What You Should Know About Cabinets Wood Types

Cabinet Wood Types - Parr Cabinets

Are you in the market for new cabinets? Here’s a tip you should keep in mind when selecting the type of wood the cabinets are made out of:

No matter which wood type you choose for your new kitchen or bath cabinetry, no two pieces of wood are exactly the same.

Stains are likely to exaggerate the difference between open and closed grains and other markings in wood. Grain variation and color change should be expected. As hardwood ages, it will darken when exposed to different types of light. Color differences or changes in wood can also be caused by exposure to harsh chemicals, extreme heat, or other contributing external conditions. In addition, wood species exhibit other defining characteristics, such as mineral deposits/streaks, knots, sap runs, pin holes, and wormholes. These markings make the wood unique and contribute to its enduring beauty.

Some of the types of wood available include: cherry, maple, oak, birch and hickory. Below are some highlights of these cabinet wood types.

Cherry

  • Top-of-the-line hardwood with a rich, natural reddish-brown tone
  • Uniform tight grain allows finishes to be applied with ease
  • Characteristics include mineral streaks, pin knots, and curly graining
  • Darkens with age and exposure to light
  • Smooth wood grain pattern with random markings

Maple

  • Strong, resilient wood with a uniform tight grain and smooth, even appearance
  • Mineral streaks are common and will appear darker with stain
  • Subtle wood grain markings include fine lines and wavy or curly graining
  • Small, black “bird’s eye” dots

Oak

  • Very strong wood with distinct grain patterns
  • Grain variations create a color gradation when stain is applied
  • Grain patterns include fine lines, pin stripes, leafy grains, and watery figures

Birch

  • Even-textured, fine-grained wood with a curly or wavy pattern
  • Strong with a high resistance to abrasion
  • Smooth, dense surface texture
  • Tight wood grain appearance

Hickory

  • Smooth, extremely strong, close-grained wood with a flowing grain pattern
  • Characteristics include pecks, mineral streaks, and burls
  • Even texture welcomes a full range of finishes with ease
  • Drastic changes from light to dark in wood grain
  • Dramatic, rugged appearance

Solid wood doors and drawer fronts may have varying amounts of the following rustic characteristics:

  • Sound Closed Knot (stable / not movable) — acceptable up to 3″ in diameter
  • Sound Knot with Cracks — acceptable up to 2″ in diameter, with open portion not to exceed 3/4″ in diameter or length. May be completely visible through to back side of door.
  • Open Knot — acceptable up to 3/4″ in diameter or length of open portion of knot. May be completely visible through to back side of door. (Note: Holes created by open knots are acceptable and desirable for this rustic look.)
  • Unsound Knot (loose / movable) — unacceptable
  • Knot Cluster (cluster of tight, sound knots) — acceptable in all sizes and quantities
  • Season Checks (crack) — acceptable, as long as light does not pass through opening
  • Worm / Pin Holes — acceptable if present on less than 50% of door and less than 1/4″ in diameter. May be completely visible through to back side of door.
  • Worm Tracks — acceptable if present on less than 50% of door and less than 1/8″ in diameter and 8″ in length
  • Mineral Stains / Streaks / Deposits — acceptable if present on less than 50% of door. May be black or brown in color.
  • Natural Wood Figuring — acceptable to have bird’s eye, curly graining, burl graining or tiger striping if present on less than 50% of door

Veneer panels, mouldings and other trim items may have varying amounts of the following rustic characteristics:

  • Will have few to no sound closed knots, sound knots with cracks, open knots, or knot clusters
  • May have some visible worm / pin holes, mineral stains / streaks / deposits, or natural wood figuring
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