Kitchen Cabinet Terms, Terminology, and Jargon

I found this trolling through some forums and ran across someone who didn't quite understand some of the lingo in manufacturers' product descriptions. Here's the gist of what was said on the message board: Would you please help me with the following jargon? I don’t understand how to compare. I am trying to decide between […]

Was this helpful? Share it.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus

I found this trolling through some forums and ran across someone who didn't quite understand some of the lingo in manufacturers' product descriptions. Here's the gist of what was said on the message board:

Would you please help me with the following jargon? I don’t understand how to compare. I am trying to decide between two similar cabinets.  Either will be ordered painted white, and both are similar price point, although Brand 1 comes with soft close doors, and Brand 2 does not.

Brand 1 says this: – All raised and reverse raised panel doors and face frames are solid wood construction – All plywood case components – Maple hardwood veneer with varnish topcoat on interior case components
, 3/4" solid hardwood dovetail drawer – Hardwood veneer, species and finish matched on specified end panels – 1/2" standard sides, tops and bottoms, dadoed joinery – Shelves are thicker, for more durability, as well as adjustable

Brand 2 says this: – Doors feature a full 1/4" furniture veneer center panel bringing you greater affordability. – Opaque doors and drawer fronts (which mine would be) will receive an MDO (Medium Density Overlay) center panels to provide a more stable application for finish and improve overal appearance of final product. Opaque drawer fronts are MDF – 5/8 inch dovetailed drawer box. Cabinet construction is 1/2 inch plywood sides – 3/8" plywood tops and floors, and 1/4" plywood back – Interior is 50 gram menamine thermal bonded to plywood for easy clean up

Doors Oddly enough, I just talked about reverse square raised in this article the other day.  I think they're a beefier door than a regular flat panel door.  This feature may have no effect on her kitchen; I can't tell without knowing what what she's after for a door style. The MDO in Brand 2's doors would turn me off.  Yes, it's probably more stable than a solid wood panel, but what if, down the road, the kitchen owner decides to get rid of the paint and refinish the cabinets with a stain?  The MDO won't look so hot when it's bare. I'm assuming that "Opaque" doors and drawer fronts means those that are getting a painted finish; initially I was thinking solid fronts as opposed to glass, but who would make a glass front on a drawer.  Could be done I suppose…  Brand 2 should do a better job with their descriptions.  

Boxes All plywood boxes are better.  The back doesn't matter so much (some companies don't even make backs for their cabinets) but a plywood back won't peel and bubble like a particleboard one will. The fact that there is a hanging rail in Brand 1 bodes well.  There's no mention of hanging rails in Brand 2, but they might have just left that out of the description.       There was mention of dadoed joints, and here is a picture of a dado. 

dado

 

 

 

 

Dado joint image provided by home-style-choices.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

In cabinets, it's sort of a slot where another piece of wood is going to go.  If this were a piece of the cabinet frame, then that slot might be where the plywood side is going to go.      

Drawers I should think that 5/8" of solid wood for a drawer box is sufficient.  In either situation (5/8" or 3/4"), the dovetail in itself doesn't mean good quality.  Some companies make very nice, tigh fitting dovetail joints.  Other manufacturers make dovetail joints only a little better than my six year old son could do.  I've no idea what either of these manufacturers' drawers look like; it's something that you would have to go inspect yourself in a showroom or a friend's kitchen.  

Interiors Brand 1 claims thicker, adjustable shelves.  I'm not sure what thicker shelves means.  3/4" generally does it, but some companies use 5/8" material, and I think that's WAY to thin.  There's no reference.  Adjustable is good, so long as the pegs used to hold the shelves up tend to stay in the holes. Brand 2 says there's something bonded to the plywood; I'm guessing it's the maple looking sticker stuff.   No mention of what the shelves are made of; so I'm guessing it's particleboard with the same maple sticker applied.  

So, which is the better deal? Looking at specs alone, I'd say Brand 1 makes the better cabinet.  Where they are similarly priced though, there are some concerns.  Are the cabinets close in cost because Brand 1 is constructed shoddily, but with better materials?  Are they made locally, or in some overseas factory?  Is Brand 2 just overpriced?  Is Brand 1 running a special?   Tough call, but if you ask enough questions, you'll eventually get to the bottom of it.  Good luck, and don't hesitate to ask us .

Was this helpful? Share it.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus

 

Written by:
Craig


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *