Glossary of Woodworking Terms

Common woodworking terms and their meanings. 

Accessories = Supplemental parts of the cabinet referred to as bells and whistles. Any nonessential component such as rollouts, pullouts, tilt-outs, hardware, etc.

Angled Corner = Any cabinet type designed to fit on an end of an upper or lower cabinet creating a fixed angle.

Base Cabinet = Any cabinet type designed to install directly on the floor. Some form of a top will be applied in the field, such as laminate, wood or granite.

BERP = (Base End Raised Panel) A decorative panel, usually matching the door style, designed to be applied to the side or back of a cabinet, an island for example.

Bevel = A portion of material removed from the edge of a piece of wood. This technique can be used to create a natural finger-pull such as on a beveled-edge door. Also is used to create a specific angle when two pieces of wood are joined together. For example, when two pieces have a 45A? bevel they create a right angle when joined.

Blind Corner = Any cabinet type, upper or lower, designed to install into a corner of a room. Another cabinet will install directly adjacent to it hiding the blind portion. This gives access to an otherwise dead corner providing more storage.

Bumper Pads = A small spongy material placed on any cabinet door designed to soften the noise as the door is closed.

Bun Foot = A round decorative furniture grade foot used on the bottom corners of base cabinets.

Butt Doors = Two cabinet doors covering a single opening, normally too large for one door. The edges of both doors nearly meet. The opening does not have a center mullion.

Butt Joint = A term used when the edges of two pieces of wood are joined together.

Cathedral Arch = A term used when the top cabinet door has a curved shape in the panel and frame.

Center Stile = A vertical strip of hardwood that is a component of the face frame. It usually divides a cabinet opening equally. Also referred to as a mullion.

Cherry = A moderately hardwood having a fine to medium uniform grain.

Close Grain = Having fine and closely arranged fibers or fine texture. Maple is considered to have close grain.

Color Variation = A natural variation of color inherent in any wood species. Soil type, mineral deposits, water levels, temperature and geographical location are all factors in the degree of variation.

Concealed Hinge = A term used to describe a cabinet hinge that is not visible from the outside. Referred to as a cup hinge.

Corbel = A decorative wooden bracket used as a support mechanism for mantels, bar tops, etc.

Corner Blocks = Any type of wooden, plastic or metal component used to strengthen any joint. Typical application is where face frame and end panel are joined.

Crown Molding = A term for any molding that is applied to the top of upper cabinets.

Custom Cabinets = Cabinets built to suit very specific needs. They are generally not limited to product lines, dimensions or design. They are typically more expensive but don?_Tt necessarily offer the best value available in the marketplace.

Dado = A 1/4" +/- deep channel or groove cut across the wood?_Ts grain is called a dado. A dado joint is formed when a cross member is fitted perpendicular into the channel.

Dentil Mould = A term used to describe a decorative tooth-like pattern on any trim molding.

Door Styles = A variety of cabinet doors the consumer has to choose from when designing their home. Some styles are:
Arched raised panel (arch can be any of several arch designs)
Square raised panel
Arched flat panel
Square flat panel
Mitered raised panel
Mitered flat panel

Dovetail = A term used to describe a joining process of two pieces of material. Both pieces have wing-shaped notches that interlock. Generally known as one of the strongest joints typically used in furniture and cabinet drawers.

Drawer Face = Finished front panel of the drawer assembly. The profiles will match the door chosen.

End Panel = The panel forming the cabinet side.

Engineered Wood = A term used to describe several new types of construction material. Fiberboard, such as MDF and HDF, are more dimensionally stable than solid wood.

Exposed Hinge = A term used to describe a cabinet hinge that is visible from the outside. Some types are barrel hinges.

Face Frame = The front facing of a cabinet typically constructed of hardwood. The vertical pieces, called ?_ostiles,?__ and the horizontal pieces, called ?_orails,?__ reinforce the cabinet structure and provide mounting support for doors and drawers.

Fillers = Pieces of hardwood matching a chosen cabinet color. Sizes range from 1" to 6" wide and 30" to 96" long. Common use is to fill the space where a modular cabinet does not fill a specific wall dimension.

Finishes = A term for the surface treatment of a wood product to enhance the beauty of its natural wood color and grain definition. Usually applied in steps, such as stain, sealer and a clear top coat such as a catalyzed varnish.

Flute = A concave shallow groove that is routed into a wood surface. Fluting is usually applied vertically. Common use is to overlay on a cabinet stile or filler for a decorative effect.

