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Wood Species and Characteristics

There is nothing more beautiful than solid wood. No two trees are exactly alike, allowing each piece of furniture to have its own individual appearance and beauty.

Each piece of wood, each cabinet, and each kitchen is unique. The distinct beauty of wood cabinets is derived from the grain pattern. The process of staining and finishing helps to enhance, blend, or minimize this grain, and brings out the true beauty in each piece of wood used to make your cabinets.

oak photoAlder is a strong hardwood, with typically straight and fine-textured grain details. Its appearance is often similar to that of cherry. It is very uniform in texture, with occasional mineral streaks and small knots, adding to the unique character of this beautiful wood.

oak photoKnotty Alder is a smooth, fine-grained hardwood with a straight grain pattern similar to cherry. The color may vary from pale pinkish-brown to a light tan or honey color. Knotty alder is chosen for its rugged appearance. Knots will be random in size and distribution and will range from tight sound knots to very rustic, split, and open knots. Knotty alder is moderately lightweight with low shock resistance. A few alder moldings are stocked. Additional profiles are available on a special order-quote basis and additional lead time may apply. A set-up fee and extended lead time will be applicable. Consider specifying birch moldings for a good blend. Knotty alder doors are available pre-hung in solid wood alder jambs. If a value-priced composite jamb is preferred, knotty alder doors can be pre-hung in birch composite jambs.

oak photoBirch hardwoods are chosen for their dramatic color variation and usually smooth grain. Birch hardwoods will exhibit dramatic color variation from a creamy color to a medium brown. Characteristics such as shiny burl wood, grain variation, small pin knots, and mineral stains may also be present. Birch should not be chosen as an alternative to maple; although the two wood species may sometimes be similar in texture, birch hardwoods will exhibit dramatic color and shade variation. Although birch is relatively light in weight, it is hard and strong with excellent shock resistance.

oak photoOak hardwoods are chosen for their prominent, beautiful, open grain patterns varying from a close-knit vertical grain to a characteristic cathedral or arched pattern. Some color variation from reddish tan to medium brown is possible in its natural state. Occasional pin knots and mineral streaks are also characteristic. Red oak is an abundant, strong and heavy hardwood with high shock resistance.

Knotty oak exhibits the same characteristics as oak, with much more prominent and typically larger knots and mineral streaks.

oak photoLyptus is a hybrid of eucalyptus grandis and europhyla, and represents a new concept in forest management. Lyptus is harder than red oak, with a strong grain pattern similar to that of mahogany. This is a self-renewing tree when cut sprouts new from the stump. Lyptus grows to a typical size tree of 2.5’ x 140’ tall in 14 to 18 years.


maple photoMaple hardwoods are selected for their smooth texture, uniform grain, and characteristic light color. Maple is predominantly a creamy white color, and may exhibit little color variation from white to a light gray or tan. Maple will exhibit random mineral streaks. These dark streaks are mineral deposits absorbed from the soil in which the tree grew and are a naturally occurring variation. Worm tracks and occasional birds-eye patterns are also characteristic. Maple will slightly mellow with age due to natural exposure to light and air. Due to the density and hardness of maple, natural expansion and contraction may be more apparent at joints than with softer hardwoods. Maple is a hard, strong wood with excellent shock resistance.

cherry photoCherry hardwoods are chosen for their smooth texture, rich color, and flowing grain patterns. In its natural state, cherry has a predominantly pinkish hue, and may range in color from nearly white to pink to dark brown. (Due to these characteristic areas of light sapwood, cherry is not recommended with a natural finish. Even a light colored stain will blend and temper this color variation.) Some selections can even exhibit shades of yellow, green, and gray. Small gum spots, pin holes, pitch pockets, and mineral flecks are characteristic. Cherry will darken (mellow) with age due to exposure to sunlight; this color change can occur gradually or rapidly, depending on the amount and intensity of exposure. Cherry is strong, moderately hard, and has high resistance to shock.

hickory photoHickory is a relatively smooth hardwood chosen for its dramatic color variation and prominent grain. Color within the same stave of wood and across an interior door can vary from a nearly white color to medium brown. Bird pecks, small pin knots, and mineral streaks are common. Hickory is an exceptionally heavy and hard wood with high shock resistance.

MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) is an engineered wood offering an extremely tight and smooth surface. Exceptionally stable, MDF is favored for laminating with thermofoils and melamine as well as paints.