reddish grains.

Beechwood is hard but bendable that can easily split with a straight grain. This type of wood timber comes from Fagus sylvatica, which is commonly found in Europe and Asia. It’s a tough wood that makes it hard to use standard hand tools to work on. As a result, it is noticeably used for carpentry and joinery purposes, such as furniture framing and other structural supports.

Beech isn’t used for aesthetic purposes, so it’s more of a background support wood that finds itself in framing and interior roles for architecture such as chalets. Unfortunately, Beech isn’t durable; Beechwood, once placed outside, cannot resist the elements and changes of moisture, making it unsuitable for outdoors.

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A very hard and straight-grained Beechwood is mostly used in furniture, cabinetry, plywood, some sports equipment, kitchen utensils, and tooling handles. You will even see Beech being used in the music industry; due to the properties of Beech retaining tone, it is used in piano in blocks and drum manufacturing.

Beech’s main thing apart from Cherry Wood is the price difference; Beech isn’t an attractive natural color; however, it can be stained well. Because you can stain it well, Beech can be made to look like mahogany, maple, and even cherry.Wild Cherry lumber, cut for making cherry planks.

Natural cherry is one of the most prized furniture hardwoods in America. It’s a popular seller, with its smooth-grained, reddish-brown hardwood from the Black Cherry fruit tree. This type of wood is extraordinary for its color and aging properties by woodworks and furniture experts. The color starts as light pink and then changes into a rich reddish hue patina.

However, mid-and lower-tier cherry wood is often found in kitchen cabinets and wood flooring. Cherry wood is the higher class wood compared to Beech.

Advantages Between the Two

Let’s start with Beech, the cheaper option between the two as it is more available and sustainable. Beech is a hardwood with a surprisingly sharp bark that scars easy, though it doesn’t matter once it’s milled. Its close straight grain allows for the wood to be polished well and withstand shocks and wear.

Beech has a medium-density and hardness that holds nails or screws well. Due to its grain structure can retain polish, stain, and paint well, giving it a finished look. It can easily be bent into many shapes with the aid of the steam bending method. Due to its hardness, Beech can withstand heavy loads and not be easily scratched or scarred. Beech is perfect for flooring.A carpenter working to polish a furniture.

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Cherry wood is more looked for due to its beautiful aesthetics and aging qualities that bring out more cherry reddish color over time. Like Beechwood, it has a fine uniform straight grain with a smooth texture. It has a moderate natural luster present as well. It’s most notable due to its workability due to its properties being flexible and durable.

It’s more durable than Beechwood as it has a natural resistance to decay and rot. It’s a strong wood that has great resistance to shock loads compared to other hardwoods. It can be curved, cut, and molded easily due to its properties, making it capable of applying to a large variety of applications.

Another great quality is that it can fight off insects and even fungi making it slightly more effective outdoors than Beech. Finally, it’s an elegant, timeless, stylish wood good for that antique, vintage look. So many woodworks are after which can appeal to any room it’s added into.

Disadvantages

Regarding the disadvantages of the two types of hardwoods, they both have similarities in this category. Both of the two are not good when it comes to being placed outside, as they are susceptible to moisture. Meaning that due to their natural absorption qualities, once they get wet by rain or any form of moisture in the air, it will damage the wood along the line.

Beech will crack and warp when exposed to moisture, leading to a wood that will decay and break after a few years of standing outside. The same can be said of the cherry wood in regards to not being resilient to water damage.An old wooden chair park in a corner.

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Maintaining both types of woods will be expensive, as protective layers to reduce water damage will need to be applied to ensure that they won’t crack or warp over long periods. On its own, Cherry wood is expensive; being 25 percent more expensive than oak wood or even maple wood that is even more resilient than cherry wood.

Sunlight can be a problem to your cherry wood, or specifically direct sunlight, as it is sensitive to it, and its color can change in an undetermined way if not coated with a protective layer. On top of that, Cherry wood has a rating of 960 on the Janka scale compared to Beechwood’s rating of 1300, which is higher.

Conclusion

Once comparing the two types of hardwoods, it’s clear to see the differences in application and aesthetic appeal that woodworkers seek. If you’re looking for a cost-effective wood, Beech is the option to go with, especially if the appeal isn’t a concern, but if it is, luckily, this type of wood can be stained to look like other more favorable woods.

However, if you’re looking specifically for a vintage quality wood that won’t deteriorate over time and lose its color. Then Cherry wood is an elegant choice to go with that won’t disappoint and will see to live across generations of families.

References:

Real Simple – The Pros and Cons of Different Types of Wood for Furniture