Framed Cabinet = A traditional style of cabinetry. The box is built behind a picture frame-like structure on which the doors and drawers are applied.

Frameless Cabinets = Often referred to as European-style cabinets. Components, doors and drawers are applied to the inside of the box thus eliminating the traditional face frame.

French Leg = A furniture-grade decorative leg used on the bottom corners of base cabinets.

Full Overlay = Doors and drawers are sized large enough to cover the cabinet face with only minimal clearances between them.

Furr-Down = A box-out at the ceiling typically 12" high and 14" deep. Often used for AC ductwork. Kitchen cabinets are installed up to it creating a step effect. Also called a soffit or bulkhead.

Galley Rail = Any molding using tiny spindles to create a front retainer along a plate rail cabinet top. It gets its name because of its likeness to galley rails used on ships.

Grain Variation = A term used to describe a species of wood?_Ts natural dissimilar grain pattern.

Hickory = A heavy, hard, strong, stiff wood with a fine uniform grain.

Hinge = A mechanical device used to attach a cabinet door to a cabinet box. There are many styles offering different applications, degree of swing and visibility.

Joint = A construction term used when two pieces of material are joined or attached together. Common types are: Butt Cope and Stick Dado Dovetail Miter Mortise and Tenon Rabbet Tongue and Groove

Kerf = A saw cut that is made on the surface to relieve stress. It is used to create a curve, such as with a toe kick around a curved base cabinet.

Kiln Dry = A term used to describe the process of oven drying fresh cut lumber. The process removes excess moisture so raw lumber can be fabricated into a finished product.

Knob = A hardware item, typically round in shape, attached to doors and drawers for function and decoration.

Knot = A hard node in any wood species where a branch once grew.

Laminate = v. A term used when layers of wood are bonded together through a process of heat and pressure. n. The plastic product used to fabricate kitchen countertops.

Lazy Susan = A corner kitchen base cabinet utilizing kidney shaped shelves rotating on a center poll for easy access.

Maple = A hard closed grain, light colored wood.

MDF = (Medium Density Fiberboard) A common grade of engineered construction material.

Melamine = A slick plastic-like material used to cover a substrate of engineered wood or MDF. This material is popular because it is durable and easy to clean.

Millwork = Any type of machined woodwork.

Mineral Streak = A discoloration in any species of wood caused by mineral deposits the tree extracts from the soil. Commonly seen as a blackish-blue streak within the grain.

Miter = A joint made when two beveled surfaces form a specific angle. For example, two pieces of wood each beveled at 22 1/2A? will form a 45A? angle when joined together.

Modular = A standardized increment of measurements specific to a product. Modular cabinets are generally manufactured in 3" increments.

Mortise and Tenon = A specific joining technique. The mortise (groove or slot) is cut into a piece of wood. The joint is made when an opposing piece cut with a tenon (a collared protrusion) is slipped into the mortise.

Mullion Doors = Also referred to as a divided light door. The solid center panel is omitted and replaced with horizontal and vertical mullions dividing the open panel into smaller panels. Clear, smoked, bronzed, opaque or leaded glass inserts (provided by the consumer) can fill these panels for the desired effect.

Nomenclature = A string of letters and numbers used to identify specific cabinet types or accessories.

Oak = A durable open grained hardwood.

Onlay = A carved or etched decorative ornament installed on the cabinet face. Also referred to as an appliquAc.

Open Grain = Large pores or course texture in grain. Oak is an example of an open-grained wood. (See Oak.)

Overlay = Decorative panels affixed to a cabinet surface or attached to the ends of upper or base cabinets.

Peninsula = Similar in design to an island except open on only three sides. Often used in ?_oL?__ shaped kitchens as serving bars that separate the kitchen from the dining or family room.

Plywood = Multiple layers of wood veneer bonded by an adhesive forming panels of varying thickness.

Pull = A hardware item, usually crescent shaped, attached to doors and drawers for function and decoration.

Rabbet = A technique for joining two pieces at right angles. A portion of material is removed from the edge of one piece similar to the thickness of the other piece. When the two are attached the joint is strengthened. Also called a half-lap joint.

Racking = Generally caused by poor installation. The cabinet is twisted out of square resulting in poor door and drawer alignment and operation.

Rail = A horizontal door or cabinet frame component.

