Best woods to use in Cabinet Doors Part-2 with Video

This post covers the second half of the Best Woods to use in Cabinet Doors.

These woods are Cherry, Ash, Birch, Hickory, and the Knotty Woods.

A video explaining these woods, their properties, specific finishing tips, along with pictures of each wood type can be watched by clicking here.

Several knotty wood types are popular and often used for Knotty Cabinet Doors.

These Knotty woods feature a unique look as every door will have a slightly different appearance from any other.

Woods like Hickory and Oak will have significant color variations as the knots in these woods often have mineral streaks extending from them.

Alder and Maple also have streaking from the knots, but to a lesser extent.

To insure dependability, the doors frame will have smaller knots while raised panels offer the opportunity to use larger and more colorful knots.

Because knotty plywood is usually not available, recessed panel knotty doors are made by edge-gluing the pieces of the panel, the same as raised panel doors, with the panels then reduced in thickness to ¼-inch.

These knotty woods offer a rustic look which is very popular in many kitchen designs.

Best woods to use in Cabinet Doors Part-1 With Video

This video covers the woods most often used for cabinet doors, and can be seen by clicking here.

The first four of these most popular woods are Alder, Oak, Maple, and Paint Grade.

Alder grows in Oregon, Washington and into British Columbia. Although Alder is classified as a hardwood it is softer than Oak and Maple.

Alder use is more common in the western states but is becoming more popular and more available in the central and eastern states.

Red Alder tends to be a light tan to reddish brown and there is no visible distinction between heartwood and sapwood. The overall grain pattern and appearance is similar to Birch, though slightly redder than Birch

Alders grain is generally straight, with a moderately fine, uniform texture.

It has excellent finishing properties but care is needed when staining. Like Maple, Alder requires proper wood sealing to prevent a blotchy finish. It is becoming very popular in the cabinet industry.

The Oaks are divided into Red Oaks and White Oaks. The names don’t indicate color as the White Oaks tend to be grayer in color, while the Red Oaks vary from reddish brown to wheat color. White oak is commonly used in whisky barrels, wet environments, and cargo truck flooring while Red Oaks are used in furniture and cabinets.

The heartwood in Red Oak is a light to medium brown, commonly with a reddish cast. Sapwood is nearly white to light brown, depending mainly on the growth region.

Red Oak is sub-divided into three growing regions; Southern, Appalachian, and Northern. Because of the climate the southern oaks grow the fastest and the northern oaks the slowest. The slower growth and cooler climate makes the northern oaks superior as a furniture wood.

We use the best-of-the-best Red Oak which is sustainably grown in the private forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin, and color-sorted to our specifications.

Unlike most other hardwoods, the sapwood of Hard Maple lumber is most commonly used rather than its heartwood. Sapwood color ranges from nearly white, to an off-white cream color. Our Select Maple is color-sorted and only the white sapwood is used in our cabinet doors.
The heartwood tends to be a darker reddish brown and is seldom used in cabinets.

The grain in Maple is generally straight, with a fine, even texture.

Maple finishes to an attractive light color with polyurethane alone. Because Maple is a tight, closed grain wood, it requires experience to stain without looking blotchy.

Visit our website to vies, price, and order hundreds of Cabinet Door styles online.

How CabinetDoors.Com makes Reliable Paint-Grade Cabinet Doors

CabinetDoors.Com makes reliable Paint-Grade Cabinet Doors. Click this video to see how we make them.


Any wood can be painted, but when painting cabinet doors understanding the properties of woods can make the difference between a successful project and a disappointment.

Over 90% of the problems with wood involve moisture. The reason that statement is true is that “wood always remains hygroscopic”. It responds to changes in relative humidity. That means that wood will shed moisture as relative humidity drops and it will regain moisture when relative humidity increases.

The fact that wood always remains hygroscopic is critical when choosing a wood type to be painted.

Understanding that all woods will shed water when humidity goes down is to also understand that when any wood sheds water the wood shrinks. And, when any wood regains water as the humidity increases, that wood expands.

While that statement is true with all woods, not all woods react with the same amount of expansion or contraction.

