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Perhaps this is best addressed to our American friends:


I have a timber source in Adelaide (Australia) that stocks American Cherry (among other rare woods) but I notice that all of their pieces of Cherry tend to have noticeable figure in them. 


Given that I have very limited experience with Cherry, what is your opinion of the attached piece (which was the best one I could see in their shop)?


Would this piece be considered too figured or would it actually be considered a good quality piece?

I'd be very interested to know what it would look like cut down in to planks.





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Cherry wood makes great furniture, but if you want a reddish color for planking, frames, or other parts of your model, Swiss (steamed) pear is a great way to go.  It has no figuring and very small if any visible grain, holds an edge, carves and finishes  well.


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That is typical Cherry.  Lots of sap pockets and yes grain visible.  You can get lucky and “Cherry” pick some excellent pieces with no grain at all but it not common.  It will darken a lot to a brownish red color after about a year.  

Swiss pear is better but it is also more than double if not triple the price.  At least here in the states.  

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Thank you both for your replies.


Yes, I am familiar with Swiss Pear and I do have some. I intend to build deck furniture from this. Unfortunately Swiss Pear seems to be impossible to find in Australia. I purchased some from my friends in Russia some years ago.


The closest I have found in Australia to Swiss Pear is Myrtle and I managed to buy a long piece today (photo attached).



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I tried at least 100 kind of wood for model ship building... but at the end I use only cherry wood. I buy  big quantities of cherry  for model ship building. About 40% is suitable for planking. 55%  is suitable for frames and  the rest. Less than 3% is not suitable to use when the grain is perpendicular  to the length of the planks. Easy to works and very easy to sand. It sands like European pear wood which is the favorite of many peoples, but is has no wood grain and wood by nature have  a wood grain.


But at the end, the choice of the wood is a personal taste and some wood, mainly the hard woods and the fruit woods, for their crisper edges and close grain  are usually the favorites.


The wood grain of the myrtle looks like good to use . In fact, most often fruit woods are good to use.


The ideal wood would have  a wood grain similar to oak but at a much smaller scale. Even if the real ships were made from oak, oak wood grain at smaller scale is way too big.

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That is plane sawn and planed Black Cherry.  When ripped into stock at model scale, the grain is not all that noticeable to my eye.  It will darken significantly and the grain difference will be even less.  The inclusions are a pain and reduce the yield of usable wood.

Black Cherry is one of my primary woods.  It is easy to work and has no bad habits.

It is however a necessary make do substitute.

Pear is harder, and has a more uniform nature.  Rating Pear at 100,  I give Black Cherry an 85.  (I give Apple a 200, but I find it unobtainable.) Here is the States, the rarity and cost makes it way too expensive to use for framing.  Cutting curved timbers involves significant waste and Pear is not practical.


Tasmanian Myrtle

Unless there is something about it that I am missing,  I would say that you will be golden if you use it.

It is about 1/3 harder than Black Cherry and that is a plus for me.

It looks relatively uniform. 

You complained earlier about a pink tint.  Do not sweat about that.  Pink in any wood seems to be a passing stage.  It will likely darken.  (Recently, a member in China was going off on Pink Ivory, because the pink went away and that is its name.)  How dark it will eventually get,  you will discover in time. 

One option is to use a reddish dye.   Being specific and technical, I mean a dye, and not a stain.  A stain is a semi-transparent paint. It does not belong on quality wood.  

Dyes come in two types, 

as a solution in an alcohol - it does not raise the grain, but it does not penetrate very deeply.

as a solution in water - first exposure raises the grain, but it penetrates more deeply.  The grain swelling problem is solved by treated the finished wood with plain water ( with 5% or 10% PVA in it )  sand or scrape the swollen fibers after things dry and then use the dye.  


In your place, I would:

Give the Black Cherry a pass. 

Work the Myrtle now to determine if it is everything it seems to be.

If it passes the test, load up on it.  Figure out how much you will need and at least quadruple that amount.  Experience has taught me that wood like this will increase in price and become more difficult to obtain and decrease in quality.


Your next mission: 

Find a domestic lumber that is blond, tight grain, closed pore, hard, with unobtrusive  and low contrast grain.

Blue Gum looks possible  - but for this     Grain/Texture: Grain is interlocked, with a uniform medium to coarse texture. Low natural luster. 

medium or coarse does not sound good. 


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