Reveal = The exposed portion of the cabinet face frame when the cabinet door and drawer are closed.

Rope Molding = A piece of molding milled to appear twisted like rope.

Rout = To drill or gouge out an area of wood for decorative or joining purposes.

RTF = (Rigid Thermo Foil) Used as a laminate in the process of fabricating a one-piece door.

Sapwood = Younger, softer outer portion of the tree trunk, just under the bark.

Scribe Allowance = Face frame extensions beyond the cabinet box for trimming to ensure proper fit.

Scribe Molding = A generic piece of molding, usually 1/4" thick and up to 1" wide, for the purpose of trimming and concealing any discrepancy where the cabinet meets a sheetrock wall.

Semi-Concealed Hinge = A term used to describe a cabinet hinge that is barely visible from the outside. Some types are called kerf or knuckle hinges.

Semi-Custom Cabinets = Cabinets built in 1/8" increments, opposed to modular cabinets built in 3" increments. Most have certain limitations in their product lines but are usually more flexible in dimension and design than a typical modular or stock cabinet product. They are typically more expensive but don?_Tt necessarily offer the best value available in the marketplace.

Skin = A 3/16"-thick veneer panel generally used on the ends or backs of upper or base cabinets.

Soffit = A box-out at the ceiling typically 12" high and 14" deep. Often used for AC ductwork. Kitchen cabinets are installed up to it creating a step effect. Also called a fur-down or bulkhead.

Standard Overlay = A door style designed with a specific hinge type. The cabinet door overlaps the cabinet opening 1/2" on all four sides.

Stile = A vertical door or cabinet frame component.

Stretcher or Nailer = A structural component of the cabinet box. They are hidden horizontal members connecting the end panels at back of cabinet. During the installation process 2" to 3" screws are used to mount the cabinet to the wall through the stretchers.

Substrate = The original surface or the structural material beneath the layer of veneer or laminate.

TERP = (Tall End Raised Panel) A decorative panel, usually matching the door style, designed to be applied to the side or back of a cabinet, a pantry or refrigerator end panel.

Thermofoil = A 100% flexible vinyl laminate that is applied to the substrate by using an adhesive or heat and pressure.

Tilt-Out Trays = A popular accessory item ideal for storing sponges and other dishwashing supplies. They are plastic trays attached to the back of false fronts at the sink area.

Toe Kick = The recessed area at the bottom of base cabinets usually 4" high and 3" deep.

Tongue and Groove = A specific joining technique, the groove is cut into one piece of wood. The joint is made when an opposing piece cut with a tongue (a collared protrusion) is slipped into the groove.

Valance = A decorative hardwood panel installed across an open area, generally used above desks or sinks.

Varnish = A hard, transparent coating used to protect the cabinet surface.

Veneer = A thin layer of wood (1/32") of solid wood that is applied with an adhesive to a substrate.

VERP = (Vanity End Raised Panel) A decorative panel, usually matching the door style, applied to the side or back of a cabinet, a vanity end panel.

Wainscot = A wooden facing or paneling that is generally applied to a wall or large end panel of a cabinet.

Wall Cabinet = Any cabinet type designed to install at or above eye level. Common application is 18" above the kitchen base cabinets. Also referred to as an upper cabinet.

Warp = Any wood product that distorts or twists out of shape. The general cause is excessive heat or moisture.

WERP = (Wall End Raised Panel) A decorative panel, usually matching the door style, applied to the side or back of an upper cabinet.

This video shows how to measure cabinet openings and the calculation for cabinet door overlay. How to calculate Cabinet Door Overlay.

Here is a video with tips on Measuring cabinet openings, Finishing and Hanging your doors, and using hinge adjustment for final alignment of the doors. Cabinet Doors 101: How to measure openings, install hinges, hang and align doors.

Blum HingeWe offer the Industry-Leading Soft Closing hinge from Blum. This is it! Click here...For more about our Hinges.

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Customer Reviews

Just finished hanging my new Shaker Doors and I had to let you know that you have done an excellent job. Really, really beautiful work. Kirk A.

I could not be more impressed with the cabinet doors I just received. My only regret is that it took me so long to pull the trigger and place the order. Charles J.

You made some replacement doors for a rental I own. Problem is...the doors I didn't replace look awful. Seriously, you make a very high quality cabinet door and I guess I'll be ordering the rest of the kitchen soon. Kay B.

I wish I would have found you years ago. I flip houses and usually remodel the kitchens, so I have some experience with cabinet doors. Yours are the best I've ever used. The sizes are right-on and the sanding was perfect. Todd J.

Your Youtube videos are outstanding. You made measuring and hanging my new doors a snap. Thank you. Jen A.

I ordered new cabinet doors for my upper cabinets in my kitchen. They needed to match the bottom doors. Thanks to your very knowledgeable staff, I got perfect doors--the grain matched, the trim matched, and the hardware is outstanding. I am delighted and would recommend this company without reservation. Thank you for an outstanding product. Madge S.

My order of cabinet doors was delivered today, and I could not be more pleased. They are BEAUTIFUL. Thank you so much for making a great product.Stacy K.

I'm a home re-modeling handyman and I just finished a kitchen remodel using your Shaker Doors. This was my first order from you and the sizes and overall quality are much better than my prior supplier. You helped my make my customer very happy.Mike B.

This was my 4th kitchen re-model with your cabinet doors and, just like before, the doors were perfect. The workmanship is top notch and the sanding was exceptional. My 5th kitchen job is scheduled for August and I'll be ordering from you again. You make a great door.Kent's Kitchens

We ordered replacement doors for our 60-year-old home and were very pleased with the product. The milling was of the highest quality. The joinery was very well done, and the wood selection was obviously done by a professional who cares what the finished product looks like. It is one thing to assemble a project with technical skill, and another thing entirely to accomplish the assembly with an eye toward bringing the best out of the wood being used. Both aspects were accomplished, and at a very high level! The dimensions were absolutely perfect. Each door was correctly dimensioned to within less than 1/16 of an inch. It was very pleasing to see this attention to detail, especially since I took the time to measure my cabinets twice, making sure I had done my part. I had never worked with white birch before, and when I saw the issues with staining the wood (soft grain with blotchy absorption of the stain) I was a bit worried. I had no problems at all because the wood was of a higher quality white birch that had been properly handled at the mill and sanded to a stain-ready finish. A good sanding sealer was applied, and then the stain. The results were EXCELLENT! All-in-all, we received a great product, great advice and excellent customer service from We would certainly recommend them to anyone looking for cabinet doors. Nice job, everyone! Michael R.

The doors arrived today and fit perfectly. Thank you very much. I will be ordering the remaining 18 doors and 6 drawer fronts in the next couple of months. Walter W.

I remodel kitchens for a living and I can only say...I wish I had found you sooner. These are the overall BEST cabinet Doors I have ever installed. Excellent quality and workmanship. Jake A.

Your cabinet doors are much higher quality than the doors that were installed by our home builder. There is really no comparison, you make a GREAT product. Al N.

The contractor remodeling our kitchen was so impressed with the doors we ordered from your website that he is going to use your doors for all his future jobs. Marcia N.

Your cabinet doors, and the finishing tips in your blog, made my kitchen remodel look GREAT. I recommend your doors to everyone. Kay H.

Hi, I have received my 1 door, and I feel like I received the same quality service and product as if it were 50 doors. I am very pleased with a beautiful door delivered as promised. Thanks, David H.

Although I haven't bought the cabinet doors for my kitchen remodeling project yet, I will be making my purchase from Your site, and especially your Blog, has more useful information than I've found anywhere else on the internet. The information you provide is exceptional and you have helped to give me the confidence to take-on this project. Nancie D.

We took your advice and ordered the smallest door in our kitchen to see your quality...which is absolutely great...Now we are ordering the rest of the kitchen and bath doors. Don & Barb B.

These cabinet doors are PERFECT! Super high quality and right-on size. Harry D.

So glad we remodeled our kitchen with your doors, instead of doors from the hardware chain. You saved us over 35%. The doors arrived in 12 days, (including 4 Fedex shipping days). The hardware chain quoted 28 days, and your quality is far better than their samples. Mark H.

These doors are EXCELLENT! In quality and workmanship and value. Very glad we found you. James L.

A friend put me onto your website and I can't thank her enough. You make an excellent product and I'm completely happy with everything about my purchase. Paula B.

I am very satisfied with these doors. The quality is GREAT!. Alex D.

Very nice cabinet doors, the color matching and the sizes are right-on. Paul L.

Your customer service is fantastic. Somehow you spotted an error I made on my order (I reversed width and height on one door) and called me to ask if the size was correct. Your attention to detail prevented me from ordering one of my doors wrong. Thank you so much. Bryan E.

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