Bob Russo: Cabinet Wood Species & Colors

Cabinet Wood Species

When you are talking to designers about your kitchen project, at some point you will be asked whether you are thinking about stained or painted cabinets. If you say stained, there are things you should think about. If painted, there are other things to consider.

Wood is a product of nature; within a tree, there are both heart and sap woods.  In some woods, color can very greatly, while others are more consistent. So always ask, are there any characteristics you should be made aware of in the species you are thinking of selecting?

You should also see more than a small sample.  Samples of 4” x 6” (more or less) will never tell you all you really need to know of any wood. Even a full door, sometimes, will not show every characteristic. Knowing what to expect in the wood you have selected: knot holes, pin holes, mineral stains, and heave of light grain details, just to name a few, will minimize surprises later. So, the more you see the better. Ask if a full kitchen exists in that particular species, even in another showroom, if they have more than one.

Also, ask about the wood’s hardness; even in hardwoods, they are not all the same.  Some will dent and scratch much easier then others. In an active kitchen, these softer hardwoods may not hold up as well as you expected.

Colors (Stains and Paints)

In the world of colors and stains just a couple of quick notes:

Paint – When thinking of painted cabinets, please keep in mind that all paint is susceptible to chipping, if struck hard enough. You may also see hair line cracks in time (sometimes even right out of the box) where any two pieces of wood are joined together.

Stains – When selecting very dark stains, sometimes characteristics (in a lighter stain) which give the wood its personality, may look like a flaw or defect. Always ask to see large samples of full doors before selecting the stain you wish to use.

You can always count on the Kitchen Views design team to be a knowledgeable resource to help you in making educated decisions about these important aspects of your kitchen design.

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham St. Newton, MA 02461

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