Natural Cherry Furniture
In the opinion of Southern wood artist Robin Wade, natural cherry furniture is one of the most beautiful species from which he crafts his most striking sustainable, handmade furniture pieces. “Cherry’s beauty and color are quite subtle,” Wade says of the wood species. “It is really beautiful in its natural form.” Many people find it surprising that the cherry species actually finishes in a light, golden hue, often having beautiful flame patterns that occur in the hardwood’s grain. It’s the flame patterns that inspire Wade in his craft. He lets the patterns’ curvilinear repetition direct him in shaping each slab of wood. Each piece of Robin Wade Furniture’s natural cherry furniture incorporates and celebrates the Mother Nature-given flame pattern as an adornment, however subtle, on each table top, chair back, desk leg, or bench seat.
But if natural cherry furniture offers such a lovely finish, why is it mostly unknown to consumers and invisible in the marketplace? In today’s furniture industry, which seems to prefer man-made materials over natural ones, it is rare to see natural cherry furniture—pieces that features actual cherry wood in its earthly state. Many manufacturers stain their furnishings, made from any number of wood species or wood-like material, a color they call “cherry”. Unfortunately, this hides the wood’s truly amazing nature beneath a mass-market faux finish. “I don’t know who decided what color cherry furniture stain should be, but its nothing even remotely close to the natural color of the wood,” Wade says.
Robin Wade Furniture pieces are never stained in the finishing process. Instead, Wade finishes his natural cherry furniture and all his hand-crafted pieces no matter the species, with a tung oil mix. The pieces Wade crafts from this striking hardwood—including a cherry bench, cherry table, and modern cherry dining table—feature not only the mesmerizing flame pattern but also the natural cherry color instead of a harsh man-made red-purple hue. “With our natural cherry furniture pieces, you get the whole spectrum of natural cherry colors” Wade says, which can range from the bare color of weak sunshine to a warmer hue reminiscent of shafts of wheat to a bold yellow the color of golden rays of sun.
For Wade, natural cherry furniture is a hand’s-down winner. “The first time I entered a juried arts competition, it was with a cherry console table,” he says. The table, prominently displayed in his Florence, Alabama Slow Studio, features a thick, natural-edge slab as its top. On the tabletop’s surface, cherry-wood flames dance from end to end. Wade’s finishing techniques brought out the wood’s subtle coloration and put the cherry’s natural artistry on display. “And I won first place,” he adds.
Wade crafts natural cherry furniture pieces of his own design but also welcomes designers, architects, and homeowners to contact him with ideas and needs for specific pieces and/or spaces. Custom furnishings and architectural elements are the specialty of Robin Wade Furniture and the Slow Studio welcomes the collaborative process of creating pieces to fill specific requests.