Hickory, Maple, and Beech have the highest rates of dimensional change with humidity fluctuations while Cedar, Alder, and Redwood are among the lowest.

The reason why wood expanding or contracting in painted cabinet doors is a problem is that as the wood expands the paint doesn’t. Once the paint dries it becomes brittle and cannot change dimensions with the wood.

So, once the paint becomes brittle, when the humidity changes and the wood reacts by changing dimensions, the paint will crack, usually where the cabinet door’s panel meets the frame.

Even woods that react less to humidity changes will have movement sufficient to crack the paint.

For that reason most cabinet doors designed to be painted have the panel made of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF).

MDF has a reduced response to humidity changes and is much less likely to cause the problems to painted doors.

Although MDF is a nearly perfect material for the panels in painted doors, it has one drawback that prevents it’s use in the door’s frame. MDF is susceptible to chipping on the edges when struck with a hard object like a frying pan.

When used as panels, the edges of the MDF are protected within the frame, so this chipping problem is not an issue with MDF panels.

However if the MDF were to be used as frame components, the edges would be exposed and, therefore susceptible to chipping.

The solution to designing a reliable Paint-Grade cabinet door has been to place an MDF panel within a wood frame.

Woods like Poplar and Alder won’t chip, take paint well, and have low dimensional reactions to humidity changes.

These woods are the ideal choice for a Paint-Grade cabinet door frame and MDF is perfect for the panel.

How to order Kitchen Cabinet Doors of the correct sizes for your cabinets.

1 August, 2014 BY JIM HILL

The sizes of replacement cabinet doors will depend upon the answers to a few easy questions.

Question 1. What door style and wood type are you considering?
There are hundreds of door styles to choose from. The major categories are divided by assembly method; Cope and Stick or Mitered. 

 Here is an example of the Cope & Stick assembly method: 

Here is an example of the Mitered assembly method:

Another part of the “Door Style” question is whether you prefer Raised Panel or Inset (recessed)Panel doors.
Both Raised and Inset Panel doors are available with either the Cope & Stick and the Mitered assembly methods. Here are some example pictures: 

The two pictures on the Left are examples of Cope & Stick, The first door is our Shaker Inset Panel door, and the second door is our Revere Raised Panel door. The two doors on the right are Mitered with the third being our Wilmington Inset Panel door. The forth door is our Delaware Raised Panel door.
Each of the cabinet doors we make are available in any wood type we offer.

Question 2. Are you replacing existing cabinet doors and reusing your existing hinges?
In this case simply measure the doors you are replacing and order new doors of the same sizes.

Question 3. Are you replacing both your existing doors and having us bore hinge cups for new Blum Concealed Hinges and supply those hinges?
If you plan to use our Top-Quality, Blum Inserta, Clip-top hinges with 1/2-inch overlay, your hinges will ship with your order.
To insure your new doors are perfectly sized for use with our hinges, the door size measurements are figured as follows:
On single doors simply measure the opening size and add 1-inch to both the width and height. For instance, if the cabinet opening size is 12-inches wide and 24-inches high, the door size will be 13 x 25.
On wider cabinets with two doors (butting in the center), measure the width of the opening, add 1-inch, then divide by 2. Height is figured the same as for single doors. Just add 1-inch to the height opening. For instance, if the opening is 28 inches wide and 30 inches high, each doors width would be 28 + 1 = 29 divided by 2 = 14 1/2-inches wide. The door height would be the 30-inch opening height plus 1-inch, for a door height of 31 inches.

Our Blum hinges have plus/minus 2 millimeters of adjustment which will allow enough side adjustment to have a gap of up to 1/8-inch between the butting doors. If you live in a high humidity climate you may want to subtract an additional 1/16″ from the width of your Butt Doors.

So, don’t be intimidated into thinking it’s difficult to figure door sizes from openings. Just take the measurements, work the arithmetic, and order the door style of your choice…or give us a call and we’ll talk you through the entire process.

How to locate sources for Replacement Kitchen Cabinet Doors

July 2014 by Jim Hill

There are two distribution channels for most manufactured products. One is directly from the manufacturer. The other is from the manufacturer, through a distributor, and finally, through a retailer, before reaching the consumer.

