Kitchen remodeling 101

A comprehensive list of commonly used cabinet terms

While learning about our products, you may come across a term that you do not recognize.  
We've put together a list of common terms and pictures to help you better understand kitchen and bathroom cabinets

General Cabinet Terms

Cabinet Box: The main wood structure that makes up the basic structure of your cabinets.

Cabinet Face:  The front of your cabinet where doors attach.  Sometimes also referred to as the Face Frame.

Face Frame: The front outside frame attached to the Cabinet Box that looks like a picture frame. This is where the cabinet doors attach.

Frameless: A cabinet box that does not use a face frame. Instead of mounting doors to the face frame, frameless construction uses concealed hinges. Often referred to as European cabinets.

Reveal: The amount of face Frame you see around the door and drawer fronts when they are closed.

Rails: Horizontal pieces of wood in the face frame and cabinet doors.

Stiles: Vertical pieces of wood in the face frame and cabinet doors.

Side Panels: Sides of the cabinet box connecting the back to the face frame.  Sometimes has decorative doors attached.

Cabinet Run: A series of cabinets screwed together along a wall.

End Panel: A panel used at the end of a cabinet run, such as a refrigerator End Panel or Dishwasher End Panel, that extends to the wall.  Used to hide the end of an appliance or support a countertop.

Miter: Also known as a miter joint, is a joint made by cutting two pieces, usually at 45°, to form a right angle when joined together. 
This joint is susceptible to cracking when painted.

Cope &Stick: Referred to as "Standard" on our site.  The most common type of cabinet door joint used to join the Rail and Stile.  Unlike the Miter Joint, this joint rarely cracks when painted, therefore it is the preferred joint type of painted finishes.

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Material types, styles and finishes

Shaker: One of the most popular cabinet door styles today. It has simple, square rails and stiles and a recessed panel. More commonly painted.

Recessed Panel: The center panel of the door or drawer front is recessed or inset.  Most common on Shaker style doors.

Raised Panel: The center panel of the door or drawer front is raised and commonly has a decorative edge giving the door or drawer front a more detailed look.

Bead Board: Decorative wood center panel style with evenly-spaced grooves. Often paired with the squared off rails and stiles that are featured in Shaker. Great for a classic farmhouse look.

Select Grade: Highest quality cabinet door wood. Select-grade is blemish free and perfect for staining or clear coating.

Paint Grade: Cabinet door wood that has minor color blemishes or uses MDF center panels, such as Shaker doors and is not suitable for staining.  A less expensive alternative to Select-Grade and is the preferred wood type when painting your cabinets. 

Rustic or Knotty Wood: Cabinet wood with wood knots and heavy grain.  Referred to as "Knotty" on our site.  Also commonly referred to as Rustic wood.  We currently offer Knotty Alder, Hickory, Maple and Oak.

Stain: Stains are used to add color and bring out the natural beauty of our cabinet doors.

Paint: Never use lacquer to finish your cabinets.  Even the newer Tinted Lacquers become yellow and brittle after just a few years.  We recommend Sherwin Williams Extreme Bond Primer and Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel for a durable finish that will last for many years and not yellow.

Alder:  Light brown and reddish undertones.  Similar grain characteristics to Cherry. Soft wood that can dent and mar easily.

Cherry: Fine-grained hardwood with pink undertones often finished with a medium to dark finishes to enhance it mahogany-red tones. Its rich coloring darkens with age and exposure to light.  Resistant to warping.

Hickory: Dramatic wood colors with colors ranging from blonde or white to reddish-brown and dark brown are common.  Extremely strong and hard wood.

Maple: Smooth, even and fine grains allow for easy staining and make this wood one of the most commonly used in cabinet making.  Medium to hard wood.

Oak: Very hard, heavy, open-grained wood. It's coarse grains are easily stained.

MDF: Medium-density Fiberboard is essentially sawdust and glue fused together with pressure and heat to make perfectly smooth material perfect for painting.  Most cabinet doors and drawer fronts that are painted will have a MDF center panel with solid wood rails and stiles.


Miter Saw: Power Miter Saw, also known as a miter box or chop saw, is a power tool used to make crosscuts and miters.

Brad Nailer: A finish nailer, topically 18 gauge, used to nail different pieces of wood together such as toe kick and crown molding.

Pin Nailer: A finish nailer for attaching trim and molding where strength is secondary to ascetics. The 23 gauge pin nail does not have a head and therefore leaves an almost invisible hole.  Used on delicate moldings.

Compressor: An electric pump attached to a tank that holds compressed air.  The air is then fed to tools, such as Brad Nailers or Pin Nailers via an air hose.

Table Saw: A power saw used to cut or "rip" large pieces of wood, usually less than 1" thick, into smaller pieces.  Commonly used to cut full sheets of plywood into smaller pieces.

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