They called it Wild Cherry. I don't really know

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Forum topic by Tennessee posted 11-20-2015 08:13 PM 1086 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tennessee's profile


2876 posts in 2594 days

11-20-2015 08:13 PM

About two + years ago I walked into Chattanooga Hardwoods for some exotic wood and they had two planks of what they called “wild cherry”. To be honest, I had never seen anything like it before, and bought both planks.

It developed into about six guitars over the last two years, and now my very last piece of stock is glued up, ready to become the face of the last guitar. And I am curious, is this really a cherry? I’ve looked and looked online, but can find nothing that looks like it. Maybe you folks can help.

It works like cherry, cuts pretty much like it, maybe just a hair softer, doesn’t burn as fast coming through a table saw, and holds a finish well. It doesn’t blotch like regular cherry tends to.

I’ve included pics of the raw wood, some regular cherry that is a low grade of cherry as an alongside companion, and two instruments: A guitar that the face is out of this wood, and an electric mandolin that is made from my regular cherry stock.
Both feature clear, Tru-Oil finishes.

Is this really wild cherry, or just flat cut, or what? I sure would like to find some more, but it has never appeared again in my area that I am aware of.

This is the wild cherry, or whatever it is.

This is regular common cherry, cut from a dried log. Not top grade.

This is a side by side, wiped with lacquer which was still drying

An electric mandolin made with regular cherry.

A guitar with the face of the wild cherry.

I wish I could find more, people ask me all the time if I have any left for instruments. I am now officially out.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

17 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


5169 posts in 1800 days

#1 posted 11-20-2015 08:24 PM

It does look reminiscent of some cherry I’ve cut before, it also looks a little like Maple, but the difference in weight and hardness wouldn’t allow it to be confused with any kind of cherry, especially if you identified what you have as being a bit softer. Wild cherry sort of sounds like a marketing name applied to something that no one selling it actually knows what it is. At any rate, what you’ve produced with it looks very nice.

View ShaneA's profile


7001 posts in 2678 days

#2 posted 11-20-2015 08:26 PM

Looks like your basic cherry to me.

View bondogaposis's profile


4889 posts in 2431 days

#3 posted 11-20-2015 09:15 PM

It looks like cherry that has above average figure. There is a lot of variation both genetic and environmental in most tree species. I think you may have gotten hold of an exceptional piece.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View bobasaurus's profile


3524 posts in 3264 days

#4 posted 11-20-2015 09:24 PM

Looks like curly cherry to me, a particularly light board.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View LiveEdge's profile


590 posts in 1700 days

#5 posted 11-20-2015 09:32 PM

Maybe “wild” is becoming an adjective like “rustic” which means “lower grade but the distressed crowd might like it”? Here we have “rustic” alder and pine which means “more knots”.

View XquietflyX's profile


339 posts in 1040 days

#6 posted 11-20-2015 09:42 PM

looks like a “cherry” piece of cherry. good find. shame your almost done with it all.

-- You can tell a lot about your wife by her hands, for example if they are around your throat she's prolly pissed off at you...

View Tennessee's profile


2876 posts in 2594 days

#7 posted 11-20-2015 09:43 PM

Allen, curly cherry makes a lot of sense. Didn’t know it was available. Found a mill in Xenia, Ohio that has a bunch of it, and it is expensive. A little darker, but the same flat sawn look, with the “curly”, or “quilty” look.
I guess I was lucky to have stumbled on some. I think I paid about $4 or 5 a bd. ft. at the time.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2087 days

#8 posted 11-20-2015 09:48 PM

I’m pretty terrible at identifying wood, but I just wanted to ask if anybody else sees a face here?

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View jdmaher's profile


433 posts in 2659 days

#9 posted 11-20-2015 09:52 PM

I thought I was the only one who called it “wild” cherry.

Highly figured cherry, knotty. As LiveEdge said, maybe its just a new fad in adjectives.

I got about a dozen 1/4” x 8” boards a few years. Last of that I matched with some nicely figured cherry I’ve been stockpiling and I’m using the lot to build what I call a “Wild Cherry Sideboard”. Should be done “real soon now” . . .

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 3041 days

#10 posted 11-20-2015 09:52 PM

Looks like cherry to me. Wild cherry is a cough drop flavor.

View PeteStaehling's profile


65 posts in 1199 days

#11 posted 11-20-2015 10:19 PM

My understanding is that wild cherry lumber is typically black cherry. That is what the guy at the yard I used to go to in PA told me.

Black Cherry
Prunus serotina, commonly called black cherry, wild black cherry, rum cherry, or mountain black cherry, is a woody plant species belonging to the genus Prunus. The species is widespread and common in North America and South America

I also think some folks call choke cherry (Prunus virginiana) wild cherry.

View BurlyBob's profile


5814 posts in 2345 days

#12 posted 11-20-2015 11:35 PM

I can certainly see why folks would be asking you for it. It is very attractive in that last guitar.

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1310 days

#13 posted 11-21-2015 12:32 AM

Forget the wood quest. You, sir, are a gifted guitar maker. Just keep crafting and let the final product speak for itself.

Who thinks it looks like plain ole cherry but doesn’t care because the guitar rocks (see what I did there? ).

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View bold1's profile


295 posts in 1927 days

#14 posted 11-21-2015 01:00 AM

Here in Pa. when talking about Cherry lumber, most mean Wild as growing in the forest naturally. If it’s not Wild then it came from trees planted for an orchard. You don’t see much of tame or planted Cherry as the trees planted now are usually some form of dwarf stock that don’t give a sawable trunk log. 40 to 50 years ago when they had large trees in the old plantings they would usually tell you if the lumber was tame rather than Wild. Wild Cherry used to be marketed in upscale furniture as Mountain Mahogany. No matter what you name it it’s still Cherry.

View WDHLT15's profile


1761 posts in 2556 days

#15 posted 11-21-2015 02:48 AM


I have plenty of it that looks just like your pic. Good old Southern Black Cherry. Tends to have more color and figure than the more Northern cherry. The purists swear by the Northern stuff, but the Southern stuff has more character. Send me a message if you want some.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

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