Wondering about the better wood between cherry and mahogany for your next project? Here’s all you need to know about the difference between cherry vs mahogany hardwoods based on appearance, physical properties, and uses.
When commencing a new woodworking project, it can be overwhelming to choose the right wood. With so many timber varieties out there, selecting only one can be difficult. Even if you’re exploring only hardwoods, the options can be truly unlimited. This is why we have prepared this guide to help you decide between cherry and mahogany for your next project.
How to Select the Best Wood for a Project?
Wondering how to choose the right wood for your project? It’s not just about the appearance; you need to consider other factors as well, such as the strength and durability requirements. Having a brief idea of the unique properties of different wood types can make the selection process easier.
You must consider your specific needs and budget too. Outdoor projects, for instance, might need more durable wood than indoor projects.
Between mahogany and cherry, the latter is slightly harder than the former. However, both are nearly equal in terms of durability and resistance to decay and damage. Mahogany is favored over cherry wood by some woodworkers due to its darker hue. It also dries faster. Cherry is equally strong as mahogany and also very beautiful.
Before we get into the difference between cherry and mahogany timber, let’s get familiar with each wood separately.
What is Mahogany Wood?
Mahogany is a hardwood species known for its rich, reddish-brown hues and outstanding strength and durability. It is a popular choice for luxury woodworking and craftsmanship. Sourced mainly from tropical hardwood trees of the genus Swietenia, it is also famous for its distinctive grain pattern and natural luster that is partially responsible for the wood’s unique appearance.
Mahogany wood is easy to work with, making it a preferred choice for a variety of projects, ranging from fine furniture and musical instruments to exotic cabinetry. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, it is lauded for its natural resistance to decay and insects, ensuring longevity and needing little maintenance.
What is Cherry Wood?
Cherry wood, famous for its warm, reddish-brown tones and fine grain, is primarily used for the timeless elegance that it offers to any woodworking project. Derived from various species within the Prunus genus, this hardwood is naturally beautiful and gets only better over time, giving a luxurious appeal to the project. It is native to North America and the tree is also famous for the sweet fruits it produces.
It’s versatility and workability make it a favorite among woodworkers, especially for crafting beautiful and high-quality furniture, cabinets, and flooring. Beyond its aesthetic charm, cherry wood is also known for its strength and natural durability.
Cherry vs Mahogany
|Light pink to reddish-brown
|Average Dried Weight
|36 lbs/ft3 (580 kg/m3)
|40 lbs/ft3 (640 kg/m3)
|Resistant to decay and insects
|Resistant to decay and insects
|Easy to work with, carve, and mold. nails and glues well
|Easy to work with, bend, and carve.
|Cabinetry, musical instruments, carvings, fine furniture, and interior millwork
|Furniture, cabinet, flooring, and boatbuilding.
Mahogany and cherry, two of the most popular hardwoods, differ slightly in appearance. Mahogany boasts a deep, reddish-brown hue with dark streaks, which become even darker with age and exposure to sunlight. Its grain is typically straight and occasionally has a unique interlocking pattern.
Cherry wood, on the other hand, has a slightly lighter but rich reddish-brown tone that tends to lighten with exposure to light. Its fine, uniform grain gives it a smooth, soft look, making it a perfect choice for fine furniture with a timeless and elegant appeal.
While mahogany exhibits a richer, darker color, cherry offers a softer, contemporary aesthetic.
Hardness & Strength
In terms of hardness and strength, mahogany and cherry exhibit very little differences, both having nearly similar Janka scores.
Mahogany, recognized for its good strength, falls within the medium to hard range on the Janka hardness scale (900 lbf). Its robust nature makes it resistant to wear.
Cherry, which is also a hardwood, is slightly harder than mahogany, ranking higher on the Janka scale (995 lbf). Other than this, it has ample strength, making it suitable for high-quality furniture and cabinetry, with equally good workability.
The choice between the two depends on your particular functional and strength requirements, though both are equally great in terms of strength and workability.
Both are recognized for having outstanding durability. However, exact characteristics in terms of longevity and resistance to wear might differ.
Mahogany, with a medium to hard density, is noted for its strong structure and high durability, making it resistant to decay and damage. Its durability makes it suitable for high-quality furniture and outdoor projects.
Cherry, which is slightly harder than mahogany, is also a durable hardwood, providing good strength for furniture and cabinetry. It is also resistant to decay and most insects, making it good for exterior use.
These two are popular hardwoods prized for their rich aesthetics and remarkable durability.
Mahogany is generally easy to work with owing to its moderate density and straight grain. Cutting and shaping is smooth. It responds well to various tools and finishes and can also be worked with hands, making it favored by craftsmen.
Cherry, although slightly harder, is also easy to work with, but may sometimes pose challenges due to its occasional irregular grain. Machining operations can sometimes result in tear-outs. Both kinds of wood, when handled carefully, can result in exquisite products like furniture. Mahogany’s ease of workability gives it a slight edge over cherry in woodworking projects.
Availability & Price
Mahogany and cherry might vary in availability and price depending on the location and other factors.
Mahogany comes in many species, of which African and plantation-grown species are the most commonly available and affordable. Sustainable practices contribute to a steady supply.
Cherry, which grows in North America, also has multiple species with unique color variations. Limited availability often leads to scarcity and higher prices in non-native regions. Additionally, cherry wood’s increasing popularity also contributes to its premium cost.
Both mahogany and cherry wood are moderately expensive, but cherry has slightly lower accessibility due to limited growth.
The woods feature different physical characteristics that influence their possible uses in furniture and construction, among other things.
Mahogany, which is mainly prized for its durability, appearance, workability, and stability, is commonly preferred for high-end furniture, cabinetry, and flooring. It’s also considered suitable for outdoor projects like boat building. Its rich, reddish-brown color makes it perfect for lavish designs.
Cherry, known for its lighter but warm, reddish tones and outstanding strength with natural durability, is favored in furniture making, cabinetry, and designer millwork. It can be carved into intricate detailing. It is also suitable for exterior applications due to natural rot resistance. Both wood are used in crafting musical instruments. While mahogany is particularly ideal for classic arrangements, Cherry’s versatility makes it perfect for both traditional and contemporary styles.
Conclusion: Which one Should You Choose?
The choice between mahogany and cherry depends on your particular preferences and needs. Both are attractive, strong, and durable hardwood species with good stability and versatility. Cherry is slightly harder and stronger than mahogany, which is easier to work with and also dries faster.
Looking to buy mahogany wood online or purchase cherry timber at wholesale price? Visit Cameroontimberexport.com or contact us at +237671776559 to tell us about your wood requirements. We have both wood in stock with availability in multiple dimensions and sizes to fit your project’s needs. We can provide high-quality wood consistently for ongoing projects. Call or WhatsApp now to get started.