kitchen cabinet terminology

Learn Basic Cabinet Terminology and Definitions for Parts of a Cabinet

New cabinet terminology can make shopping difficult. That’s why we put together this cabinet terminology guide. Learn basic cabinetry definitions so you can start creating your dream home.

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#:½” or Traditional OverlayDoor styles that cover ½” of the face frame at the top and bottom, leaving 1¼” of the face frame exposed.
4-Way Adjustable Barrel HingeA barrel hinge is a sectional barrel secured by a pivot. A barrel is a component of a hinge, that has a hollow cylinder-shaped section where the rotational bearing force is applied to the pivot. Wellborn Estate Inset cabinetry offers the option to switch from a concealed hinge to a barrel hinge.
6 -Way Adjustable WellLine® Concealed HingeThe six-way adjustability of this hinge allows you to move the door up and down, left to right or in and out. The hinge is not seen when the door is closed, This hinge is standard in Select Series cabinetry.
A:AccessibleCabinets directed to aid in independent living for people with special needs. The accessible base cabinets are 32 ½” high and have an 8 ½” x 6″ toe kick allowing for wheelchair access.
AccessoriesSupplemental parts of the cabinet referred to as bells and whistles. Any nonessential components such as rollouts, pullouts, tilt-outs, hardware, etc.
Adjustable shelvesMoveable shelves that can be placed in a wide range of layouts using shelf pins inserted into pre-drilled holes.
Air DriedLumber stacked and stored so that it is dried naturally by the exposure to air.
Angled CornerAny cabinet type designed to fit on an end of an upper or lower cabinet creating a fixed angle.
ArchA curved shape similar to an eyebrow, often used on cabinet doors.
B:Base CabinetAny 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.
Bead BoardPanels with vertical grooves to give a decorative appearance. Wellborn’s beadboard panels have a 1 ½” spacing between the beaded grooves.
Blind CornerAny 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.
Blind Mortise and TenonA joinery method for joining two perpendicular cabinet members where the end of one cabinet member is machined on all edges to form a projected tongue (tenon), and the edge on another cabinet member is slotted (mortised).
Bun FootA round decorative furniture foot.
Butt DoorsTwo 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.
BurnishingA technique where the profile edges have been brushed with a dark glaze to create an antiqued effect.
C:CathedralA curved shape similar to church windows, often used on cabinet doors.
Center StileA 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.
Character CherryEmphasized by randomly occurring various sized knots, pitch pockets and small streaks of gum. Cluster knots and open knots could also be a feature. The amount of character will vary from each door making each kitchen unique.
CherryCherry is synonymous with luxury. The rich red highlights give the wood a distinctive appearance. Cherry is a close-grained wood with fairly uniform texture which will occasionally have tiny pin knots, pitch pockets and very small, dark streaks of gum.
Concealed HingeDoor hinges that are attached to the back of the door and to the inside edge of the face frame that is not visible from the outside of the cabinet.
Concealed Two-Way Adjustable HingeConcealed two-way hinge is not seen when cabinet door is closed. It provides side adjustment which regulates the gaps between the cabinet door and cabinet frame perfect parallel alignment.
Cope and TenonA joinery method commonly used for joining two perpendicular members of cabinet door frames. Ends on one member (rails) are machined (coped), to match the profile of the other member (inside stile profiles). The rails also receive a projected tongue (tenon) that fits into the groove in the stiles.
CorbelAn architectural or decorative element used as a support mechanism for mantels, bar tops, shelves etc.
Crown MoldingDecorative molding applied to the top of the upper wall cabinet to provide a finished or decorative look.
D:DadoA machined groove in a flat panel surface made to accept another panel.
Dentil MouldA term used to describe a decorative tooth-like pattern on any trim moulding.
DistressingA technique where small dents, nicks, scratches, etc. are made in the wood to produce an aged look.
DovetailA joinery method used for joining two perpendicular parts, commonly used for making very strong joints in wooden drawer boxes. One part is machined with inverted “V” shaped projections (dovetail profile) and fitted into another part that is machined with the opposite “V” shaped cutouts.
Drawer FrontFinished front panel of a drawer.
Dry BrushingA technique applying a very dark stain to imitate distressing on the surface of the wood.
E:End PanelThe outside vertical cabinet member that supports the horizontal parts. Often referred to as cabinet side panels, sides or ends.
F:Face FrameThe supporting wood frame attached to the front of the cabinet box to give it structural rigidity and provide mounting support for doors and drawers.
FillersFillers are used between kitchen cabinets or near a wall at the end of the cabinets to cover gaps or as a decorative accents. Wellborn offers plain, fluted, corner, rosette or Full Overlay fillers in a variety of our lines.
Fixed shelvesShelves that are constructed into the kitchen cabinet. They cannot be moved and provide added stability to the cabinet.
Flat PanelRecessed center panel to a door or drawer design.
FluteA 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 ConstructionCabinet box that has a face frame. It resembles a flat, empty picture frame attached to the front. Doors are secured to this frame. The frame adds additional strength and rigidity to the overall cabinet.
Frameless ConstructionA cabinet box without a face frame. The full overlay doors attach directly to the inside of the cabinet box. Allows for full access to items and space inside the cabinet.
Full Access Drawer GuideAlso referred to as drawer slides, cabinet drawer glides that allow the drawer to be extended to the back of the drawer.
Full Extension Drawer GuideCabinet drawer glides that allow for the drawer to extend completely outside the cabinet to give access to the full depth of the drawer box.
Full OverlayDoor styles that allow approximately 3/16” of face frame exposed around the sides, tops and bottoms of the doors. Wall cabinets have 7/16” exposed at the tops and bottoms of the doors. Full overlay cabinets are the only doors that can be used in frameless cabinets.
Furniture BoardAn engineered wood board substrate that is manufactured using wood particles, adhesives and resins under extremely high pressure to bond the material together.
G:GlazeAn accent stain that is applied over the entire door and when wiped off leaving a “hang up” of light to dark tones in the corners, deep grooves and wood grains, creating an inconsistent light to dark all over glazed look. Glaze adds depth and dimension that highlights door detail, wood color and the base finish color.
GrainThe appearance, size and direction of the alignment of the fibers of the wood.
H:HardwoodDense, close-grained wood of a tree, such as oak, cherry and maple.
Heirloom TechniqueThe Heirloom Technique consists of small dents, worm holes and burnishing.
HickoryA strong, heavy hardwood known for distinctive graining patterns. Contributing to its dramatic appearance is a wide variation in color and streaking, ranging from white to almost black. This contrast in color can appear in a single door panel. Hickory also contains random knots and wormholes that further contribute to the varied appearance. These exaggerated characteristics are to be expected and are part of the appeal of hickory cabinetry.
HighlightingA technique which removes some of the dark stain between the grain to highlight the base color.
HingesA jointed device which is used to attach a cabinet door to the cabinet. It is attached to the face frame of a framed cabinet or the cabinet side of a frameless cabinet. The hinge allows the door to swing open or closed.
I:InsetA framed cabinet with door and drawer fronts set “inside” of the frame itself. The frame is not covered by any portion of the door and/or drawer. The finished design achieves a high quality, “custom cabinets furniture” look.
K:Kiln–DriedThe process of removing excess moisture from wood to minimize the shrinkage and swelling of wood. All solid woods used in Wellborn cabinets are kiln–dried to remove the moisture to a level appropriate for processing.
KnobA hardware item, typically round, attached to doors and drawers for function and decoration.
KnotA hard node in any wood species where a branch once grew.
L:Light railDecorative moulding usually applied to the bottom of wall cabinets providing a finished look. Specifically designed to help mask the installation of under cabinet lighting.
M:MapleA close-grained hardwood that is predominantly white to creamy white in color, with occasional reddish-brown tones. While maple typically features uniform graining as compared to other wood species, characteristic markings may include bird’s-eye, fiddle back, mineral streaks and curly grain patterns. These traits are natural and serve to enhance maple’s inherent beauty. Maple is a very popular choice for home cabinetry, office cabinetry and flooring.
MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard)A composite wood panel made by reprocessing wood fibers to produce a flat stable panel that can be used in laminating or finishing.
Medium DentsA physical technique of randomly striking the wood surface with a tool to create indentations that mimic the look of aged wood. Medium Dents are larger than Worm Holes and will collect a glaze in varying amounts when applied.