Distributors and stocking representatives are simply middlemen who buy directly from manufacturers. They must increase the price to cover their expenses and obtain a desired profit. They then sell to retailers. The retail store again adds his expenses and profit to arrive at the price the retail stores charges the consumer for the item.

In the pre-internet times the middleman assumed the marketing function for the manufacturer. This marketing and sales function being handled by the assorted middlemen allowed the manufacturer to concentrate on engineering and production issues while avoiding the expense of maintaining marketing and sales staffs. But today, the internet has dramatically reduced the costs of marketing and sales to the point where many manufacturers are reconsidering their sales strategies. Every year more manufacturers offer their products to the public through websites, which not only reduces marketing and sales expenses, but also passes significant savings to the consumer.

Before the internet, the only choice a home-owner had to buy cabinet doors was from a retailer like Home Depot, Lowes, or Menards. These big-box stores didn’t actually make the doors they sell, they contracted with manufacturers and middlemen to supply the doors for them.

Also before the internet came into existence, the home-owner or small remodeler would be unlikely to even find a cabinet door manufacturer, so the possibility of buying direct from the manufacturer just didn’t exist.

The internet has broken through that barrier for remodelers, home-owners, and do-it-yourselfers, allowing small users the opportunity to buy direct. A quick Google search for “cabinet doors” returns several sources. The top returns are the big-box stores, Ikea, and Ebay, and other large retail outlets, but following those listings you will start to see some actual manufacturers. While several of the manufacturers sell only to the cabinet trade, some others will sell to the public.

CabinetDoors.Com, a division of The Door Stop is one of those manufacturers that make custom cabinet doors available to everyone.

The Door Stop was the first cabinet door manufacturer to offer cabinet doors and drawer fronts factory-direct on the internet (that’s why our internet division is was able to register the domain name

Our manufacturing efficiency and cost structure has not gone unnoticed by other internet entrepreneurs. Many internet websites offering cabinet doors are actually purchasing our products and simply re-selling them on their websites…with an additional markup as their profit.

The internet is still evolving but it’s impact as of today is clear. Customers now have access to manufactured goods without the requirement of buying those goods from the end-of-the-chain retail store. Like many manufacturers, The Door Stop is offering our products directly to the consumer.

Our internet division,, offers far more choices than any retail store can carry and at prices they just cannot march.

How to finish Paint-Grade Cabinet Doors and get a finish you can be proud of.

June 2014 by Jim Hill

So you just received your new Paint-Grade Cabinet Doors and are ready to start painting. Here are a few tips to get an attractive and durable finish on those new doors.

Don’t stress-out about the painting process, even if you are an inexperienced painter.
Painted doors are not like stained doors where a disappointing stained finish can ruin your day. If you don’t like your painted finish just scuff the doors a little by re-sanding and paint them again.

First, unpack the new doors and inspect them front and back for any scratches caused by shifting during shipping. Smooth these scratches with 180-grit sandpaper and brush off the dust with a fine brush. Sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid making cross-grain scratches on your doors.
The better the prep-sanding the better the painted finish will be so take some time making sure the sanding is as good as you can make it.

Next, lay the cabinet doors flat and either wipe them with a clean cloth or blow them with compressed air to remove the last traces of dust. Laying the doors flat makes paint runs less likely and makes it easier to see your progress from the same angle.

Now the painting process starts. Raw wood needs a primer coat before painting and there are a few primer tips that will be helpful: Always match the primer to the type of paint you plan to use.
If you intend to use water-base (or Latex paint) then use a water base primer and if you are using an oil based paint then use an oil based primer.
In my experience Latex paints have advanced over the past decade to the point where they produce both appearance and dependability equal to their oil based counterparts, especially for indoor applications.
These advancements coupled with the water clean-up and environment-friendly disposal are worth considering when choosing your finishing materials.
While buying your primer and paint, also get a brush or two. You don’t need to buy the $20 super brush, but don’t get the $1 special either. A 2-3″ fine brush should be about $5.
You may also want to buy a small 3-4″ fine roller.

