CHOOSING THE RIGHT WOOD FOR YOUR PROJECT
At Huggy Bear Cabinets, we understand the need to learn as much as possible about the type of wood that you will choose for your cabinetry project. Whether you live in a country cottage or an uptown city loft, the look and feel of your room will be influenced by the natural characteristics of the wood that you will choose—and we’re here to help.
When choosing wood, it all comes down to three important details: type, color and grain.
Those who desire a wood species similar to cherry but do not want to pay the comparably high price will find alder wood to be perfect for their kitchen cabinets. This affordable wood species looks quite rich and lovely. Its color can be a brown/red combination or even a light yellow. Since alder has a fairly low sapwood level, it has a softer aesthetic than many other types of wood. You’ll love its texture as well as the fact that its closed grain takes on just about any type of stain with ease. Alder is softer than other hardwood species with a fine grain pattern. In its raw state, Rustic Alder’s color can range from pale pink–brown to tan. Rustic Alder likely includes some combination of rustic characteristics such as open and closed knots, burls, wormholes, mineral streaks and sound cracks reflecting the inherent beauty of the wood. These characteristics are expected and preferred as they occur naturally in the material. Of the natural characteristics, open and closed knots are the most common in the species.
Red Oak will be clear of pronounced defects but will possess inherent characteristics of the species in which only the extremes will be removed. Color and grain, while monitored, will vary more and will not be as uniform in appearance as select grade, and will contain strong and varied grain patterns and a variety of tones with red being the primary color, mixed with shades of white, tan, brown, green, blue, and black. Natural grade is recommended when natural color and grain variations are desired or acceptable such as when used with medium to dark stains finishes. General characteristics of Red Oak are: predominantly pinkish to reddish brown heartwood and white to light brown sapwood, with a strong grain pattern and occasional mineral streaks, small, sound knots, and wormholes. Red Oak is a heavy, hardwood and is generally receptive to a variety of stains and finishes.
Cherry is well known for its smooth grain and unique color that mellows and deepens as it ages—like fine wine. This “mellowing” effect is enhanced by exposure to bright light and, depending on the amount of exposure, will tend to darken several shades over time. Considered a luxury wood due to its expensive price, cherry has pinkish-brown hues and occasional shades of white, green, or gray. Its dark color brings a warm elegance to any room.
Hickory is one of our strongest, hardest and heaviest woods with random natural streaks that add unique accents to your cabinetry. Hickory has an array of naturally prominent colors ranging from very light cream to dark reddish brown to sometimes nearly black which easily can be enhanced by light or natural stains.
Lyptus is a dense, beautiful and durable wood that helps us maintain a high level of craftsmanship in our cabinetry. Not to mention, it’s an environmentally responsible wood since it’s rapidly replenishable and comes from certified plantations. “Lyptus hardwoods feature a fine grain and dramatic figure similar to mahogany. They are able to take stains evenly because of their density and have a broad color range, from light pink to dark earth tones.
The rapidly renewable hardwoods are grown on third-party certified plantations and are ready for harvest in an average of only 15 years, compared to 80 to 100 years for other hardwoods.Lyptus is suited for a wide array of applications, including cabinets, furniture and architectural millwork. It is available as high-grade lumber, veneer and flooring.
Veneers are available as flitches for custom applications and layons for plywood, either plain or quarter sliced, with a limited availability of special flitches, including quartered figured or Pommele.
Knotty Cherry will contain natural sound defects and possess all inherent characteristics of the species. Minimal to no color or grain matching is done to preserve strong character and some white sapwood is allowed. Some of the characteristics that will be represented are mineral streaks, natural color variations, grain variations and naturally occurring tight, open and cracked knots. Open knots will be structurally “sound” and will not be seen through. The quantity, size, placement and color of these characteristics will vary, and their consistency (or lack of) is not considered cause for replacement. Drawer fronts, applied moldings and small raised door panels may not include knots. Due to the depth of some defects and knots, all panel or veneer options may not be available. General characteristics of Cherry are: elegant hardwood, defined by soft grain patterns and rich tonality. Naturally occurring “marks” include pin knots, mineral streaks, and pitch pockets/gum spots. Sapwood can vary drastically in color but is generally white. It is important to note that Cherry will darken with age & exposure to light. Because of this aging process, differences will exist between aged and un-aged products. Product should be covered until finished or hung, or telltale lines will appear where the material is exposed to light.