MelamineA slick plastic-like material used to cover a substrate of particleboard or MDF. This material is popular because it is durable and easy to clean.
Mineral StreakA 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.
MiterA joint made by fitting together two angled pieces to form a right angle.
MoldingA strip of material with a profile cut on the facing edges, used for trimming.
MortiseA cavity or hole cut to allow a Tenon to pass through to make a joint.
Mortise and TenonA 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.
MullionThe vertical strip that divides frames, such as with cabinets with more than one door.
Mullion DoorsAlso 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. This type of door creates a more stylish appearance and the feeling of increased space. Clear, smoked, bronzed, opaque or leaded glass inserts (provided by the consumer) can fill these panels for the desired effect.
O:OakWellborn’s Prestige Oak is Live Sawn from the heart of Authentic American red oaks. It features selected subtle uniform grains with straighter grain patterns and limited very narrow cathedrals. Prestige Oak is both durable and lasting.
OgeeAn S shape that is made by making one cut to produce two identical pieces.
OnlayA decoratively carved wood ornament applied to cabinet surfaces. Used to embellish the design. Sometimes referred to as an appliqué.
Overlay Doors/DrawersDoors and drawer fronts that overlap the face frame when closed — either partially or fully. These are the most common style in the U.S.
P:PeninsulaSimilar in design to an island except open on only three sides. Often used in “L” shaped kitchens as serving bars that separate the kitchen from the dining or family room.
PlywoodA construction material made of thin layers of wood glued and pressed together.
PullThe term used to describe the distance a blind wall or blind base cabinet can be moved (or pulled) from the adjacent wall.
Pulls, Knobs and HandlesPieces of hardware attached to a kitchen cabinet door or drawer front, used to open the cabinet and enhance the appearance.
R:RailThe horizontal pieces of frames, such as face frames and door frames. Stiles (the vertical pieces) and rails form the frame and hold the frame and panel together.
Raised PanelA term used to describe a door style where a thick center panel is machined to be flush with the door frame, thus giving the depth appearance by the sloping “raise” of the panel.
RaspingA physical technique using a metal rasp to run over the edges and raised details to mimic severe wear.
Recessed PanelA term used to describe a door style where a thinner panel is inserted into the grooves of the wood door frame that gives a “recessed” appearance, i.e. flat panel.
RevealThe amount of face frame you see around the door and drawer front when the cabinet door and drawer are closed.
Rope MouldingA piece of moulding milled to appear twisted like rope.
RoutTo drill or gouge out an area of wood for decorative or joining purposes.
Rub ThruA sanding technique used to randomly expose an undercoat or natural wood tone of corners and edges.
S:Scribe MouldingA generic piece of moulding, 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.
StainA finish applied to natural wood cabinets to enhance color and add protection.
StileThe vertical pieces of frames, such as face frames and door frames. Stiles and rails (the horizontal pieces) form the frame and hold the frame and panel together.
T:ThermofoilA tough, scratch resistant rigid vinyl that is thermally formed and sealed to MDF to provide a strong, durable surface, resistant to most household wear.
Toe KickA term used to describe the recessed cut out area at the bottom of base, tall and vanity cabinets. It is also referred to as a toe space. Finished material attached to the cabinet toe space is referred to as “Toe Kick” or “Toe Space Cover”.
Traditional OverlayThe cabinet door overlaps the cabinet opening 1/2” on all four sides.
V:ValanceA decorative hardwood panel installed across an open area, generally used above desks or sinks.
VeneerThin sheets of wood which are bonded to a reconstructed wood product.
W:WellLine Six-Way Adjustable, Soft Close HingeThe six-way adjustability allows you to move the door up and down, left to right or in and out. This hinge also incorporates a mechanism that activates when the door is within a few inches of the shut position. It gently closes without a sound. This hinge is standard in Aspire, Estate and the Premier Series.
Wood speciesDifferent types of hardwoods or softwoods. Examples are maple, oak, cherry and hickory.
Worm HolesA physical technique of randomly placing small round holes that mimics the look of insect penetration that occurs naturally in trees and harvested wood. Worm Holes are smaller than Small Dents and will collect a glaze in varying amounts when applied.
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