When considering wood cabinets decide if the wood will be painted or stained. Paint typically hides the wood's natural appearance and grain pattern. Why waste money on high quality wood if the cabinets will be painted. On the contrary stained cabinets can emphasize certain wood's natural color and grain. It’s essential to evaluate your wood species carefully before making a purchase.
Also think about workability. Ask questions like how easy it is to cut, shape and sand into the desired design? Woods with poor workability tend to crack or split along grain lines or edges when cut, and can be hard to shape or sand evenly.
Here are some tips about wood species when cabinet making:
1. Paint grade wood like Medium Density Fiberboard known as M.D.F is one of the most affordable option when considering painted wood. It has a very smooth surface and tends to take paint well. M.D.F is considered the most workable of all cabinet-making materials, and is very easy to cut and shape.
2. Mahogany and Hickory are darker woods with deep, straight grains. Mahogany takes stain well while hickory does not.
3. Oak is one of the most popular woods for cabinet making. It takes stain well and has a rich red or brown coloring. Oak has a pronounced grain, which some may not find attractive. Oak is also a harder wood to work with like hickory, cherry and mahogany.
4. Pine and Maple woods have a light golden color and a fairly feeble grain pattern. They can also have special features like knots or other flaws that can make cabinets look more rustic. But these woods are very porous and can be hard to stain without creating streaks or blotches.
5. Wood Veneers are also an alternative option to solid lumber. Veneers are thin slices of real wood glued to an MDF or plywood base. Usually, cabinets made using this technique are much more stable and longer lasting than solid-wood units. They offer resistance to moisture and humidity. Another added bonus is that affordable and they minimize the amount of wood required for each cabinet.
It’s helpful to understand the durability and maintenance issues associated with each wood species. Paint grade woods like MDF tend to perform the best over time, and are impenetrable enough to handle varying levels of moisture and humidity.
Soft woods like pine and maple will be the least durable. They are highly vulnerable to moisture and humidity. Harder woods like cherry, oak, mahogany and hickory are strong and durable enough to last for many years. They have reasonable levels of moisture-resistance and can withstand normal wear and tear caused by everyday use.
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