J&J Builders Blog

Considering a Wood Species for Your Cabinets

Selecting a wood species for your cabinets is an important decision.  Consider the unique characteristics of the most common wood species as they vary in color, texture, and grain.   Do I want an uneven textured straight grain with a distinctive pattern such as Oak?  Would I like the coarse, straight grain of Hickory known for its stark contrasts and mineral streaks? Each of the Hardwood’s listed below have different and unique qualities.  They vary in color, texture (appearance), and grain (longitudinal arrangement of wood fibers or “pattern”).

Wood Species

Alder wood has a light honey to reddish brown color.  Over time this wood will slowly turn lighter as a natural characteristic of this wood.  It is a soft, light wood with an even texture with random knots and rays and has a straight, fine grain.

Oak wood may vary in color from light to dark – even from the same tree.  It boasts creamy white to light brown with reddish hues and may take on more amber tones over time.  Oak has an uneven texture with a distinctive grain pattern.

Cherry wood has a rich beautiful reddish brown with areas of a light creamy color that darkens with age and sun exposure.  Cherry has a smooth texture with a uniform straight grain.  It may also show some pin knots, gum pockets or streaks.

Maple wood shows us a white/creamy white color with reddish or golden hues.  It is the most popular hardwood and is not recommended for darker stains.  Maple wood shows us a fine uniform texture with a smooth patterned straight grain.  Maple will naturally darken over time.

Walnut wood brags beautiful warm rich colors ranging from deep chocolate to light reddish-gray browns with some blonde or yellow as well.  It tends to lighten over time and has a smooth texture with a straight grain that sometimes shows waves or curves.

Birch wood is similar to Maple but is not as consistent in color.  Colors are pale white to reddish-brown or yellow.  This medium hardwood accepts stain unevenly and is not recommended for darker stains.  It has a fine, wavy pattern with a straight grain.

Hickory wood enjoys its stark contrasts in color.  The sapwood is white to cream colored while the heartwood is tan or reddish brown.  Knots and streaks are not uncommon in the rustic appearance of cabinetry.  Hickory has a coarse and straight grain and will finish to a lustrous shine.

So be sure to consider the color, texture, and grain when choosing wood for your new home or remodel project.  We at J&J Builders have a passion for cabinetry as well as home building.  We use top quality products to create durable and beautiful cabinetry.  We look forward to helping in any way we can.

Please see our gallery page to view projects using various wood species.

When details matter.