Unique Kitchen Designs Inc.
Some commonly referenced cabinet terms include:
Door Overlays : This term refers to the amount of cabinet door (and drawer front) that overlays (or hangs over) the cabinet front frame. This dimension is often measured from the hinged, outside edge of the door to the innermost edge of the cabinet front frame.
Partial Overlay : Door styles with partial overlays will overhang the front frame by 5/16", leaving 1-3/16" of framing exposed. If two cabinets are installed next to each other, there will be a 2-3/8" gap between door edges. The partial overlay door style is a more old-world, conservative method of building cabinet doors.
Inset : Door styles sold are considered inset door styles. The cabinet door is actually set inside the front frame opening making the outer surface plane of the door flush with the cabinet front frame. Unique hinges are required to make inset styled doors operate. Our inset series of product features a 1/8" gap between the door outer edge and the inside edge of the front frame. Inset door styles result in a very strong Mission or Shaker style of kitchen.
Raised Center Panels : The most popular choice for a center panel is the raised center panel. Raised center panels are made by using solid strips of edge-glued lumber to form a thick, heavy, beefy center to a cabinet door. The edges of this center panel are then profiled, or cut, in a variety of shapes to call more attention to the door. The weight of the solid center panel also adds a high-quality feel to the cabinet door during operation. Raised center panels provide a rich, traditional look to many cabinet door styles.
Reversed-Raised Center Panels : This style of center panel is a combination of the above two. A solid, edge-glued lumber board is used to make the center panel of the door. Prior to door assembly, the panel is reversed, so what would typically be the back side of the panel is now displayed on the door front. Reversing the panel provides the more simple and transitional look that is very popular today, while maintaining the solid wood look and feel that is also in high demand.
Mullion, Cut-out, Prairie, Lattice, and Transom Doors: These unique doors are made without center panels and are designed to have glass installed so an interior view of the cabinet is possible. Often used on cabinets with finished interiors, these doors feature differing grid patterns designed to accentuate the kitchen design theme.
Door Stylings : Door styles typically refer to the method used to manufacture the cabinet door. Typically there are three methods of door construction. Doors are clamped and glued under pressure in all methods.
Mortise and Tenon :
This method, by far the most popular, results in the cabinet door having a vertical glue line where the door rail (the horizontal piece) and the stile (the vertical piece) meet. Haas mortise and tenon doors allow the choice of a variety of edge profiles on the outer perimeter of the door. Various widths of door framing are also possible using this method of construction.
A mitered door is very similar to a picture frame where the glue joint is on a 45-degree angle to the cabinet. This method of assembly allows the use of a variety of custom moldings in the manufacturing of the door, providing a wide range of cabinet styling to fit your tastes. Depending on the molding used, these doors can run from a very simple, plain style to elaborate and detailed.
Applied molding :
An applied molding construction method combines the two methods described above. The door is assembled using a typical mortise and tenon technique. After assembly, a mitered, picture-framed piece is laid on top of the door, covering the perimeter of the raised panel area. This framework is then glued and pinned onto the door. This style of door allows for a choice of edge profiles to further customize the door to your tastes while the added framework adds a lot of depth and richness to the appearance of the door.
Edge Profiles :
Edge profiles refer to the shape or profile that is cut onto the outer perimeter of the door. The profile you choose to put on the door will help determine the style of your kitchen cabinets.
Drawer Fronts :
Slab, 5-piece or 3-piece. A slab style drawer front refers to the drawer front being made from one block of solid wood with the edges profiled to match the door. A 5-piece drawer front is made to look like a short cabinet door. The 3-piece drawer front uses vertical running grain pieces on each end with horizontal grained center piece, with the edges of the drawer front matching the door. Your choice depends on your tastes and the style you are trying to achieve. Functionally, the three styles work the same.
Listed below are some terms associated with cabinet finishes.
Paints are applied directly onto wood (typically maple or oak) and contain a lot of pigment. This pigment completely hides the color associated with the wood, but will allow some wood grain patterns to show through. Painting wood is not like painting plastic or metal. The wood underneath the paint will still shrink and expand due to moisture. Painted wood products will probably develop hairline cracks along many of the construction joints found on door and face frames.
A variety of stain colors are available ranging from natural to very dark. The darker the finish, the more wood grain and wood color variations will be hidden from appearance. Dark stains will cover up wood characteristics, as well. Some consumers love wood characteristics while others would like them minimized as much as possible. Many dark stains are applied using a two-pass process where two different stains are wiped onto the product in order to achieve the desired look.
Glazes are a high-pigment, deep-colored material that is applied directly onto the edges and corners of products. These glazes are used to develop a strong, two-toned look and tend to stay where they are applied in a sharp line offering an appealing, contrasting color to the paint or stain underneath.
