Cabinets - Before you Buy - Wood Species

Perhaps no other element in your home reflects your personal taste so clearly as the cabinetry that you select for your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room and other areas. Cabinets serve two important purposes: they set the tone of a room's personality and create the system of organization. They are an integral part to any well-used space.

Cherry:

Surround yourself with the timeless elegance of Cherry cabinetry. Cherry has a rich long history of being one of the classic hardwoods used for fine furniture and musical instruments.

This member of the fine wood family is known for the warm, rich and inviting interiors it creates. Being a natural product, Cherry will change in color almost immediately. Exposure to sunlight will beautifully and gracefully age your cabinets to a deep, rich red patina. If you choose to add to your cherry cabinets later on, the color will not match your existing cabinets. Cherry is also distinguished by such characteristics as: fine pinholes, grain swirls, pitch pockets, mineral streaks, sapwood and variations in color and grain. These are not flaws but rather features of this elegant wood.

Hickory:

Hickory's claim to fame is its natural variations in color and grain. Hickory is not for the timid. It has the most dramatic of variations creating the most dramatic of interiors. The common name for a particular group of trees in the walnut family, Hickory is a hardwood with exceptional strength and durability.

Color variations will range from the white sapwood to the reddish brown heartwood even within the same piece of wood. Although, these color variations tend to mellow with age. However, the most striking of variations will be present on cabinets with a natural finish. Other characteristics such as pinholes, burls, knots and mineral streaks will also be present. These characteristics are a result of nature's work and enhance the beauty of the wood.

Maple:

Sophisticated yet simple, maple cabinets are the perfect choice for any kitchen. Maple is one of the hardest and most durable woods.

The smooth and subtle grain pattern has a clean, fine textured appearance that is enhanced by its own natural characteristics such as mineral streaks and pitch fleck. Make note that mineral streaks are common and are more visible with darker stains. As maple ages, the color will mellow over time into a rich golden patina. This change is normal and is caused by a chemical process due to the exposure of UV light and the oxygen in the wood. Later additions to your cabinetry will not match in color.

Oak:

The most popular of the hardwoods is Oak. Oak is less expensive than other hardwoods but is known for its strength and striking grain pattern.

Oak is used for flooring, doors, wine barrels, railroad cross ties, buildings, moldings and much more. The predominate grain pattern ranges from straight lines to arched or pointed flame-like patterns and may be present in the same cabinet door or drawer front. There is a wide array of colors available ranging from light to dark. Unlike cherry, oak is less photosensitive and will not darken but gain a golden glow over time. This is considered normal. Because the color of the cabinet will change, later additions will not match your existing cabinetry.

Thermo Foil:

The Thermo foil finish consists of a decorative vinyl-compound sheet that is molded with heat to the wood surface of the cabinet. Through this baking process, these cabinets have the look of white painted wood but with the durability of Thermo Foil.

Prolonged exposure to sunlight, smoke or chemicals will dull the finish and cabinets or accessories added later will not match existing cabinets.

Knotty Alder

Knotty Alder is a rich-looking wood that blends well with cherry. The color is a very uniform light brown with a reddish tinge and a fairly straight-grained, uniform texture. The wood inherently contains pin knots, open and closed knots of various sizes, checking and mineral streaks which are typical and not considered defects, this adds to the beauty of the finished products - knots may be in locations which affect hardware placement.

Alder

Alder, or Red Alder as it is often called, grows in the Pacific Coast areas of the US and Canada. Alder has a fine, smooth, straight grain with random mineral streaks and mild color variation. Alder tends to be 'amber' with age. Although it is classified as a hardwood species, it is softer than woods such as oak and maple. Alder trees are smaller in diameter and height and have a higher concentration of branches, resulting in more character pin knots. Also, due to the smaller tree size, Alder veneer panels will show a higher quantity of 'flitches' or seams, per face.

Ribbon Mahogany

Ribbon Mahogany or Khaya grows in the tropical areas of west, central, and east Africa. The heartwood varies in color from light to deep reddish-brown. The grain is straight to interlocked, and is moderately coarse textured to medium textured. All of these characteristics can be present at the same time in the same piece of wood. These characteristics add to the exotic grain interest. The wood will darken with age and exposure to light, sometimes bringing out the underlying red tones. When quarter cut, ribbon graining is prevalent, and provides a rich, alternating light and dark striped effect. 

Bamboo

The Bamboo used by our cabinet manufacturers is Moso Bamboo, and is sustainably grown and harvested in managed agricultural areas of China. It grows to maturity in 5-7 years and when harvested, leaves behind a thriving plant with new shoots. Bamboo, which is actually a grass, is renewably harvested over and over from the same root stalk.

Rift White Oak

This browner toned oak wood is known for straight open grain and light colored random flecks. Boards are cut from the log perpendicular to the growth ring creating the unique grain. This wood was used extensively in early arts and crafts or shaker-styled furniture.

Quarter Sawn White Oak

White Oak ranges from light tan or pale yellow brown to pale or dark brown. Due to quarter sawn milling processes in which the line of cut is perpendicular to the growth rings, Quarter Sawn White Oak is mostly straight-grained with a medium to coarse texture, and exhibits long light-colored 'flecks' that can run in random directions. White Oak therefore has more figure. Variations in color and grain may be significant and should be expected. 

Sapele

Sapele is a hardwood tree native to central Africa and is obtained from sustainably managed forests. The timber is in the same strength category as Oak, and is considerably stronger than African Mahogany. Natural coloring is a medium reddish-brown, and because it is quarter sawn, Sapele is characterized by well-defined ribbon stripe figuring. As with other mahogany family woods, the color will darken slightly with age and UV light exposure.

Walnut

Walnut or Black American Walnut grows in the eastern US and Canada. The heartwood is light brown to dark chocolate brown, occasionally with a purplish case and darker streaks. The wood is generally straight grained, but sometimes with wavy or curly grain that produces an attractive and decorative figure. It is medium in hardness and density. Walnut will actually lighten with age, adding to the natural beauty of this wood.