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Understanding Wood Characteristics for New Cabinets

May 12, 2020

When it comes to cabinetry in your home, there are several reasons why wood is by far the most popular material used. There are numerous wood types generally found in home cabinets, all highly durable and easily customizable to a variety of characteristics.

At Swirl Woodcraft, we’re proud to offer only the finest custom wood cabinets and other woodworking items. Our cabinet selection ranges from classic traditional cabinet choices to modern and rustic options as well, plus numerous customization areas that bring you the exact design and practical uses you require for your new cabinets. What are some of the broad characteristics you should be considering in wood as you choose the optimal style for your home? Here’s a quick primer.

wood characteristics new cabinets

Wood Grain

An important factor to keep in mind while considering which wood to choose for your cabinets is the grain involved. Grain will vary widely between various species of wood – some are tight and close together, running in a parallel design that’s great for those who enjoy symmetry, while others are more varied in terms of their groupings and distances.

Be sure to look at a few different wood species to get an idea of their common grain patterns during your search. Taking the time to visualize some different options will help you understand whether you gravitate toward a consistent pattern or something a bit more varied.

Heartwood Vs. Sapwood

Another interesting area to consider, one that some buyers aren’t aware of at all, is the location of the wood from the tree that was used to create it. Wood closer to the surface (known as sapwood) will look very different from wood at the heart of the tree (heartwood). Be sure to ask about this factor and consider which pattern and characteristics you prefer.

Wood Color and Staining

When it comes to wood color for your cabinets, there are two parallel tracks to consider. The first is differences between various wood species in terms of color – woods like alder or maple are usually white or beige, while cherry or oak wood is generally orange or reddish and walnut comes with a rich chocolate aesthetic. These must be considered closely.

The second is the stain you choose for your wood cabinetry, which will have a major impact on the natural wood color. It’s important to note, however, that just because you plan to stain a given wood for your cabinet choice does not mean you shouldn’t consider the base species color – this will still be a very important factor for both the staining process and other elements.

For more on evaluating wood characteristics while choosing new cabinets, or to learn about any of our custom woodworking products, speak to the staff at Swirl Woodcraft today.