Highlights are similar to glazes because they are used to attain the two-toned appearance. Highlights tend to “run” more than glazes and will appear to feather into the finish more than a glaze. Highlights are also available on either painted or stained finishes.
Topcoat/Clear Coat. All stained and painted product have a clear material sprayed over the entire surface once the color is set. This clear material is often called a topcoat and is what provides the cabinet finish with durability. Cabinet manufacturers uses a UV-cured method of applying topcoat to most stained products. A conversion (chemically activated) varnish is used on painted and certain opaque finishes due to their chemical makeup.
These features are designed to provide different levels of a worn or used look to stained or painted products. These distressed areas are done manually and do not effect the durability or structural integrity of the product.
Maple : Maple is a strong, closed-grain wood that is predominantly white to off-white in color with some small amount of tan or darker mineral streaking possible. Maple is harvested from forests in the Midwest, as well as Pennsylvania.
Oak: Red oak is typically used ,it is harvested and processed from forests in the Midwest of the U.S. Red oak is a strong, open-grained wood that takes many different colors of stain extremely well.
Cherry : This elegant, multi-colored wood has a predominantly pink to pink-reddish tone. Cherry will darken and mellow with age, most noticeably on more lightly stained cabinets or cabinets exposed to excessive sunlight. A rustic version of cherry is also available that contains larger knots and more color variation. Cherry is considered by many to be the most prized cabinetry wood grown in America
Hickory: Hickory has been a popular choice for an open-grained wood alternative to red oak and preferred by consumers who love “real wood”. Haas uses hickory lumber from managed forests in the Midwest region of the U.S. Hickory is known for its wide variation of color, ranging from almost white to a deep brown. Darker stains will help to tone down this color range, but will not completely eliminate its variation. Rustic versions of hickory are also available that include more mineral streaks and knots.
CABINET CONSTRUCTION :
American cabinet manufacturers typically assemble kitchen cabinets using one of two assembly methods: framed and frameless.
Framed Cabinet Construction: This method of cabinet assembly features a solid wood frame around the front perimeter of the cabinet. This frame provides a solid base for hinged doors to be mounted as well as a base for cabinet ends and tops/bottoms to be attached. This is the most typical method of cabinet construction and is the easiest for installation.
Frameless Cabinet Construction:
Popularized in Europe, this method of construction involves thicker end panels and cabinet tops and bottoms than framed cabinetry. These thicker panels are generally doweled together and provide a mounting point for the hinges for doors.
Manufacturing Cost Points:
Typically cabinet manufacturers fall into one or more of three unique classifications depending on the overall selling cost and features associated with their products.
Stock : Stock cabinets are generally lower priced with fewer choices of door styles and finishes. Extra features are usually kept to a minimum to lower manufacturing costs. Stock cabinets are also often inventoried at a cabinet dealership for quick delivery to clients. However, inventorying products can lead to severe restrictions on colors and door styles available. Very limited size modifications may be available for a fee on stock cabinets. Stock cabinets are generally available for immediate installation or have very short lead times (1 to 2 weeks).
Semi-custom: Manufacturers who are considered semi-custom usually offer a large variety of door styles, wood species, and finishes. Variations of standard features are also available on semi-custom cabinetry. Typically the width, height, and depth of semi-custom cabinets can be modified if needed and a large group of accessories is usually available to fit a variety of consumer requests. Semi-custom cabinets have a slightly longer lead time than stock, usually running 4 to 6 weeks between order and delivery.
Custom: Custom manufacturers typically build their products one kitchen at a time. Custom-built products usually have the largest variety of door styles and some will even match finishes on their products to whatever finish you desire. Custom cabinets are typically built to whatever sizes are needed for your installation. Because of this variation, custom cabinets usually have very long lead time, sometimes 6 weeks or more, and cost more than typical cabinets.
Veneers: A veneer is a thin piece of wood (usually 1/32") that is sliced or otherwise cut from a log. This wood is then glued over a substrate (particleboard or plywood) so that it can effectively be used in cabinet construction. Typically veneered products are made of better grades of lumber but, since the lumber can produce an incredible amount of surface area, generally veneers can significantly lower the cost of cabinets material.
Particleboard: The “ultimate” recycled product, particleboard consists of wood chips pressed together and glued under pressure. The resulting board is then, typically, covered with a melamine or wood veneer material to enhance the appearance and is used in a variety of situations for cabinet manufacturing.
Plywood: Plywood is made by slicing lumber into thin (1/16"–1/8") sheets and then laminating them on top of each other until the desired final thickness is met. The resulting product is often much stronger and resistant to fracturing than solid wood of a comparable thickness. Most plywood is covered with a melamine or wood veneer and is used in a variety of situations for cabinet manufacturing.
Melamine Laminate: This is the material used to cover the interior surfaces of most base and wall cabinets. This material is chemically fused to the substrate and provides a durable, easy-to-clean surface.