Today, cabinetry choices are almost endless, but it’s important to recognize that regardless of material or style, quality is essential. Look for such details as full-extension drawers, soft-close drawers and doors, and dovetailed drawers.
Oak: A very hard wood, oak’s grain variations create color gradation when stain is applied. Grain patterns include fine lines, pin stripes, leafy grains, and watery figures. Not the best choice for painted finishes.
Pine: One of the softer woods, pine looks softer, too. This wood stains up well, with variations in color apparent. Pine will darken over the years.
Maple: Maple takes stain particularly well, and is also great to antique or distress. A strong, resilient wood with a uniformly tight grain and a smooth, even appearance, maple’s subtle wood grain markings can include fine lines, and wavy or curly grains. Mineral streaks are common and will appear darker with stain; small black “birdseye” dots can also sometimes be seen.
Birch: A very evenly textured, fine-grained wood, birch is strong and heavy with a high resistance to abrasion. Sometimes possessing a curly or wavy pattern, birch paints, stains, and polishes to perfection.
Cherry: A classic, cherry always looks well-finished. A top-of-the-line hardwood with a rich, naturally reddish-brown tone, cherry’s uniformly tight grain allows finishes to be applied with ease. Characteristics include occasional mineral streaks, pin knots and curly graining. Cherry darkens with age and exposure to light.
Hickory: A smooth, extremely strong wood with a flowing grain pattern. Characteristics can include pecks, mineral streaks and burls, with drastic changes from light to dark tones within the same piece. Its even texture welcomes a full range of finishes. Hickory is valued for its dramatic, rugged appearance.
Alder: Possessing good working strength, alder wood stains well, with some grain showing through.