#3: Black Cherry

Bird number: 3
Date: December 4, 2011
Wood: Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Source: Southern Oklahoma

This is another bird carved from wood supplied by Debra’s uncle. He’d given me a 3″ x 3″  that was perhaps 8 inches long. I used some of it to make a pair of salad claws for Debra this past summer.

I’ve always liked the natural look of cherry, and thought it crazy that people would stain it a dark brown. I’ve recently learned that there are many different species of cherry, some of which have very dark wood. This bird is American Black Cherry, Prunus serotina.

I have two other chunks of cherry from other sources. One is very similar to this black cherry, but the wood is lighter in color. I don’t know if it is just natural variation in black cherry or if it’s a separate type of tree. The other is primarily off-white, with dark streaks in it, and the wood is much softer than the black cherry. I’m almost certain that it’s a separate species.

One thing I really like about cherry is that it smells so sweet when I’m cutting it. I don’t detect the smell when I’m carving it with a knife, but it’s very strong when I’m cutting the wood on the bandsaw, and detectable but faint when I’m sanding. I don’t know what it smells like when I’m using the power carver on it, as I’m wearing a respirator whenever I start raising dust with that thing.