Most people agree that red oak, poplar, maple, mahogany, or plywood are the best woods for kitchen cabinets. The best type of solid wood for a project relies on the project’s budget, whether the cabinets will be painted, and the person’s personal taste. Everyone wants to know that the changes they make to their home will last and increase its worth. Which type of wood is best for your cabinets, drawer boxes, and doors?

The Best Wood for Cabinets

The most important rooms in your house are the kitchen and bathroom. That means the materials used to make your cabinets need to be strong, useful, and nice to look at. Boxed or premade cabinets are made of thin, low-quality materials that have a wood veneer put on top of them. Solid hardwoods and plywood are both used to make cabinets, and both will play a role in your decision about which is best.

Cherry, Maple, Ash, Hickory and Oak

Hardwoods are often used to make cabinet doors and face frames. Some types of wood, like hickory, maple, and beech, are harder to scratch and dent than others, like walnut, alder, and mahogany. However, these harder woods will cost more.

A few examples of hard woods used for cabinets are hickory and maple. These woods are usually more expensive than softer woods like oak or ash. Even so, imported or exotic species usually cost more than native hardwoods, no matter how dense they are.

There are some instances, like trendy domestic hardwoods. Cherry, for example, is thought to be a luxury wood because of its warm, rich color and fine, complex grain pattern. It will usually be more expensive than other types of household wood.

Birch, Beech and White or Red Oak

Wood that is priced in the middle and has flame grain patterns that are arched or complicated is one of the hardwoods that cabinetmakers use most often. The grains in white oak are smoother, but it costs more than red oak.

As for other types of domestic species, straight-grained beech wood and birch with brown streaks and bands will be priced cheaper than beech because they are easier to find and don’t cost as much.

Walnut and Mahogany

The rich, dark brown walnut and the straight-grained red mahogany are two other types of lumber that are often used. Mahogany makes things feel warm, and walnut, which is about the same price and hardness as mahogany, makes furniture look classy.

You can stain other types of wood to fit the colors in your home, but some types of wood will take stains better than others. Ash, pine, and oak all take marks in the same way. While Birch and Maple can get spots if they aren’t ready to be stained. Both walnut and cherry are beautiful, so it’s best to leave them alone.

Spruce, Pine and Fir Softwoods

Softwoods, which are usually used for building, come from evergreen trees that bear cones. If softwoods like pine are used to make cabinets, the knots and soft amber tones will give cabins, cottages, lodges, and other country places a certain look.

A spruce or fir tree has straight grains, but it is tougher and harder than a pine tree. Most of the time, these are used for savings or utility purposes, like in workshops or shops.

Plywood for Cabinet Doors

Plywood is a type of wood that is designed and covered with a thin layer of hardwood veneer. It is usually less than 1/16 inch thick. The only thing that makes these marks different is how they look, which is important for figuring out cost and quality. It will cost the most to buy plywood that is labeled AA or quality. The veneer is machine cut into a single piece so that it doesn’t need to be joined together. This is why it’s often called “one piece faced.”

Grade A plywood is a little less expensive than Grade AA plywood. The veneer is joined next to each other and color-matched to make it uniform. The cheaper grades (B, C, D, and E) will look worse and cost less. Each lower level will have colors that don’t match up or more lines. This type of plywood, called “shop grade” or “economy grade,” is the cheapest and has the most flaws or damage. If you have a good cabinet maker who can work around the flaws, at least 85% of shop-grade plywood can be used.

Which type of wood is best for painting cabinets?

In the same way that any artist has to choose what medium to use, woodworkers have to pick what wood to work with. The look, color, cost, intended use, usability, and behavior as it ages are mostly things that are thought about.

It doesn’t matter if the wood can be painted or stained. Before you stain, you need to know how the wood grain will show and how the wood’s color affects the stain’s color. There is a short answer to the question “What’s the best wood for painted cupboards?” from professionals.

Having Trouble With Wood Grain Paint

Review of paint Woods with smaller grains are more common. Some examples are hard maple, soft maple, pine, poplar, and others. It looks rougher, and open grain wood probably needs filler to look great when painted. To avoid this, it’s best to stay out of woods with tight grain.

Poplar and delicate maple are commonly used for most of the parts of a desk, like the front edges, end edges, and door boards. This is mostly because they are cheap and easy to work with. In any case, some makers find that poplar marks work well. It can also quickly eat through the top layer of paint.

Some of the other tight-grain woods are easier to work with, but their ease of access or low cost aren’t seen as enough of a trade. Another great choice is hard maple, even though it can move a little more than other woods when the stickiness changes.

MDF can be used for both end and face borders. A few woodworkers use it for door boards, but it can be hard to finish. In the same way, different types of wood are often used for rails and stiles. People like MDF because it is stable and can be used for bigger pieces. For these longer pieces, you could also use birch plywood or prefinished plywood.

So, what kind of wood is best for painted boards?

Similar to most things, there are plenty of reviews out there, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of agreement on what the best types of wood are for painting cabinets. Tough, workable woods with tight grains are still a popular choice. No matter what material you choose, the most important thing is to put down the wood’s surface first. If you need to, use filler. Cover hitches with shellac to keep them from leaking. And make sure to sand over any sharp corners that might not let the paint stick. Here is a quick list of the forest places that are most often found in cupboards:

  • Hard Maple: light, dense. Grain: stainable, close grained, and fine textured
  • Hickory: durable, hard, and strong; white to reddish brown. Grain: coarse and straight
  • Cherry: Moderately heavy, strong, and hard; sands smooth. Grain: red and finishes beautifully
  • Soft Maple: strong, hard, and medium density; paint grade. Grain: fine textured, close grained
  • Mahogany: varies in color between medium red to reddish brown. Grain: medium coarse texture, straight to interlocked grain
  • Beech: heavy, medium to hard, pale colored; stains and polishes well. Grain: tight and fine. Similar to birch and maple
  • Alder: Reddish brown color, easily dented. Grain: straight grain, even texture
  • Red Oak: heavy, very hard, and strong. Grain: coarse texture with easy sanding and finishing
  • Red Birch: red in color softer than red oak. Grain: tight grain, easy to finish
  • Douglas Fir: light rosy color that will redden. Grain: tight knotted and close grained
  • White Oak: light to dark brown in color, heavy and hard. Grain: straight grained with medium to coarse texture
  • Knotty Pine: lightweight with tight and small knots. Grain: straight with an even, fine texture


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