There are many cabinet manufacturers that produce kitchen cabinets made of various woods. The quality of the cabinet depends on the construction materials used. Regardless of the quality of the cabinets, they all have the basic parts listed here.
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The cabinet box is the basic structure of the unit. They come in various designs made of plywood for the higher quality cabinets, with a thickness of 3/4-inch. MDF (Middle Density Fiberboard) or pressed wood fibres are used for the cabinet box on mid-level cabinets, and are 5/8-inch thick. These are sturdy, but not as durable as the plywood cabinets. Thin particle board is used for low-quality cabinet boxes. These are inexpensive and not made to last long.
The cabinet box can be purchased in framed or frameless construction, with the frameless usually having better durability. Some of the higher end cabinet lines offer matching interior stain colour to give a consistent appearance when you open your cupboards, or for glass door cabinets that show the shelving.
The cabinet door can be made of solid wood for the strongest construction, or of plywood, which gives the second best durability. The least expensive and least strong are doors made of either melamine (laminate-covered particle board) or MDF material. The doors come in 3/4-inch to 5/8-inch thickness, with the thicker being the best quality.
The doors come in various styles including flat panel and raised panel doors. Some of the higher end doors come in complex raised panels, which are cut from a solid piece of wood with many levels, and provide a decorative, durable door. Cabinet doors can also be found with fancy applied moulding attached to the outside, giving an elegant appearance.
The door hinges are an integral part of the durability of the cabinet. The hinge should be a sturdy one, securely attached to both the cabinet door and the cabinet frame.
Cabinet doors with a glazed finish are usually the highest in quality, with stained and lacquered finishes on medium-quality cabinets. Melamine and painted cabinets will chip and peel in high humidity and will not last as long as the other doors.
The drawer that is 3/4-inch solid wood offers the best for strength. The slides for drawers that are mounted on the side offer a good option, but the undermount slides are even better, and are found on high-end cabinets.
High quality cabinets offer the drawer joint construction in solid wood with dovetail joints that have no nails or screws holding it together. Plywood construction drawers are the next best. Mortise and tenon joints give a mid-quality drawer construction. The higher quality cabinets offer special features like self-closing and full extension drawers.
Shelves are made out of 3/4-inch thick solid wood in the best cabinets and 5/8-inch plywood in the second best. Cabinet shelves are often made of particle board or MDF in the lower-quality cabinets.
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