Knotty Hickory will include all characteristics of the species including naturally occurring cracks, splits and knots. It will possess a wide range of wood color and some of the characteristics that define this species will occur randomly throughout the product; such that some items may appear relatively “bland/clear” while others may be displayed quite prominently. Panels and frames are not color matched. The amount, size and placement of natural characteristics will vary, and the consistency (or lack of) is not considered cause for replacement. Drawer fronts, applied moldings and small raised door panels may not include knots. It is reasonably receptive to most stains and darker colors will “mellow” some of the inherent color variations. Due to the depth of some defects and knots, all panel or veneer options may not be available. General characteristics of Hickory are: particularly strong hardwood whose grain patterns will vary from “open” to “closed.” It varies wildly in color ranging from a blond hue to dark brown with mineral streaks, knots, worm holes and burls emphasizing the natural growth of the tree.
Knotty Alder is chosen for its rustic, informal appearance. Knots vary in size and distribution and include tight, sound knots as well as rustic, open and split knots. Alder is a smooth hardwood with color and graining similar to Cherry ranging from a light honey color to a reddish-brown hue. With time and exposure to sunlight, Knotty Alder will turn a shade lighter in color which is a natural characteristic of the species.
Ash is similar in strength and durability to oak, but has a light color and a more pronounced figure. This straight-grain lumber takes on a contemporary character when it’s given a clear or natural finish. Its availability is limited in semi custom lines and is more often seen in custom work.
Maple is a medium to hard wood with a straight, wavy or curly grain. Popular for its shock resistance and durability, maple has a light, uniform appearance that produces a smooth, clean look when stained. Another plus is that it can also be finished to resemble other, more expensive hardwoods and softwoods such as cherry and cedar. Maple is a great choice for a light, airy kitchen or a dramatic kitchen with darker finishes.
is well known for its smooth grain and unique color that mellows and deepens as it ages—like fine wine. This “mellowing” effect is enhanced by exposure to bright light and, depending on the amount of exposure, will tend to darken several shades over time. Considered a luxury wood due to its expensive price, cherry has pinkish-brown hues and occasional shades of white, green, or gray. Its dark color brings a warm elegance to any room.
Vertical Grain Fir
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), also called Red Fir or Doug Fir, is a softwood coastal species that is known for its consistency. It is a native Oregon species, popular in rural and Pacific-style architecture throughout the Northwest and East Asia. In Europe, the species is known as Oregon Pine.
Appearance: This vertical grain (VG), darker wood can come in intriguing varieties of red, pink or yellow tones. One advantage of Douglas Fir is that it can be obtained without stark color variations, making it easier to get consistent color throughout a project. There are usually no narrow bands of white sapwood visible. Variation in vertical grain fir is in color and growth rings per inch.
Uses: In the woodworking market, Douglas Fir is used in kitchen cabinets, and Timber Products is also seeing it increasingly in store fixtures. Last year was a big year for this species. The biggest Douglas Fir order Timber Products saw in 2012 was for a retail project on the East Coast. Although it is a Western softwood species, demand is picking up for it across the continent. The uniformity in appearance is what makes this species popular. In the building trades, Doug Fir is used for doors, door jambs, windows, mouldings, panels and wainscoting. VG fir is not for rustic projects. With an A-grade face and 1-grade back, VG Doug Fir is a high-end, expensive veneer. The raw log cost is tremendous.
Characteristics: Overall, Douglas Fir is a rather boring species, but demand for it is growing, particularly in custom homes. For a softwood species, it is a moderately light and hard veneer and much more durable than pine. VG Fir is straight grained and leads the charge in surging popularity of straight grains. It is medium to coarse in texture. Western softwood species tend to have defects in them, but the fir logs we use for slicing tend to be clear lumber and not typical of the Western decorative species. Most have a lot of knots, but VG fir is a clear wood.
White Oak is particularly suited for use in the boat industry. Because of its resistance to moisture, white oak is also widely used to construct outdoor furniture, whisky barrels, and cargo truck flooring.
White oak is fairly straight-grained and is a favorite material that is usually available quarter sawn. The grain in quarter sawn white oak has a striking ray flake pattern.
The coloring in white oak is varied. Separate boards of white oak lumber may be dark brown, light brown, or brown with yellow tones. Stain and wood sealer tend to enhance the appearance of white oak.
A closed-grain hardwood, white oak is almost impervious to water. The pores of the heartwood of white oaks are typically plugged with tyloses, which is a membranous growth. The USS Constitution (Old Ironsides), launched in 1797, was built of White Oak.
Bamboo has many similar characteristics to hardwoods, but bamboo is species of grass as opposed to a wood species. Bamboo’s natural density produces a uniform wood grain with an extraordinarily even & consistent finish that is significantly harder than its hardwood cousins.
Produced through a pressure heating process, our Bamboo has a beautiful amber color.
An eco-friendly wood, bamboo accepts stains readily and has a unique appearance. Bamboo is extremely hard and durable, which wears admirably in even the most raucous family environments.