How to Choose Kitchen Cabinet Material

Cabinetry 101 & Material Information

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When you think of cabinets you might automatically think of wood and that is true for
the most part although not all wood is “created” equal, there are substantial differences such as tones, scent, hardness, patterns, elements, toxicity but one of the most important factors is the time; the time it takes mother nature to do its job. In this industry, customers will always ask “what is the best cabinet material?”.

It is also important to keep in mind that there are other materials that go into cabinetry and production but for the sake of this blog article we will maintain the focus on hardwood. I will release an article on the other materials in the near future.

When choosing cabinet materials and styles don’t be afraid to ask us questions including properties of the wood, history, scents, sustainability, toxicity and common issues.

Solid Wood Cabinets

Cherry Wood Cabinets: Cherry hardwood is probably the most requested material in cabinetry due to its superior qualities; its lightweight provides ease of use in most woodworking projects yet it is very strong and relatively stiff. Solid Wood Cabinets stain beautifully with superior outcomes. Keep in mind that Cherry wood darkens with age and sunlight exposure.

Maple Wood Cabinets: Maple wood is characterized by its fine, consistent texture, loved by woodworkers because of its unique machining properties and nail and screw holding abilities. Maple wood stains and glues well; it is also used for commercial flooring like basketball courts and bowling alleys.

Oak Wood Cabinets: Oaks are widely used in cabinetry and furniture due to its beauty, strength, rot resistance, easy to work yet economical. It has grown to be very valuable for woodworkers. It has an appealing scent that is referred to as “tale-tell” and captivating.

Hickory Wood Cabinets: Hickory is extremely heavy, strong and hard. Its unique coarse structure makes it difficult to machine and causes a moderate blunting effect on work tools though it is very bendy yet shock resistant. Hickory is also used widely to smoke meats.

Birch Wood Cabinets: Mainly used for veneer and plywood, more economical that the lumbers above, generally easy to work with but mainly used in doors and outdoor mill working.

Ash Wood Cabinets: Strong and durable, usually light in color and consistently straight grain. Used mostly for hardwood flooring, tool making and furniture.

Other types of materials for cabinetry are:

  • Particle Board Cabinets
  • Medium Density Fiberboard Cabinets or MDF Cabinets
  • Plywood Cabinets
  • Stainless Steel Cabinets
  • Plastic Laminate Cabinets
  • Melamine Cabinets
  • Thermofoil Cabinets
  • Eco Veneers Cabinets
  • Acrylic Cabinets

 

The following online resources might be helpful to research materials further but feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions.

Resources:

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Dream Kitchen Cabinets

1374823When I begin working with a new customer that is interested in a new set of cabinets, I refer to them the following questionnaire that I found in an amazing book in my local library by Jonathan and Sherry Benson – Transforming your Kitchen with Stock Cabinetry

  • -What kind of activities will be happening in my kitchen?
    • Cooking meals?
    • Eating In?
    • Baking?
    • Get togethers?
    • Entertaining guests?
    • Office/Computer use?
    • Studying/Homework?
    • Hobbies and crafts?
    • Organizing Family Events?
    • Any other activities beside cooking?
  • What needs to be stored in my kitchen?
    • Fine China?
    • Table Linens?
    • Glassware?
    • Utensils?
    • Cooking supplies?
    • Wine Collection?
    • Cookbooks?
    • Small Appliances?
  • Do I prepare gourmet meals or am I looking for a place to prepare three quick family meals a day and snacks?
  • Do I want a center island or would I prefer to have an open space?
  • Does my kitchen have to be a place to prepare large meals like holiday gatherings, dinner parties, etc on regular basis?
  • Would I want a sitting space in my kitchen? If so, how many seats? Counter high or bar high?
  • How many people will be working in the kitchen at any one time?
  • Do I have a need for a pantry?
  • Do I want my kitchen to be a decorative showplace in the house?
  • Do I shop for food on weekly basis?
  • Are there any special needs for my family members or people who will use the kitchen?

For any homeowner working on a kitchen project the book Transforming your Kitchen with Stock Cabinetry is in my view definitely an asset, the more you learn about your specific project, the more prepared you will be when approaching a contractor or home goods store.

We look forward to work with you in both design and construction of your new dream kitchen. Call us today for a free assessment.