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.
We, however, weighed the strengths and weaknesses of both to help you better understand the differences in material.
Plywood Cabinets Pros
Strength - Plywood is a more durable material that can hold greater weight because of the interweaving design of the boards. It is also more resistant to moisture, scratching, and denting. This durability makes plywood ideal for kitchen 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 particleboard also has better color.
Repair Friendly - Plywood can be patched and repaired more easily. And it is better able to withstand drilling. Again, ideal for high use areas such as kitchen cabinets.
Plywood Cabinets Cons
Variability - Plywood isn’t as consistent throughout. There may be gaps or holes where the boards were combined. This variance can complicate the install because the cabinets won’t line up as perfectly. (We will cover this extensively in a minute.)
Cost – Quality plywood tends to be more expensive.
Cheaper - Particleboard is less expensive, partially because of the reputation it has developed as a weaker product. However, it is a denser material than plywood. High-quality particleboard is a stable and robust product—ideal for closet shelving.
Uniform texture - Particleboard is precisely machined to create a consistent, uniform texture without gaps or holes. This precision makes it easier to install without flaws.
Particle Board Cabinets Cons
Strength - Even high-quality particle board isn’t as strong as plywood. You might need extra supports if you’re installing a heavy countertop (like marble or granite) over particle board cabinets. The particleboard also scratches and dents more easily.
Moisture damage - Particle board is not as water-resistant as plywood, so it is more susceptible to moisture damage. Of course, neither is waterproof. Any significant leakage or flooding can ruin both the particleboard and plywood.
A fingerNot 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. This joint is weak and likely to break, there is no overlap of the two parts, and therefore, even a slight twist can cause the joint to fail.
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. Slightly better than the butt joint, but still a relatively weak connection.
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.
A finger joint is similar to the dovetail, but the tabs and notches are square and not angled. Once glued, this joint is very strong. Wood using this joint are ideal for cabinet drawers in high usage areas.
Tafisa operates North America’s largest and most modern particleboard and melamine factory. They are leading the way in environmentally-friendly productions utilizing 100% recycled and recovered wood materials in the construction of their particleboard panels.