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Old 03-10-2010, 12:24 PM   #1
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Cabinet Wood Question


I'd love some opinions/feedback in picking a wood for our kitchen remodel. I know this is somewhat a personal preference issue, but I want feedback on what would "work" well in our old house; which is a 1915 Craftsman Bungalow.

The remodeling we've done so far has been very traditional, trying to stay with the original "feel" of the house. Basically, antique chandeliers, clawfoot tub, octagon tiles in the bathroom, pushbutton switches, papered ceilings, etc, etc...

All of the woodwork in the family room and dining room is the original oak trim, stained almost an antique golden oak stain and an almost natural finished oak hardwood floor. The bedrooms, hall and bath have birch or pine trim and built-ins which are painted a bright white. The floors in these rooms are most likely birch, no stain, but medium dark by age.

The kitchen, which can be seen from the front door is currently a mixture of oak trim, stained to match, and some non-oak trim painted white. The doors and drawers will be a shaker style, flush mounted to the face frame. Most likely I'll be building everything as I have the experience and want a lot of custom things done, so the sky is sort of the limit.

The hard part is my wife is not very visual, yet I am. We have a wonderful dark stained quarter sawn oak table, chairs and buffet. I want to use quarter sawn oak for the cabinets and go a hair lighter than the table, but add a hint of red, because she wants them to have a red hue. What she really likes is maple paprika cabinets, which I like as well, but honestly feel would date the house and be too modern.

We went looking today and we kind of settled on cherry, knotty pine, and I'm leaving quarter sawn oak on the table as well. Appliances are stainless, sink is a light golden marble farmhouse sink. Walls are likely going to be painted a very light green or yellow. I'm planning to try building a walnut countertop, which would be very dark and hand planed.

I know I've thrown a bunch out there, but would love feedback if anyone has any....

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Old 03-10-2010, 07:28 PM   #2
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Cabinet Wood Question


I'm with you on the quarter sawn oak--would be in keeping with the age and style of the house.

Cherry,left natural would be a good choice also--nicest wood to work with ,too.

Knotty pine? Wrong style for the house,

You didn't mention your location--I buy hardwoods direct from small mills. The savings and quality are nice.---Mike--

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Old 03-10-2010, 07:29 PM   #3
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I built all the cabinets for my kitchen, which is possibly a little more modern, but not much, than the one you describe. I built the cases out of 3/4 inch maple veneer plywood. The door frames are solid maple, with raised panel doors made of maple (some birdseye, some spalted) with two vertical accent strips of walnut. I built an island top from 8/4 cherry, looks pretty good with the maple cabinets. I built a couple of built in cabinets in one wall out of cherry, again it seems to go well with the maple.

I don't stain any of my pieces, for the kitchen they get polyurethane varnish over Minwax sealer.
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:12 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies, I agree the knotty pine may not be right for the age/style of the house. I've been thinking about it and just can't see it in the house. Hadn't really thought about the cherry natural, was thinking a little deeper/darker color. Hmm...

I was looking at the lumber yard the other day and saw some birch ply, that I thought would look nice for the interior of the box's. I think it'll tie them into the floors in the rest of the house. I know maple is the standard, but again, I want a less modern look. Not sure what I'll build the drawers out of, but suppose I should use whatever I use for the interior of the boxes.

Location is south central Kansas.
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Old 03-12-2010, 05:57 AM   #5
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I did a Crafstman style kitchen like you describe with hickory. It contrasted nicely with the oak trim blended beautifully with the countertops and stainless steel appliances and seemed to fit the house. Otherwise I would stick with oak and focus on the design elements, door pulls and so forth.
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:51 AM   #6
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There are a lot of small mills cutting all of the hardwoods that you are considering.

Google sawmills-Missouri-Kansas-or check the sites here--The Forestry Forum - Index Nelsonwoodworks.biz - Home Just a suggestion--

A big project like that sounds like fun.---Mike---
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:11 AM   #7
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sdsester, I thought about hickory, but from what I recall it is a tough wood to work with. Maybe we'll have to go take another look and add Hickory back into the mix and take out the knotty pine and show see what the wife thinks. I also want to have her re-look at the natural cherry.

Mike, thanks for the tip on the sawmills. I had done a bit of searching around town, but was starting to think I'd have to settle for buying from a big box store. They can get it, but I'm sure there is a hefty markup as well...
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:36 AM   #8
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Hickory would be awesome . . . but, yes, it's tougher - tougher means more durable, though, which is always a perk. Especially for an abusive cook like me

Knotty pine - I can actually see that working. People tend to associate knotted woods with age or old fashioned - if you give it a dark or medium tone you can blend it in very well. I think it would be great.

I would only use oak and lesser-grained/knotted pieces if you already have it in your home in a considerable amount - thus, it wouldn't seem out of place.
The downside to Oak is that it has been used as a base for laminates and imitation-woods for so long that people look at it and might even mistake it for poor quality or cheap, which isn't what you want.
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:42 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Master Brian View Post
sdsester, I thought about hickory, but from what I recall it is a tough wood to work with. Maybe we'll have to go take another look and add Hickory back into the mix and take out the knotty pine and show see what the wife thinks. I also want to have her re-look at the natural cherry.
I didn't build the cabinets so cannot address this issue other than to say I don't remember the cabinetmaker screaming at all with hickory assignment. I suspect he did need good, sharp carbide or diamond tipped blades and had to pre-drill everything? Here is a hardness scale I found that might help you decide on what you are willing to work with?

http://tinytimbers.com/janka.htm

I am having trouble envisioning stained pine, "naughty" or otherwise, in a Craftsman style home with everything else hardwood. I have never seen pine cabinets that were not painted in any of the antique homes I have ever taken on. Usually pine shows up in the upper stories and non-public spaces of the oldies but goodies I work on most. Again, I seldom find it stained though.

I agree with Snav that oak has been overused but it is still a nice wood if the cabinet fronts are nicely designed. The point about all kinds of faux oak is worth considering though.

Do you have a real wood worker supply place near you where you can see raw wood not yet stained or turned into cabinets? Worth a trip to such a place if you have time. Bring a wet finger to see what the wood might look like even before you thought of staining it. Then as suggested, get your material from a mill or slip the place you just checked out the business if you are going to make things yourself.

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