Written By Jake Hinrichs
Crestwood uses a variety of different woods to build their cabinets. To include oak, hard maple, soft maple, birch, hickory, rustic hickory, alder, rustic alder, cherry, poplar, Aspen, pine, walnut.
For a long time oak was considered a higher end wood, many times I heard customers say they had or wanted solid oak cabinets. I’m not even sure they knew what oak looked like it was just what they had heard. It was the popular thing to have for a stretch through the 70s 80s and 90s. We still use oak regularly but it is not viewed the same these days. Many people grew up with the dark oak or orange colored oak cabinets, so now they are sick of it. I feel like this is why the trend shifted to painted and lighter in the early 2000s. Oak is a sturdy and plentiful wood that is easy to get, easy to work with so it does keep it a bit cheaper than some of the more trendy wood right now.
We are seeing a trend now of industrial and rustic becoming very popular. Our rustic hickory and rustic alder or Forever Barnwood, and pine, work well for these looks. People like to blend rustic with modern contemporary. kind of an anything goes mind set.
I feel that the hickory is our strongest or hardest wood that we use on a regular basis. Customers who have children or who are hard on there kitchen might consider using hickory. The alder and pine on the other hand is much softer and is susceptible to scratches and dents.
We find that even with our customers who want a painted look, they like the look of oak painted because it’s not so smooth looking. It gives it a little bit of a rustic feel.
At Crestwood we usually paint a lesser grade hard maple for our painted jobs. The hard maple will not show grain when painted, it is very durable and seams to have less splitting in the wood. There was a time when we used a soft maple for painted jobs. We liked the price and it milled a little easier than hard maple, but it was susceptible to splitting in the heart wood section of the board. The splits would need to be filled with bondo or wood filler, which was not the quality we wanted and very time consuming.
Some companies will paint on poplar wood. This is one of our cheapest woods we offer. Poplar is very nice to work with, it is readily available and cheap. Poplar will make a great cabinet, usually it needs to be stained dark or painted because of the green nature of the wood. Poplar is soft like alder or pine, so precaution there. We primarily use poplar for substrate material corner blocks and build up among other things.
Cherry is a beautiful wood that is not used as much mainly because it is expensive. Cherry is also a little bit on the softer side so not the best for the young kids. Cherry tends to have a richer tone to it, with the natural red tone it brings. You might see this in a more high end kitchen or bath.
Walnut is also a very expensive wood but another one that is very durable with a dark color to it, many people will just finish walnut with a clear coating because of its rich dark natural color of the wood. This is not a wood you see very often in a kitchen but when you do, it brings a conversation with it.
The aspen wood we use is similar to the poplar wood, where we only use it for substrate and build up or areas where we need a box but it all gets covered. We have never used it for our cabinet fronts, it is also soft and easy to mill.
Birch is one of our popular options, it is great for staining and painting. It is a strong wood and easy to mill. One down fall to birch is that it’s hard to get bigger boards. The trees don’t get as big as the oaks. And sometimes they are more twisted, so sometimes you end up throwing less quality wood in the burn bin.
We use pine on our rustic kitchens like the Forever Barnwood. Pine can be manipulated to look very old and as rustic as you like. Some companies will paint pine, again I feel it is a very soft wood that doesn’t work well for that.
I hope this little bit of knowledge helps you out when your thinking about your next kitchen!
Good luck and cut straight!