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Helping Your Customers Choose the Right Cabinet Wood

Having a solid understanding of the styles and appearances of cabinetry that your customers desire is an essential part of a successful business. By knowing what types of wood accentuate certain styles and themes, you are already a leg ahead of the competition in providing superior customer service. With so many options and questions surrounding cabinet choices (Do I want hardwoods? Should I opt for veneered cabinets? How stable will these cabinets be in areas of high humidity?), customers will often look to you for support and answers to their questions, we’ve summarized several varieties of wood as well as their unique characteristics, based upon an article by to help you best assist customers.

Red Oak
This type of wood is available in a variety of styles and finishes. Additionally, it is durable, strong and typically available at an inexpensive price. Red oak has pronounced grain patterns and is popularly used in traditional cabinet styles.

White Oak
White oak is also strong and durable, though more so than red oak. This type of wood is known for its golden tones and a more subtle grain. Often, white oak is quarter-sawn for custom cabinetry. Typically it is only available as a custom option.

Hard maple is a fine-grain and light-color wood slightly more expensive than oak but less dense. A popular choice for semicustom and custom cabinets, maple can be stained, but it is most often dressed with a clear or natural finish to achieve a light, contemporary look.

Hickory is lighter than oak, but is similar in grain pattern and strength. This creamy, pale yellow wood can be stained; however, like maple, its blond tones are most often complemented with a clear or natural finish. Lending itself to a rustic style, hickory is a rare choice for custom and semicustom cabinetry.

Cherry is hard enough to withstand knocks and marring. Elegant and formal when used for certain traditional styles, cherry’s design versatility can also give a kitchen a contemporary personality. This smooth, fine-grain, red to reddish-brown wood darkens with age and is often stained for uniformity of color.

Birch is darker than maple, but also durable and fine-grained. Often used to masquerade as more expensive wood, this type works well with finishes. As a stained wood, birch often takes on a faux cherry or maple appearance. Birch is relatively inexpensive as it at times has some irregular coloring. It is typically available in both stock and semicustom lines.

Knotty Pine
Pine is the one softwood species of wood that is used for cabinetry, as it is more prone to denting than hardwoods. As a pale yellow wood, it can be stained and is often used within traditional and country styles as it features knots.

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