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Lakeville's Glossary of Cabinetry Related Terms

Backsplash? Laminate? Tenon? Dove Tail? Particle Board? Inset? Overlay? Here's What it All Means:

Manufacturing Terminology

Arch: Door style with an arched top on the wall cabinet doors.

Backsplash: A backsplash is a vertical extension to a kitchen or bathroom counter.  The backsplash, which is generally made from tile, or other materials such as Granite, Corian, Silestone or stainless steel, is used to protects the wall from unintended splashes of water

Bead board: Distinctive grooved surfaces of parallel beaded panels (usually vertical) to give the cabinet added style and texture

Beaded Door: Beaded styling as mentioned above, on the cabinet door, typically in the recessed panel of the door if in this style.

Carcass: The cabinet box itself

Cathedral: Door style with a uniquely curved top on the wall cabinet doors.

Checking: Separation in wood or shallow crack in paint, varnish, or lacquer; usually happens to exposed, unprotected lumber that is subjected to severe conditions of moisture or dryness.

Concealed Hinge: A hinge that is attached to the inside of the cabinet door, and often recessed into the inside panel, so that it is out of site

Custom Cabinetry: You truly get the cabinet style and design and suits you and your tastes. With custom cabinets you are able to choose from a wide selection for wood types, cabinet shapes, sizes, glaze, finishes, hardware, decorative extras and more. This is also often the most expensive option when it comes to cabinetry.

Dado: A groove cut into a piece of wood that allows another piece to slide into it at a 90° angle (Right angle), for a tighter fit. This joint is great for shelves within a cabinet box.

Dove Tail: A highly effective way to join two pieces of wood at a 90° angle (Right angle) without requiring screws but still providing superior strength, as well as an aesthetic pattern created by the joint. The male end of the board has multiple pins created by removing surrounding material, while the female board has a series of tails cut into it. The two are then joined together in an interlocking fashion.

Drawer Bottom: The inside, bottom piece of cabinet drawers box.

Drawer Front/ Face: The wood or thermofoil front panel of the drawer box that coordinates with the door style and where the handle is attached.

Drawer Guides: The hardware installed on drawers that supports the gliding motion of the drawer. The specific drawer guide used varies depending the drawer construction selected.

End Panel: The wood panel on the outside (left or right side) of a base cabinet.

Engineered Wood: This is not natural, or naturally occurring wood. This is wood, or wood composite that is enhanced for better structural purposes. It is also environmentally friendly since oftentimes it is created from the leftovers, and smaller, unusable pieces of other types of wood. Examples of engineered wood include particle board, and MDF.

Exposed Hinge: A hinge that is visable on the outer edge when the cabinet door is closed

Face Frame: This is the outer frame that is attached to the front side of the top, bottom and side of the cabinet box. This improves the overall stability of the box.

Filler: A piece used to fill any gaps in cabinetry design that is not filled by cabinets to make the design fit the room precisely.

Finish: The final layer of wax, glaze or shellac, applied to the surface to lock in color and provide protection. The protection helps sustain the cabinet's overall beauty and protects from damage and other normal wear and tear

Flat Panel: Consists of a door or drawer where the center portion of the panel is recessed or indented. The recessed panel can have multiple styles and shapes

Framed Cabinets: One of the two standard cabinet design styles. This style incorporates a frame around the front side of the cabinet box. This is the most common design and is also the most sturdy.

Frameless Cabinets: Sometimes known as European style cabinets. With Frameless cabinets, there are no obstructions on the front side of the cabinet box allowing for greater room for storage. These usually require full overlay cabinet doors so as to cover the edges of the cabinet box.

Full Inset: Doors and drawers that are designed to fit within the inside edge lines of the faced frame opening. The outer edges of the doors and drawers will be flush with the face frame edges.

Full Overlay: This is a door type that covers the majority of the front of the cabinet box. The full overlay style is most common in frameless cabinets.

Glaze: An artistic application of an accent color to enhance the detail of a cabinet unique style. Glazes come in a variety of colors and finish types used to change the overall appearance of the wood material. However, they designed to enhance and highlight the wood's natural properties.

Grain: Natural pattern of growth in wood; the grain runs lengthwise of the trees, therefore, the strength is the greatest in that direction.

Hardwood: Wood of broad-leaved trees; oak, maple, ash, walnut, poplar; contrasted to the soft wood of the needle-leaved trees: pine, fir, spruce, hemlock.

Heartwood: Older, harder non-living central portion of the tree, denser, and more durable than surrounding sapwood.

