I saw some cherry for sale the other day advertised as 90/0. What exactly does that mean?

Advertisement
1014541501.jpg
Cherry sold with 90/0 heartwood content will show little or no sapwood on the good face, with no minimum for the back face.

Q:

I saw some cherry for sale the other day advertised as 90/0. What exactly does that mean?
—John Mabe, Harrisonburg, Virginia

A:

John, we tossed this one to Keith Stephens, owner of Woodworkers Source lumber supply. According to Keith, sawmills or lumber wholesalers normally use this number only when selling to lumber retailers. It is a measure, by percentage, of the minimum heartwood content on the face and back. So, 90/0 would be at least 90% heartwood on the face with no minimum for the back. 90/50 and 90/70 are not uncommon in the hardwood wholesale business, but as you might suspect, the higher the minimum heartwood content, the higher the price.

Because cherry sapwood is not technically considered a defect for hardwood grading purposes, wholesalers will often add this information in addition to the cherry's board grade—First and Seconds (FAS), Select and Better (SAB), No. 1 common, etc.—to further describe the product.