Glossary Of Cabinet
Terms

 

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Accessories: Supplemental parts of the cabinet referred to as bells and whistles, any nonessential component such as rollouts, pullouts, tilt-outs, hardware, etc.

Angled Corner: Any cabinet type designed to fit on the end of a cabinet creating a fixed angle.

Alder: This wood is a member of the Birch family, and comes in 30 different varieties. It is a less dense wood and provides a brighter tone than mahogany. more »

Appliqué: A carved or etched decorative piece of wood installed on the face of cabinets. Also referred to as an onlay.

Artisan: Hand-applied technique simulating cracks, worm holes, carved or worn edges, screw marks, chisel marks and dings to create the impression of naturally aged wood.

Ash: This wood is a member of the Olive tree family. It is light in color with darker streaks. more »

 

Backsplash: A vertical covering on a wall rising above a countertop or other work surface to protect the wall from spills and to decorate the wall

Baltic Birch Plywood: This plywood is produced from void-less birch planks. It grows in and around Russia.

Base Cabinet: Any cabinet type designed to install directly on the floor. It will generally have some kind of countertop such as laminate, wood or granite.

Bead Board: Wood paneling that contains parallel grooves (typically vertical) to give the cabinet added style and texture.

BERP (Base End Raised Panel): A decorative panel, usually matching the door style, designed to be applied to the side or back of a cabinet.

Bevel: A portion of material removed from the edge of a piece of wood. This technique can be used to create a natural finger-pull such as on a beveled-edge door. It is also used to create a specific angle when two pieces of wood are joined together. For example, when two pieces have a 45° bevel they create a right angle when joined.

Beveled Panel: A panel that is shaped at an angle.

Birch: A close-grained wood with a satiny texture which is capable of taking a fine polish. Varieties include red, white, black, and yellow. more »

Blind Corner: Any cabinet type, designed to install into a corner of a room. Another cabinet will install directly adjacent to it hiding the blind portion. This gives access to an otherwise unusable corner, providing more storage.

Bridge cabinet: This cabinet can be placed in the space above a refrigerator or stove.

Bumper Pads: A small spongy material placed on any cabinet door. It is designed to muffle the noise as the door is closed.

Bun Foot: A round decorative furniture grade foot used on the bottom corners of base cabinets.

Burl: A swirl or twist in the wood grain that is caused by any number of natural factors that include: knot location, genetic components or naturally occurring damage to the bark. more »

Butt Doors: Two cabinet doors covering a single opening, often employed when the opening is too large for just one door. The edges of both doors nearly meet. The opening does not have a center mullion.

Butt Joint: A term used when the edges of two pieces of wood are joined together. more »

 

Cam and bolt: A structure, which is usually used to connect the bottom, sides and top of a cabinet. Bolt and cam construction can be used to create a very strong cabinet.

Carcass: Another name for the box of the cabinet.

Cathedral Arch: A term used when the top cabinet door has a curved shape in the panel and frame.

Center Stile: A vertical strip of hardwood that is a component of the face frame. It usually divides a cabinet opening equally. Also referred to as a mullion.

Cherry: Cherry is an elegant, multi-colored hardwood, which may contain small knots and pin holes. Natural or light stains accent these color variations making a distinctive statement in a full kitchen. Cherry wood will darken or “mellow” with age. This mellowing is a natural occurrence and the benefit of owning a solid cherry kitchen.

Clip-On Hinge Plates: Secures hinge (which allows door to open and close) to inside of cabinet.

Close Grain: Having fine and closely arranged fibers or fine texture. For example, maple is considered to have close grain.

Closed (also Sound) Knot: Has a flat face without an opening in the wood surface.

Color Variation: A natural variation of color inherent in any wood species. Soil type, mineral deposits, water levels, temperature and geographical location are all factors in the degree of variation.

Concave Panel: The surface is curved or rounded inward.

Concealed Hinge: A cabinet hinge that is not visible from the outside. Referred to as a cup hinge.

Convex Panel: A panel whose surface is curved or rounded outward.

Corbel: A decorative wooden bracket used as a support mechanism for mantels, bar tops, etc. more »

Corner Blocks: Any type of wooden, plastic or metal component used to strengthen any joint.

Crown Molding: A decorative border that can be applied on top of cabinets for a more stylish and finished look. more »

Custom Cabinets: Cabinets designed and built to suit specific needs. They are generally not limited by product lines, dimensions or design. They are typically more expensive but don’t necessarily offer the best value available in the marketplace.

 

Dado: A groove cut into a piece of wood that allows another piece to slide into it for a tighter fit. more »

Decorative pull/handle: A piece of hardware, usually made of metal or plastic, installed on a drawer front or door, used to open the cabinets and provide a touch of style. more »

Dentil Mould: A decorative tooth-like pattern on any trim moulding.