Now for the priming: Lay the doors out flat on some kind of dropcloth. Newspaper works fine for this. It will reduce your anxiety to start with the doors face down. That way you will be finishing the backs first so as you get better at painting your best work will be on the fronts, and your learning experience won’t show.
Use the roller to apply a lite coat of primer to the panel and the inside detail of the stiles and rails. Now use the brush in those deep recesses to get the primer to cover all the machined surfaces. Use the roller again to coat the flat surfaces followed by the brush to give a smooth, even coating. After the primer is dried (follow the drying time instructions on the primer can) sand by hand gently with 220-grit paper, just enough to remove any fibers the primer raised, and to restore the smooth finish. Now turn the door over and repeat on the front.
After the primer is dry and lightly finish sanded, repeat the process with a second coat or primer.

Once the primer is dry you are ready for the paint.
The paint basically follows the same steps as the primer operation. Follow the instructions on your paint can to determine if you should sand between coats or not.
After the paint is dry you are ready to install the hinges.
If you are using hidden hinges, like our Blum Clip-tops, try not to get paint into the 30mm hinge cups. The hinges will be a snug fit into the cups and if you get paint into the holes you may need to sand it out to get the hinges into the cups.

Once you get started you’ll see that the process is really not difficult at all, and you will be able to obtain results that will impress your family and friends.

So, get started and if you haven’t ordered you new Paint Grade cabinet doors yet, now may be the time. has been manufacturing custom cabinet doors for 34 years and we’ve been offering doors on the internet longer than anyone else in the country. We have shipped hundreds of thousands of doors to every region and our customer reviews are a consistent 4+stars.

If you have any questions just visit our website at, our Blog at, or call us. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have. We also have extensive posts, advice, and how-to’s on our Facebook page and our Google+ page.

Not All Red Oaks Are Created Equal

Red Oak Cabinet DoorRed Oak is one of the most popular woods for cabinets and it’s reliable, it’s durable, and it’s beautiful when used for cabinet doors. But, not all of the Red Oaks are equally beautiful.

There are many varieties within the Red Oak families and this discussion is limited to those more commonly used in the manufacture of Cabinet Doors.

Red Oak is divided into three main growing regions, Southern, Appalachian, and Northern. Each of these regions can be further sub-divided based on the color and quality of the Red Oak that grows within the sub-regions.

As a broad overview, Oak from the southern regions has a faster growth rate and tends to have the widest color range of the regions. Oak from the Appalachian regions grows slower than the Southern Oaks with a color range somewhat more consistent than the Southern Oaks.

The Northern Oaks are generally considered to be the highest quality. The Northern Oaks have a shorter growing season and therefore have a slower growth rate. The color is much more consistent, and the mill prices are higher than the Appalachian or Southern Oaks.

The best of the best is a sub-group of the Northern Oaks which grows in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Red Oaks from this region are commonly referred to as Glacial Northern Red Oak. The growth rings tend to be very tight indicating the very slow growth rate, and the color consistency is exceptional. The color is a Light Wheat Color.

I’ve visited many mills in each region and most mills can supply limited quantities of Wheat Colored Red Oak by performing a color sort, but the wide color spectrum of Red Oak from the Appalachian and Southern regions makes color sorting labor intensive.

Red Oak sorts from the Glacial sub-region of Northern Oak are easy as the majority of those Oaks are naturally Wheat Color, so the pricing tends to reflect the Grading Rules more than the color sort labor constraints.

Cabinets used in higher-end housing tend to be made by local Custom Cabinet Shops while cabinets used in more affordable housing is more likely to be “Modular Cabinets”. The Modular Cabinet industry, for the last decade, has been hard pressed to match the costs of Chinese manufacturers and many have moved their operations to China, or started using the lower cost southern oaks.
Those Custom Cabinet Shops that supply custom home builders are expected to supply a product that is noticeably superior to the Modular Cabinets, and part of that “superior” requirement applies to a very uniform and consistent color in the Red Oak doors.

That is why CabinetDoors.Com uses Glacial Northern Red Oak in every one of the Red Oak doors we make.

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