View Full Version : Wood to use

Greg McCallister
02-23-2008, 9:13 AM
I am contemplating using either white oak or ash for face frames and raised panel doors on kitchen cabinets as these woods are pretty readily available in my area and reasonable in price. Also the better half prefers a light colored wood without any red hues with natural finish. So red oak and cherry are not the preferred natural colors.
How do you feel about either of these woods?
What recommended ply for cases would you use?

Marc Prudhomme
02-23-2008, 10:41 AM
I will keep this post fresh for you because I would like to know the answer to that also.My guess would be cabinet grade plywood for the carcass or MDF.My guess for the face frame and doors would be any wood as long as the finish protects the wood from moisture.I would think that you would want to stay away from pine for obvious reasons.

Brad Ridgway
02-23-2008, 10:58 AM
I think many people are big on Baltic Birch or the Appleply brand as the good quality stuff is flat , void free... But i am not having much luck finding any local retailer who carries either. I'm a bit outside of the Orlando suburbs and driving down there to the local Wouldcraft (who i'm sure could get B/B) is a bit inconvienent. Plus the heat/humity during the drive back in an open trailer scares me. I don't have the space to buy all i need at once either...

I do have a local place that sells 4x8 birch ply which i've used but it's not perfect, some of the top layers have been flaky at best and there are a few voids. For my shop stuff i don't care, but the kitchen is another story...

Anyway i'm struggling on finding the plywood i want.

On the frame, i want something moderately dark. Had been thinking of staining maple (which i can get maple ply at my local place too) and staining them. But i've seen some recent articles / posts where people it's dump to "ruin" maple by staining it darker... I don't think i like the oak grain patterns in a kitchen but that my personal preference i guess...

looking for ward to some reponses too...


Gary Keedwell
02-23-2008, 11:04 AM
I have seen many maple cabinet stained with a light "honey" tone and it looks great. I personally have had two kitchens with maple ,both stained. I have fond memories with ash...I did a fireplace mantle and surround with it. I like the way it machines and it stains nice, too. You don't see it too much in kitchens and I never understood why.


David Freed
02-23-2008, 11:10 AM
I can't answer your question about the cases, but if you want a light colored wood that shows the grain really well, I would choose ash. Ash is much lighter in color than white oak. For two years we used ash to make random length drawer side material for several cabinet shops (we make flooring now). I think it is easier to work with than oak. With a question like this though, if you ask 50 people, you will probably get 25 for ash and 25 for oak. Good luck with your project.

Peter Quinn
02-23-2008, 11:36 AM
I'd look for rift sawn material if you want to go clear white oak for the face frames and doors/panels. Easier to grain match, more nuetral and stable. Quarter sawn is nice if you like the figure. Both are more stable than plain sawn, though I guess any of them will work. They all machine well.

Ash tends towards a palid grey as it ages when finished clear and is never my first choice for anything but secondary wood and wheel barrel handles. Just personal preference.

I like prefinished (A-2) Canadian or USA made 9-ply plywood for carcases, saves a lot of work, may have to track that down at a good plywood seller localy or order it. Wouldn't spend the money on baltic birch except for drawer boxes if those are made of plywood. Veneer species is your choice. Can match the exterior but doesn't have too. Its really your preference.

Hate to say it but melamine/particle board also makes a very servicable interior, requires no finish and comes in lots of colors now. Very good for the under sink cabinet. I know people with paint grade facade/navy blue interiors and it is strikingly beautiful. Stay away from MDF for kitchen cabinet carcases.

If you want a smooth final finish open pored woods like oak and ash require grain filling, so consider that in your equation. Also white oak in my experience tends to finish medium brown even clear coated and darken with age. Maple, alder or birch might be good choices for a very light clear grade facade. Oak and ash take opaque finishes well, letting the grain show through, if you like that style. Allows a light appearance with color you control.

I'd start by milling some samples and putting your intended finish on them to get approval from the BOSS (LOYL). Saves a lot of trouble down the road.

Greg Cuetara
02-23-2008, 12:28 PM
Have you thought about maple or is that too expensive in your area?

Also if you were going to paint the cabinets you could just use poplar for the face frames and mdf for the panels.

Michael Gibbons
02-23-2008, 7:37 PM
I'd suggest maple as thats what I have in my kitchen. Picture wetting a piece of birch plywood and thats what you'd get-sort of. No red hues that I can see but then again I'm slightly color blind.