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.