Distressing: A manual process of creating random nicks and cuts in the wood surface to made it appear aged. These random marks are applied to all finished areas except the back of door and drawer fronts and on small mouldings. more »

Dovetail Joint: A joining technique in which a fan-shaped tenon fits into a corresponding mortise to form a tight interlocking joint. Known for their strength and durability, dovetail drawers are a mark of high-quality construction. more »

Drawer Face: The front panel of the drawer box where the handle is attached.

 

Edge Banding: Any strip of material that is applied to the edge of a panel to seal or finish the edge. Also known as edge tape. more »

Edge Detail: Describes the profile of the door or drawer front. Edge details include notched, rounded and square profiles.

End Panel: The panel forming the cabinet's side.

Engineered Wood: This is wood that is enhanced for greater strength and stability. It is also environmentally friendly since it is often created from leftover scraps of natural wood. Examples of engineered wood include particle board and fiberboard (MDF and HDF). more »

European Frameless Cabinets: Frameless, or European-style cabinets, have no front frame. The doors are attached directly to the sides of the cabinet. Frameless cabinets, which are more contemporary in style, offer the advantage of completely unobstructed access to the cabinet interior.

Exposed Hinge: A term used to describe a cabinet hinge that is visible from the outside. For example, barrel hinges.

 

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Face Frame: The front facing of a cabinet typically constructed of hardwood. The vertical pieces, called “stiles,” and the horizontal pieces, called “rails,” reinforce the cabinet structure and provide mounting support for doors and drawers. more »

Fillers: Pieces of hardwood matching a chosen cabinet color. Sizes range from 1" to 6" wide and 30" to 96" long. Common use is to fill the space where a modular cabinet does not fill a specific wall dimension.

Finial Hinge: A decorative and semi-concealed hinging option used with Inset Cabinetry.

Finish: A term for the surface treatment of a wood product to enhance the beauty of its natural wood color and grain definition. Usually applied in steps, such as stain, sealer and a clear top coat such as a catalyzed varnish. more »

Fixed and adjustable shelves: Adjustable shelves have some pre-drilled holes made for maximum flexibility. Fixed shelves cannot be moved at all and represent a structural element of the cabinet.

Flake Board: Another way to say particle board because of the flakey nature of the wood in particle board.

Flat Panel: A recessed center panel on a door or drawer.

Flute: A concave shallow groove that is routed into a wood surface. Fluting is usually applied vertically. A common use is to overlay on a cabinet stile or filler for a decorative effect.

Fluted Rail: This piece of molding is ornamental, decorative and it is usually used to highlight some areas between cabinets.

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.

Framed Construction: Cabinet construction with face frames to which the cabinet doors are attached. The face frame has horizontal rails and vertical stiles.

Frameless Cabinets: Also referred to 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.

Frameless Construction: Cabinet construction in which the hinges are secured to the inside of the cabinet, and the doors overlay the cabinet box, minimizing the space between the doors when closed.

French Leg: A furniture-grade decorative leg used on the bottom corners of base cabinets.

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. Most common in frameless cabinets.

Furniture Board: Another name for particle board.

Fur-Down: A box-out at the ceiling typically 12" high and 14" deep. Often used for AC ductwork. Kitchen cabinets are installed up to it creating a step effect. Also called a soffit or bulkhead.

 

Galley Rail: Any moulding using tiny spindles to create a front retainer along a plate rail cabinet top. It gets its name because of its likeness to galley rails used on ships.

Glaze: A specialty finish in which a material is applied after the stain and seal coat, and then hand wiped to create an aged or antiqued look that is unique to each piece. Glazing is applied to the entire surface, and shows well on surfaces with sharp crevices or edge details, distress marks, and woods with an open grain such as Hickory or Oak.

Grain Variation: A term used to describe a species of wood’s natural dissimilar grain pattern.

 

Heartwood: The central core of wood in a tree that no longer produces sap and tends to be dark in color.

Hickory: A strong, open grained wood that is known for its wide variation in color. It is not uncommon to see doors or parts of doors that range in color from light to deep brown when finished in light or natural stains. Darker stains will mildly tone these color variations. These characteristics are what makes each hickory kitchen unique and the preference of those who love wood.

Highlighting: A finish option in which material is applied to detailed areas of wood-paneled doors, fronts and profiled mouldings. Highlighting is applied to specific areas rather than the entire surface, resulting in a more refined look than Glazing.

Hinge: A mechanical device used to attach a cabinet door to a cabinet box. There are many styles offering different applications, degree of swing and visibility. more »

 

Inset Construction: Cabinet construction in which the cabinet door and drawer fronts are recessed (inset) and flush with the cabinet face frame.

