Cabinetry Wood Species Awareness

Wood Species Awareness

At Drexel we feel it is important to educate our clients on the characteristics of the different wood species.  Below we have outlined the different characteristics and we included a link that features images of those different characteristics.    Understanding the beauty of wood, but also it’s unique qualities is important to ensure all of your expectations are meet as we proceed with your cabinetry project.

Maple Wood Species (Hard & Soft)

Maple is a premium hardwood known for its creamy white color, smooth texture, and uniform grain. Color is consistent overall but may exhibit subtle variations from creamy white, light pink , to a light tan. Worm tracks and mineral streaks (dark mineral deposits absorbed from the soil in which the tree grew) are naturally occurring characteristics. Maple contains a natural resin that causes the wood to turn amber as it accelerated by exposure to natural light. Maple hardwoods have varying areas of density that will absorb stain differently, creating a mottled appearance with darker stain colors (therefore lighter stain colors are recommended). Over time and with exposure to sunlight, maple will darken (mellow) and slightly yellow at it ages.

Hardness(Janka): 1450


Oak Wood Species (Red, White, Quarter Sawn)

Oak is a  hardwood recognized for its prominent grain pattern and texture which will vary from a tight, straight grain to a distinctive arched pattern. Natural occurring color variation includes light tan and pink to medium dark red and brown with occasional green,yellow and black mineral streaks. Occasional pin  knots and mineral streaks may also occur. These characteristics are more prominent in natural and lighter stain finishes. Oak is  most often selected with a stained finish, but when ordered with a painted finish, the texture of the grain is evident.

Hardness(Janka): 1290


Cherry Wood Species (Standard & Premium)

Cherry is a premium hardwood admired for its rich, beautiful color, satiny smooth texture and flowing grain pattern. Color ranges from red to brown to vanilla. Small mineral streaks, pitch pockets and sap wood will occur naturally and are part of the distinctive nature of this wood species. Cherry may show some burling or darker areas when stained, due to a higher absorption rate at the burls. Over time and with exposure to light, cherry will noticeably darken(mellow) in color. Excessive exposure to direct sunlight will emphasize this natural wood characteristic.

Hardness(Janka): 2350


Hickory Wood Species

Hickory hardwood is known for its prominent grain and dramatic color variation which can range from creamy white to dark brown/black within the same panel. This color variation is characteristic of the species and is completely random. Mineral streaks, pin holes, and dark brown, sound knots are prevalent in this exceptionally dense and strong hardwood Drexel recommends viewing several samples to become familiar with the wide variation in color and grain that will be present in a cabinet order. These characteristics are acceptable and not considered warranty defects.

Hardness(Janka): 1820


Alder Wood Species (Clear, Knotty, Rustic)

Knotty Alder is a smooth hardwood with a straight grain pattern and coloring similar to cherry, ranging from a light honey color to a reddish-brown hue. Because of the prevalence of knots, it is appreciated for its rustic, informal appearance. Knots will vary in size and distribution and will include tight, sound knots as rustic, open and split knots. Some knots may have open cracks that allow light to show through. Alder may have some areas of burled wood which will appear darker when stained over time and with exposure to sunlight, Alder will actually become a shade lighter (mellowing) in color as the wood ages. As one of the softest hardwoods, alder can easily be dented or scratched. These characteristics are not considered warranty defects.

Hardness(Janka): 590


Painted Fininshes

Painted finishes offer a classic look for cabinetry.  As a natural element, wood is in a constant state of expansion and contraction.  This movement can cause small, hairline cracks in the wood joints of face frames and door/drawer fronts and will be most noticeable in winter months.  These are normal and will not affect the integrity of the cabinet or finish.  Some of the wood grain pattern and wood characteristics (mineral streaks, pitch pockets, checks and pin knots) as well as seams and joints will remain visible through the painted finish.   The color mellows slightly with age; this is affected by exposure to natural and artificial light.  These characteristics are normal and not considered warranty defects.  


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