The best wood for cabinetry is widely considered either red oak, poplar, maple, mahogany, or plywood. Which solid wood type is best for a specific project depends on budget, if the cabinetry will be painted, and personal preference.
Everyone wants to know that the home improvements they’re making are durable and add real value to the property. So what is the best wood for your cabinets, drawer boxes, and cabinet doors?
Best Wood For Cabinetry
Cherry, Maple, Ash, Hickory & Oak
Birch, Beech, White Oak, & Red Oak
Walnut & Mahogany
Spruce, Pine, & Fir Softwoods
Best Wood For Painted Cabinets
Wood Grain Paint Challenges
Best Wood For Painted Cupboards
Order Cabinet Drawers
Read about each of the different types of wood in this article to judge for yourself which wood type you want for your cabinet doors, cabinet drawers, and home.
Best Wood For Cabinetry
Your bathroom and kitchen are focal points in your home. That means that your cabinets need to be durable, functional, and attractive quality materials. Boxed or prefabricated cabinets are built using low grade, thin materials that are overlaid with a wood veneer. Cabinets are built using hardwood solids and plywood, and both materials will matter when you are picking what is best.
Cherry, Maple, Ash, Hickory and Oak
Cabinet doors and face frames are often made from solid hardwoods. Wood species such as hickory, maple or beech will resist scratching and denting at a higher degree when compared to other softer species like walnut, alder or mahogany, but they will also cost more.
Hickory and maple for example are two of the hardest wood species that are used for cabinets and are normally more expensive than softer woods like ash or oak. Although imported or exotic species no matter what the density is will normally cost more than domestic hardwoods.
Other exceptions do include domestic hardwoods that are trendy. Cherry for instance, because of the subtle, intricate grain pattern and warm rich color is considered a luxury wood. It will normally demand a higher price than other domestic woods.
Birch, Beech and White or Red Oak
One of the most commonly used hardwoods by cabinetmakers is medium priced red oak that has arched or complex flame grain patterns. White oak has straighter grains but it will cost more than red oak.
Other types of domestic species include beech woods that have straight graining and birch that has streak and bands of brown will be priced lower than beech because of the availability and the lost cost of birch plywood.
Walnut and Mahogany
Other types of commonly used hardwoods are the rich and dark brown walnuts and the straight grained red mahogany. Mahogany gives warmth while walnut, which is similar in cost and hardness to mahogany, happens to add elegance to cabinets.
Other wood species can be stained to match existing colors that are in the home, although some will react to staining better than other wood. Ash, pine, and oak absorb stains evenly. While Birch and maple can blotch if not prepared for stain. Walnut and cherry which are known for their colors, are better left as is.
Spruce, Pine and Fir Softwoods
Cone bearing evergreen trees provide softwoods, which are normally used for structural purposes. Whenever it is used for cabinets, softwood like pine will give a certain look to cabins, cottages, lodges and country settings with the knotty character and soft tones of amber.
Other softwoods like spruce and fir will be straight grained but they are tougher and harder than pine. These are normally used for utility or economy applications such as in shops or garages.
Cabinet Grade Plywood
Plywood is a glued and laminated wood that is engineered and overlaid with hardwood veneer and is normally less than 1/16 inch. The appearance of this is the only difference when it comes to comparing grades which is important for determining cost and quality. Plywood that is designated AA or premium will be the most expensive. It is often called one piece faced, the veneer is rotary cut in a single piece to keep it from splicing.
Grade A plywood is a bit cheaper than AA and the veneer is spliced side by side and color matched to give it consistency. Grades B, C, D, and E will be less expensive and will be lower grade in appearance with each lower level having inconsistent colors or additional streaks. Shop grade or economy plywood is the cheapest and it has allowed damage or defects. At least 85% of shop grade plywood is normally usable with a good cabinet maker that can work around the defects.
What is the best wood for painted cabinets?
Similarly, as any craftsman needs to choose what medium to utilize, woodworkers must choose what wood to work with. The appearance, shading, cost, planned utilize, workability, and maturing conduct are for the most part contemplations.
In any case, so is a wood’s paintability or capacity to take a stain. In the event that recoloring, you need to know how the wood grain will show and how the wood shading influences the shade of the stain. Here’s a snappy guide from the Pros who’ve addressed the inquiry, “What’s the best wood for painted cupboards?”
Wood Grain Paint Challenges
Paint-review wood has a tendency to be of the more tightly grained assortments, for example, hard maple, soft maple, pine, and poplar, among others. Open grain wood has a rougher look and likely needs filler to look great when painted. It’s best to work out of tight-grain woods to keep away from this.
Poplar and delicate maple are well known for most parts of a bureau—confront outlines, end edges, and entryway boards—for the most part because of cost and workability. In any case, a few craftsmen find that poplar marks effectively. It can likewise ingest the principal layer of paint rapidly.
A portion of the other tight-grain woods are somewhat less demanding to work with, yet their accessibility or cost isn’t viewed as a sufficient exchange off. Hard maple can be another great decision, despite the fact that it can move marginally more than different woods with changes in stickiness.
MDF can be utilized for face and end outlines. A few woodworkers utilize it for entryway boards, yet it can be dubious to wrap up. Along these lines, other wood assortments are regularly utilized for rails and stiles. MDF stays prominent as it is steady and hence useful for bigger pieces. Birch plywood or prefinished plywood is another possibility for these more drawn out segments.
So what’s the best wood for painted cupboards?
Similarly, as with most things, you won’t discover any deficiency of assessments, however there seems to be some expansive concession to when the best sorts of wood are for painted cupboards. Tight-grained woods that are workable and solid remain a prevalent decision. Whatever material you pick; the staggering understanding is to set up the wood’s surface first. Utilize filler if necessary, shellac on hitches so they don’t seep through, and be sure to sand over any sharp corner that may not hold the paint. Below is a fast breakdown of the forested areas commonly found in cupboards:
Hard Maple: light, dense. Grain: stainable, close grained, and fine textured
Hickory: durable, hard, and strong; white to reddish brown. Grain: coarse and straight
Cherry: Moderately heavy, strong, and hard; sands smooth. Grain: red and finishes beautifully
Soft Maple: strong, hard, and medium density; paint grade. Grain: fine textured, close grained
Mahogany: varies in color between medium red to reddish brown. Grain: medium coarse texture, straight to interlocked grain
Beech: heavy, medium to hard, pale colored; stains and polishes well. Grain: tight and fine. Similar to birch and maple
Alder: Reddish brown color, easily dented. Grain: straight grain, even texture
Red Oak: heavy, very hard, and strong. Grain: coarse texture with easy sanding and finishing
Red Birch: red in color softer than red oak. Grain: tight grain, easy to finish
Douglas Fir: light rosy color that will redden. Grain: tight knotted and close grained
White Oak: light to dark brown in color, heavy and hard. Grain: straight grained with medium to coarse texture
Knotty Pine: lightweight with tight and small knots. Grain: straight with an even, fine texture
High Quality Cabinet Drawer Boxes
If you’re looking for the best quality cabinet drawer boxes at the best prices there isn’t a better source than Drawer Connection. We give you your choice of wood and only source the highest quality raw materials. All of our fabrication is high precision and made to last. Whether you’re choosing a solid wood with a dovetail joint or a melamine with a dowel joint, every single drawer box is built to last!