Island: An unattached counter in a kitchen that permits access from all sides.

 

Joint: A construction term used when two pieces of material are joined or attached together. Common types are Butt, Cope and Stick, Dado, Dovetail, Miter, Mortise and Tenon, Rabbet, Tongue and Groove.

 

Kerf: A saw cut that is made on the surface to relieve stress. It is used to create a curve, such as with a toe kick around a curved base cabinet.

Kiln Dry: A term used to describe the process of oven drying fresh cut lumber. The process removes excess moisture so raw lumber can be fabricated into a finished product.

Knob: A hardware item, typically round in shape, attached to doors and drawers for function and decoration.

Knot: A hard node in any wood species where a branch once grew.

Knotty woods: Any wood with knots present. The knots provide a rustic effect in appearance.

 

Laminate: Family of products in which a finish material is fused to a substrate. Laminates include LPL (Low-Pressure Laminate) and HPL (High-Pressure Laminate). HPL is thicker, stronger and more durable. more »

Lazy Susan: A corner kitchen base cabinet utilizing kidney shaped shelves rotating on a center poll for easy access. more »

Light Rail: The bottom of wall cabinets is usually decorated with a piece of molding, to give a finished look or to hide under-cabinet lighting.

 

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Maple: A strong, close grained wood that is predominantly off-white in color; although it also contains light hues of yellow-brown and pink. Hard maple occasionally contains light tan or small dark mineral streaks.

MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard): A manufactured wood product created from tiny wood particles and a bonding agent such as glue or resin. Since it is made with tiny wood particles, it is easier to shape as opposed 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. more »

Melamine: A chemically fused paper which is sealed and pressed onto engineered board. It is used on shelving and other interior serfaces and is durable and easy to clean. more »

Millwork: Any type of machined woodwork.

Mineral Streak: Naturally occurring wood discolorations caused by minerals extracted from the soil. The streaks appear as blackish-blue, well-defined and run parallel with the grain, and are not considered a defect.

Miter Joint: A joint made when two beveled surfaces form a specific angle. For example, two pieces of wood each beveled at 22 1/2° will form a 45° angle when joined together. more »

Modular: Constructed with standardized units or dimensions allowing flexibility and variety in use.

Mortise and Tenon: A joining technique in which the mortise (groove or slot) is cut into a piece of wood. The joint is made when an opposing piece cut with a tenon (a collared protrusion) is slipped into the mortise. more »

Moulding (or Molding): An ornamental strip used as a finishing touch to decorate a surface.

Mullion Doors: Horizontal and vertical dividing bars similar to those in windowpanes. They are used in cabinet doors that require glass inserts.

 

Oak: A strong, open grained wood that has a range in color of white, yellow and pink. Red oak is sometimes streaked with green, yellow and black mineral deposits and may contain some wide grain.

Onlay: A carved or etched decorative ornament installed on the cabinet face. Also referred to as an appliqué.

Open Grain: Large pores or course texture in grain. Oak is an example of an open-grained wood.

Open Knot: Knots with open areas on the surface of the wood.

Overlay: The amount of front frame covered by the door and drawer. The exposed front frame is referred to as the “reveal”.

 

Particle Board: An engineered material made of particles of wood compressed together in various degrees of density. more »

Peninsula: Similar in design to an island except open on only three sides. Often used in “L” shaped kitchens as serving bars that separate the kitchen from the dining or family room.

Pin Knot: Knots that are small and tight on the surface of the wood.

Plywood: Multiple layers of wood veneer bonded by an adhesive forming panels of varying thickness. more »

Pull: A hardware item, usually crescent shaped, attached to doors and drawers for function and decoration. more »

 

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Rabbet: A technique for joining two pieces at right angles. A portion of material is removed from the edge of one piece similar to the thickness of the other piece. When the two are attached the joint is strengthened. Also called a half-lap joint. more »

Racking: Term for a cabinet that is twisted out of square resulting in poor door and drawer alignment and operation. Generally caused by poor installation.

Rail: Horizontal pieces of the face frame.

Ray Flecks: Rays, or strips of cells, store food and transport it horizontally throughout the tree. Naturally occuring ray flecks appear as lines across the grain of the wood surface.

Recessed Panel: The central panel of a cabinet door that is indented or recessed to offer a unique style and design.

Reveal: The exposed portion of the cabinet face frame when the cabinet door and drawer are closed.

Rope Moulding: A piece of moulding milled to appear twisted like rope.

Rosette: A small, decorative piece of molding usually used to decorate your kitchen.

Rout: To drill or gouge out an area of wood for decorative or joining purposes.