Knotholes: Voids produced where knots have dropped out of veneer or lumber.

Laminate: To bind together a series of layers of wood, plastic, or other material; as a noun, a piece made of layers of wood, plastic, or other material, bonded together by gluing or other process.

MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) : This is an engineered or manufactured wood product created from tiny wood particles combined with a bonding agent such as glue or resin, and molded into large sheets in a variety of sizes and shapes. The smaller wood particles that make up MDF make it easier to shape and work with compared to particle board which is made of larger wood particles. MDF commonly serves as the core material of the cabinet and is covered with laminate, thermofoil or melamine.

Melamine: A popular plastic sheet material that is easily cleaned and is used to cover the door and drawer surfaces special in kitchens. It is adhered to the core of the cabinet which typically consists of particle board, or MDF.

Mineral Streaks: Olive, black or brown discoloration of wood, caused by oxidation and other chemical changes.

Mitered: A joint made by cutting the frame of a cabinet door at an angle and fitting the pieces together.

Modified full overlay: Doors are sized to almost touch, reducing the appearance of the front frame, while adding a mounting surface to the top of every cabinet for trim.

Mullion: Vertical division of a double width window; the intermediate vertical frame member of a two or three door cabinet.

Mullion Doors: Cabinet doors containing a glass panel in their center panel.

Overlay: A term to describe the amount of face frame area covered by the front of a drawer, or door

Partial Overlay: Doors and drawers that cover only a portion of the overall frame. Good option to highlight the outer frame of the cabinet box since it will be visible when the doors and drawers are fully closed.

Particle Board: An engineered or manufactured wood product composed of small pieces of wood bonded together with glue or resin. This is the least costly solution for the core of a cabinet and is of the lowest quality when compared to plywood or MDF.

Rail: Horizontal pieces of wood across the face frame

Recessed Door: The central panel of a cabinet door is recessed or indented to offer a unique style and design. The recessed panel can be of different wood species or finishing to the outer frame.

Reveal: The exposed portion or side of an opening between the frame and the outer surface, or frame visible around a door or overlay.

Sapwood: Living wood of pale color just beneath the bark, sapwood is usually more susceptible to decay than heartwood.

Semi-Custom Cabinets: Semi-custom cabinets are the next tier below custom cabinetry when it comes to price and the number of options available. They are factory made versus being made by a specific woodworker, to custom specifications and sizes. Semi-custom cabinets are still a superior choice and offer a wide variety of options when it comes to selecting your cabinet style, size, shape and other

Soffit: This is the area between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling. It usually protrudes out over the cabinets. Many choose to convert it into a shelf above the cabinets for added storage.

Solid Wood: This is wood as you know it, from a tree. Solid wood is different from particle board or MDF in that it is made up of multiple solid wood boards that are glued or bonded together. They are much more structurally sound and typically more expensive, however provide natural elegance.

Wood Species: This refers to the actual tree that the wood came from. Mahogany, Pine, Oak are all species of tree that produce uniquely colored and styled wood due to their grain and growing conditions.

Stile: These are vertical pieces of the face frame

Stock Cabinets: Stock cabinets are the most affordable type of cabinets. They come in set sizes and shapes and give you the ability to buy them, as is, without the need for modification. Stock cabinets are usually made of MDF or particle board, covered in a wood veneer or laminate.

Substrate: Refers to the material that veneer, laminate, thermofoil or melamine is applied to. It is usually made of particle board, plywood or MDF.

Thermofoil: This is another cabinet material made from heat fusing thin layers of PVC to a substrate. Thermofoil is easy to clean, durable and smoother than paint.

Toe Kick: This is defined as the lower most piece of the base cabinet that is sunk in enough to allow someone's feet to go under if they were standing in front of the cabinet.

Veneer: Veneer is a thin strip of wood with a bonding agent on the opposing side that allows it to be adhered to a substrate such as particle board or MDF. There are numerous benefits to applying a wood veneer as you are relying on the strength and workability of manufactured board, but by using veneer on the outer layer, you are able to replicate the style and beauty of natural, solid wood.

V-Groove: A type of vertical design in many cabinet doors. It is typically beaded or grooved and popular in bathroom medicine cabinets.

Vinyl Laminate: This material is used on the interior of many cabinets and is designed to be easy to clean and durable. Since it is a thin material it is easily applied to various cabinet components and surfaces.

Wood Grain: The pattern made in the wood that is influenced by the species of tree, its grain, its growing conditions and its age

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