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Little River, CA, US
Wow. Starting to carve in cherry is like starting to exercise with 100 lb weights.
Are you using a knife, a bent knife, or a spoon gouge. For beginners I'd recommend chisels/gouges (and for spoons a spoon gouge), and a small light brass mallet. For cherry, it's darn tough to do - use either a bent/crooked knife with an 8" or longer handle, or use the gouges a mallet and above all secure your work somehow.
Good luck. Next time try basswood, or pine, or even birch if you have to.
Ryobi had it coming.
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