RTF: (Rigid Thermo Foil) Used as a laminate in the process of fabricating a one-piece door.

 

Sapwood: The younger, softer outer portion of the tree trunk, just under the bark. It appears lighter in color than the heartwood (center of the tree).

Scribe Moulding: A generic piece of moulding, usually 1/4" thick and up to 1" wide, for the purpose of trimming and concealing any discrepancy where the cabinet meets a sheetrock wall.

Semi-Concealed Hinge: A cabinet hinge that is barely visible from the outside. Some examples are kerf or knuckle hinges.

Semi-Custom Cabinets: Offer fewer options than custom cabinets but are available in a number of different sizes and shapes for both framed and frameless cabinetry.

Shelf Pins: Pieces of hardware that the shelf is placed on, usually plastic or metal.

Skin: A 3/16"-thick veneer panel generally used on the ends or backs of upper or base cabinets.

Soffit: This is the area between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling. It usually protrudes out over the cabinets. Many people like to convert it into a shelf above the cabinets for added storage. Also known as a bulkhead. more »

Spattering: Small specks of color are randomly sprayed onto finished areas to create an antiqued look.

Stain: A finish that can be applied to wood doors to add protection and color. more »

Standard Cabinets: Standard cabinets are manufactured in pre-determined sizes, but never before the customer orders them. Utilizing standard cabinetry sizing helps keep the cost of cabinetry down.

Standard Overlay: A door style designed with a specific hinge type. The cabinet door overlaps the cabinet opening 1/2" on all four sides.

Stile: Vertical pieces of the face frame.

Stock Cabinets: Stock cabinets are the most affordable type of cabinets. They are usually found in places like Home Depot and Lowe's and are pre-made so you won't have as many choices in terms of size, design etc. Stock cabinets are usually made of wood veneer or a laminate material that is adhered to MDF or particle board.

Stretcher or Nailer: A structural component of the cabinet box. They are hidden horizontal members connecting the end panels at back of cabinet. During the installation process 2" to 3" screws are used to mount the cabinet to the wall through the stretchers.

Substrate: The original surface or the structural material beneath the layer of veneer or laminate. It is usually made of particle board, plywood or MDF.

 

TERP (Tall End Raised Panel): A decorative panel, usually matching the door style, designed to be applied to the side or back of a cabinet, a pantry or refrigerator end panel.

Thermofoil (RTF): Flexible, 100 percent solid-colored vinyl. With adhesive on its underside, it is applied to smooth, engineered wood or MDF which has been formed into a door, drawer or molding design. It has solid, opaque coloration and is easier to clean and maintain. Ideal for homes located in coastal areas.

Tilt-Out Trays: A popular accessory item ideal for storing sponges and other dishwashing supplies. They are plastic trays attached to the back of false fronts at the sink area.

Toe Kick Area: The recessed area at the bottom of base cabinets usually 4" high and 3" deep.

Toe Kick: Molding that covers the toe kick area to provide a finished look and protect the wood from inadvertent toe kicks.

Tongue and Groove: A specific joining technique. The groove is cut into one piece of wood. The joint is made when an opposing piece cut with a tongue (a collared protrusion) is slipped into the groove. more »

Traditional Framed Cabinets: Has a front frame around the cabinet opening to which the door is attached.

Traditional Overlay: Uses a door with a minimal overlay to allow a larger amount of the face frame to be visible. The door overlays the face frame by 1/2 inch side-to-side and 1/2 inch top-to-bottom.

 

Undermount: A guide that is attached to the bottom of a drawer instead of the side, giving a much cleaner look when the drawer is extended.

 

Valance: A decorative hardwood panel installed across an open area, generally used above desks or sinks.

Varnish: A hard, transparent coating used to protect the cabinet surface. more »

Veneer: A thin layer of solid wood (1/32") that is applied with an adhesive to a substrate. more »

VERP (Vanity End Raised Panel): A decorative panel, usually matching the door style, applied to the side or back of a cabinet, a vanity end panel.

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 to various cabinet components and surfaces.

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

 

Wainscot: A wooden facing or paneling that is generally applied to a wall or large end panel of a cabinet.

Wall Cabinet: Any cabinet type designed to install at or above eye level. Common application is 18" above the kitchen base cabinets. Also referred to as an upper cabinet.

Walnut: A hard, dense wood with tight grain that polishes to a very smooth finish. Its color ranges from creamy white to dark chocolate.

Warp: Any wood product that distorts or twists out of shape. The general cause is excessive heat or moisture.

WERP (Wall End Raised Panel): A decorative panel, usually matching the door style, applied to the side or back of an upper cabinet.

Wood Grain: Pattern and texture naturally produced in wood. more »

 

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