Types of Wood for Cabinet Making: A Definitive Guide

Types of Wood for Cabinet Making

When it comes to cabinet making, there are various types of wood that can be used. These include oak, maple, cherry, pine, and walnut, each with its own unique characteristics and qualities.

Choosing the right type of wood for your cabinets will depend on factors such as your budget, desired aesthetic, and durability requirements. Oak is a popular choice for its strength and durability, while maple offers a smooth and light appearance.

Cherry wood has a rich, reddish-brown hue, pine provides a rustic and natural look, and walnut showcases a deep, dark brown color. By understanding the different types of wood available, you can make an informed decision when it comes to creating beautiful and functional cabinets for your space.

Types of Wood for Cabinet Making  : A Definitive Guide

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Hardwood Vs. Softwood

When it comes to cabinet making, understanding the difference between hardwood and softwood is essential. Both hardwood and softwood have their own unique characteristics, making them suitable for different applications. In this section, we will discuss the characteristics of hardwood and softwood, helping you make an informed decision for your cabinet making project.

Characteristics Of Hardwood

Hardwood is known for its durability and strength, making it a popular choice for cabinets that need to withstand heavy use. Here are some key characteristics of hardwood:

  1. Density: Hardwood is denser than softwood, which means it is more resistant to wear and tear.
  2. Durability: Hardwood is incredibly durable and long-lasting, making it suitable for cabinets that need to withstand regular use.
  3. Appearance: Hardwood has a beautiful natural grain pattern, which adds an elegant and timeless look to your cabinets.
  4. Stability: Hardwood is less prone to warping or shrinking, making it a reliable choice for cabinet making.

Characteristics Of Softwood

Softwood is often used in cabinet making due to its cost-effectiveness and versatility. Here are the key characteristics of softwood:

  1. Availability: Softwood is readily available and abundant, making it a cost-effective option for cabinet making projects.
  2. Ease of Workability: Softwood is relatively easier to work with compared to hardwood, making it suitable for intricate cabinet designs.
  3. Lightweight: Softwood is lighter in weight, which can be an advantage if you have cabinets that need to be easily moved or transported.
  4. Affordability: Softwood is generally more affordable than hardwood, making it a budget-friendly option for cabinet making.
  5. Aesthetic Flexibility: Softwood can be easily stained or painted, allowing you to achieve various finishes and colors for your cabinets.

Popular Hardwoods For Cabinets

When it comes to cabinet making, the choice of wood plays a crucial role in the overall aesthetic and durability of the final product. Hardwoods are often favored for their strength, natural beauty, and versatility. In this article, we will explore three popular hardwoods for cabinets: Oak, Maple, and Cherry.


Oak is a timeless classic when it comes to cabinet making. Its durability and strength make it an excellent choice for cabinets that are built to last. Oak cabinets have a distinct grain pattern that adds character and warmth to any space. There are two common types of oak used in cabinet making: red oak and white oak. Red oak features a reddish-brown hue and a prominent grain, while white oak has a lighter, more golden appearance. Both varieties of oak can be stained to enhance their natural color or painted to suit different design preferences.


Maple is another popular hardwood choice for cabinets. It is known for its durability, smooth finish, and light color, which can add brightness to any kitchen or bathroom. Maple cabinets have a clean and uniform appearance with a subtle grain that gives them a sleek and modern look. This hardwood is highly versatile and can be stained in different shades or even painted, making it suitable for various interior styles. Maple is particularly favored for its ability to take on different finishes, from natural to glossy, providing endless possibilities for customization.


Cherry is a luxurious hardwood choice that exudes elegance and sophistication in cabinet making. Its rich reddish-brown color and natural luster make it a visually striking option for high-end cabinets. Over time, cherry wood develops a beautiful patina that enhances its allure. The wood can be stained to preserve its natural color or darkened for a more dramatic effect. One of the standout features of cherry cabinets is the way they deepen in color and become more vibrant with age. This aging process gives them a unique and timeless appeal.

In conclusion, oak, maple, and cherry are three popular hardwoods used in cabinet making. Each wood has its own distinctive qualities that contribute to the overall charm and durability of cabinets. Whether you prefer the classic look of oak, the clean appearance of maple, or the luxurious beauty of cherry, these hardwoods offer endless possibilities for creating stunning cabinets that will stand the test of time.

Popular Softwoods For Cabinets

Softwoods are commonly used in cabinet making due to their affordability and versatility. Here are some popular softwoods often chosen for cabinets:


Pine is a softwood known for its light color and straight grain, making it suitable for various cabinet styles.


Cedar is a fragrant softwood that is resistant to rot and insects, ideal for cabinets in areas prone to moisture.


Fir is a softwood with a pale yellow hue and a straight grain, offering a sturdy and stable option for cabinet construction.

Types of Wood for Cabinet Making  : A Definitive Guide

Credit: www.cliqstudios.com

Exotic Woods For Luxury Cabinets

When it comes to creating luxury cabinets, using exotic woods can elevate the overall aesthetic and impart a sense of opulence to the space. Exotic woods are known for their striking grain patterns, rich colors, and unique characteristics, making them highly sought after for high-end cabinet-making projects.


Mahogany is a popular choice for luxury cabinets due to its rich, reddish-brown hue and distinctive grain patterns. The wood’s natural luster and durability make it well-suited for creating elegant, timeless cabinetry that exudes luxury and sophistication.


Walnut is prized for its deep, dark chocolate brown color and smooth, even grain. It is often used in luxury cabinet-making to achieve a refined and luxurious look. The richness of the wood brings warmth and character to a space, making it an excellent choice for creating upscale cabinets.


Rosewood is revered for its stunning dark hues and intricate, swirling patterns. This exotic wood is often employed in the crafting of luxurious cabinets, adding a touch of exotic elegance to the finished pieces. Its fine texture and exquisite appearance make it a top choice for creating high-end, sophisticated cabinets.

Frequently Asked Questions On Types Of Wood For Cabinet Making

What Type Of Wood Is Best For Cabinets?

The best wood for cabinets is determined by your preferences and budget. Hardwoods like oak, maple, and cherry are popular choices for their durability and attractive grain patterns. Softwoods like pine and cedar are also used for a more rustic look.

Choose wood that suits your style and needs.

What Kind Of Wood Is Used For Built In Cabinets?

Built-in cabinets often use hardwoods like oak, cherry, maple, or walnut for durability and aesthetics.

What Wood To Make Your Own Cabinets?

Cabinets can be made with various types of wood, such as oak, maple, cherry, and birch. The choice depends on your preference for color, durability, and cost.

What Wood Are High End Cabinets Made Of?

High-end cabinets are typically made from premium, durable woods like solid maple or cherry. These woods offer a refined and luxurious look while providing strength and longevity to the cabinets.


In selecting the right wood for cabinet making, understanding the unique qualities of each type is key. From the durability of oak to the elegance of cherry, choosing the right wood is essential. Consider your project needs and desired aesthetic to create beautiful and lasting cabinets.

Choose wisely!

Md Meraj

This is Meraj. I’m the main publisher of this blog. Wood Working Advisor is a blog where I share wood working tips and tricks, reviews, and guides. Stay tuned to get more helpful articles!

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