Teak vs. Cherry: Which One to Use?

Teak vs. Cherry

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When it comes to choosing a material for woodworking, two popular options that come to mind are teak and cherry. They are both beautiful and durable materials, but they have their own unique characteristics that set them apart from each other.

In this article, we will explore the differences between the two, including their appearance, properties, and suitability for different types of projects. By the end of today’s article, you should be able to decide which one will be best for your next project.

What Is Teak?

Teak is a hardwood species native to South and Southeast Asia. It is known for its high durability and natural resistance to water, pests, and rot. This wood has been used for centuries in shipbuilding, furniture making, and outdoor construction due to its strength and resilience.

The wood has a golden-brown color that darkens over time, giving it a rich and elegant look. Its grain is straight and even, with a fine texture that makes it easy to work with.

Teak also has a high density and hardness, making it ideal for applications that require structural soundness.

What Is Cherry?

Cherry is a deciduous hardwood that is native to North America. It is highly valued for its beauty and is a popular choice for a wide range of projects.

This wood has a warm, reddish-brown color that darkens with age and has a fine, straight grain with a smooth texture. It also has a lustrous and natural sheen that makes it an excellent choice for furniture, cabinets, and decorative woodworking.

Cherry wood is softer than some other hardwoods, such as oak or maple, but it is still durable and strong enough for most applications. It is also easy to work with, making it a popular choice for hand-carved pieces.

Teak vs Cherry: What Are the Differences?

While both teak and cherry wood are beautiful and durable materials, there are some notable differences between the two that should be considered.


Teak wood is a very hard species, with a Janka hardness rating of around 1,000-1,100 lbf. Cherry wood, on the other hand, is softer, with a rating of around 950 lbf, making it less resilient to dents and scratches.


Teak is a very dense wood, with an average density of around 41 lbs/ft3. Cherry is also relatively dense, coming in at 35 lbs/ft3.

This density makes teak wood slightly more resistant to warping, cracking, and splitting, although that heavier weight does make it a bit more difficult to work with.

Pest and Moisture Resistance

One of the most notable differences between these two is their resistance to pests and moisture.

Teak is naturally resistant to the elements due to its high oil content, making it an excellent choice for outdoor furniture and decking, as well as for use in humid or damp environments.

Cherry wood is not as resistant to moisture and pests, but it is still a relatively durable and long-lasting wood species.

Overall Strength

Both are strong and durable wood species, but teak is generally considered to be stronger and more durable than cherry wood.

At the end of the day, teak can just handle a lot more weight and is much better for weight-bearing applications.


Teak is a very workable wood species, with good machining and sanding properties. However, it can be difficult to glue because of that high oil content, and it may require pre-drilling for screws and nails.

Cherry also has great workability, with good finishing and carving properties, and is typically just as easy to work with as teak, if not even easier.


Both teak and cherry wood are known for their beautiful appearance, but they have very different colors and grain patterns. Teak has a golden-brown color with a straight and even grain pattern. This color darkens over time, which is something people tend to really like.

On the other hand, cherry has a deep reddish-brown color with a fine and straight grain. Just like teak, this wood darkens with age and develops a richer color. Both materials are very aesthetically pleasing, and it all really comes down to personal preference.


Teak wood is generally more expensive than cherry wood due to its scarcity and high demand. The oil content of teak also makes it more difficult to work with and increases the cost of processing.

Cherry wood is more widely available and less expensive than teak, making it a popular choice for budget-conscious woodworkers.

The average cost of teak wood is around $23 to $30 per board foot, while cherry comes in at around $5 to $10 per board foot.

When to Use Teak?

Teak wood is an excellent choice for a wide range of woodworking projects, particularly those that require strength, durability, and resistance to moisture and pests. Its oil content and natural density make it an ideal material for outdoor furniture, decking, and other construction projects that are exposed to the elements.

It can withstand the effects of rain, sun, and wind without warping or cracking, also making it a popular choice for boatbuilding and marine applications.

In addition to its outdoor usability, teak is also a great choice for indoor furniture and flooring, particularly in areas that see a lot of moisture.

When to Use Cherry?

Cherry wood is a popular choice for a wide range of woodworking projects, particularly those that require a beautiful, warm, and inviting appearance. Its rich color and fine grain make it a classic choice for furniture, particularly for traditional or formal styles.

Potential uses include cabinetry, tables, and chairs. It is also a great choice for carved pieces due to its workability.

Cherry is also a durable and attractive option for hardwood flooring. Its deep color and natural luster make it a popular choice for homeowners looking for an elegant look.

It also works well for rooms that get a lot of natural light, as the wood tends to darken and develop a richer color over time with exposure to sunlight.

Additionally, this wood is a popular choice for decorative woodworking projects, including turned bowls, cutting boards, and other small items. Its attractive grain pattern and warm color make it a favorite among woodworkers who value its aesthetic qualities and versatility.


Teak is strong, durable, and resistant to pests and moisture, making it ideal for outdoor projects, while cherry’s beautiful appearance makes it a great choice for indoor furniture and decorative pieces.