Not all cabinet makers are the same
It all boils down to quality
Want to know what it takes to make one of our creations? Of course, you do because it’s essential to know the materials that go into our process. We want to educate our customers about the custom design difference so that they can make informed decisions when picking out new cabinets for their space.
There are lots of ‘pretty’ cabinets on the market, don’t get us wrong; ours are radiant, but we “focus on the present and not the gift wrap.” Disreputable dealers will try to pass off a pretty veneer as solid wood or try to sell you on ‘guarantees’ that their product is the best. Ultimately, you are going to live with these cabinets for years to come, and we want you to make the best decision possible.
If you have more questions, we’ll answer them happily. We love talking about cabinets almost as much as we enjoy making them.
Why the manufacturer matters:
It’s been a question that we are always asked: Where does your wood come from? At Buckeye Custom Cabinets & Closets, all our plywood is American made. The quality of your cabinets is always our foremost thought.
We have had several cases where a manufacturer sends us samples of a new product from overseas that will save material costs. Time and time again, we send it back because we know better.
Good, quality plywood should be between 1/2 to 3/4 inch in thickness and should have between 5 to 7 piles (the glued layers of wood). The density of the wood is also an important factor. If the board has gaps where wood didn’t fill up a layer, it will be less sturdy. We see this often with foreign timber.
Plywood and Particle Board: The foundation of any creation
Most of your cabinets are either built from particleboard or plywood. Plywood is a layered wood veneer that is glued together. Particle Board is made up of wood fibers that have been pressed and glued together. Plywood will have a distinct ‘layered’ feel to it, while the Particle Board has a uniform texture. Each material will vary greatly in construction quality, with hundreds of different manufacturers producing various attributes of the board.
Below we have compared both for you to understand their strengths.
Strength - Plywood is a more durable product in the area of overall strength vs. particleboard. Plywood is a stronger product because of the cross-hatching of the board grains. This makes it an ideal product for cabinets. The strength of the wood allows the flexibility to design larger cabinets.
Look - Many people enjoy the look of plywood better than particleboard, although some people aren’t concerned with the way the inside of their cabinets looks. The plywood also has better color.
Variability - Many times, cabinets are advertised as "all wood," but the wood has been sourced outside North America and is a cheaper product. Gaps and holes in plywood are called "voids." Foreign plywood is known to have more voids and also thinner strips that are cross-hatched, making the overall board weaker. Foreign boards will almost always warp in the long run; that is why all of our plywood is sourced in North America.
Affordability – Plywood is more expensive than particle board due to being wood instead of being comprised of wood shavings. Its species impact the cost of quality plywood, the number of surfaces veneered, and the veneer's thickness and, again, from where the board is sourced.
Economical - Particleboard cost is impacted by the type and color of the exterior coating surface and the quality level of the board's core. Overall, plywood is a more expensive board than particleboard. However, particleboard is a denser material than plywood. High-quality particleboard is a stable and robust product and it's economical—ideal for closet shelving.
Uniform texture - Particle Board can have many different looks depending on what is applied to the exterior. Most commercial cabinets are fabricated from particleboard and are covered with a laminated surface. This lamination process provides the particleboard with an increase in durability and strength. People who want a cabinet that gives the appearance of paint or stained wood, without the cost of hand finishing a wood product, can benefit from using particle board and picking an exterior surface color from hundreds of options. Particleboard will always have a consistent look throughout the finished surface.
Strength - Particleboard also has various quality levels. The board's quality level found in big box stores is usually a lesser grade of the board, which will chip and flake more easily when cut on the saw. The density of the board makes for a more robust cabinet. The particleboard used by Buckeye Custom Cabinets and Closets is a commercial-grade board sourced from North America. The plywood used by Buckeye Custom Cabinets and Closets is all sourced from North America. We do not import any of our board cabinet materials.
Not all cabinet joints are created equal:
The joints on your cabinets are going to be where the most stress takes place and is one area that can fail over time. A good joint will give ample area for the two boards to meet, fit tightly, and provide enough space for the boards to overlap and get a better grip on each other. When purchasing new cabinets, check the type of joint used. A quality cabinet will have notching or pegs used to increase the strength and durability where the sides of your cabinet come together. Below are a few types of universal joints used in cabinet making:
A butt joint is one of the simplest joints in woodworking. The two pieces of wood are placed together along their edges and glued. A butt-join can be weak, depending on how the two sides of the joint are joined together. By using screws and industrial-strength glue, the butt joint can be a very effective joint for how cabinet sides can be joined. This methodology creates a solid cabinet.
A biscuit joint is similar to the butt joint, except two shallow holes are drilled on the surfaces of both pieces of wood. A ‘biscuit’ (an oval-shaped piece of wood) is placed in both holes to give some extra stability.
A dovetail is a robust joint where one board has a series of trapezoidal tabs cut in the end and the other piece has matching notches for the tabs to slide into. The trapezoidal shape prevents the joint from pulling outwards and also provides excellent resistance to twisting. This joint is often used for the front of sliding drawers.
The miter joint is used when you are joining two pieces of wood and want to create a very clean corner without the look of a seam on the front or side of the joined pieces. Miter joints are commonly used when building small boxes or frames.