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Wood for the Cabinets

Pete Brown - 01 April 2006

I made a trip up to Hearne Hardwoods in Pennsylvania today to check out and buy (if I liked it) the wood for the kicthen cabinets. I purchased an entire trees worth (about 420 board feet) of Ghost Tiger Maple, sometimes called Wormy Maple. This differs from Spalted Maple in that the fungus infected the tree via worm holes instead of just regular rot (spalting).

We both wanted something different for our kitchen. The usual stock and semi-custom cabinet woods and finishes just weren't very interesting. Originally we looked at Hickory, but I didn't like what I read about how it worked, and was also hard-pressed to find it in the quantities I needed for this project. The addition of the tiger striping (mild to moderate) in this ghost maple is a really nice plus.

Here is a photo of Jared from Hearne Hardwoods showing me the lumber. Almost all of the stack is 8/4 (more like 9/4 or even 10/4 in some cases), so I will have to resaw it to the 5/4 I want. If I can get two 5/4 boards from each rough board, I'll make the cabinets with 1" thick doors and face frames. Otherwise, I'll make everything the standard 3/4". Either way, I'll likely use both the heart wood and the sap wood, as we're looking to build cabinets with some interesting character. We deliberatly kept everything else in the kitchen pretty low-key, so the cabinets can be our busy bit.


I also bought three board feet of walnut to use for the pegs, and about 23 board feet of cherry to use for the details.

To give you an idea of what cabinets made from this type of maple could look like, here is a photo of some of the cabinets they have in the lunch room at Hearne's, and an example panel in their main display room:


That wood has more worm than the lumber I bought appears to have, but you get the general idea. You can see the worm streaks (ghosting) as well as the tiger striping in there.

Here are two shots of the wood racks they have in the two main buildings. This shows only a tiny bit of what is in those buildings, and none of what is in all the other buildings (my wormy maple was in a building full of nothing but figured maple)


I haven't yet figured out how I'm going to get that home. I'll likely rent a truck from Ryder or U-Haul, or rent a trailer and have my father-in-law tow it home. My dealings with commercial trucking companies has left me with a real dislike for that mode.


posted by Pete Brown on Saturday, April 1, 2006
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2 comments for “Wood for the Cabinets”

  1. Aaron Wintergreensays:
    I'd love to see a follow-up to this entry. How is it looking in your home? I went the route of the rta cabinet and it has served me very well. The cabinets are durable, I feel more confident about my building abilities and they look fantastic in our kitchen. We've had them for a few years. I can't recommend them enough!
  2. Ivan Gomezsays:
    Great stuff Pete. Thanks for the link to the lumber yard. It's rare to see that type of work these days. Out here everyone uses MDF. This looks timeless.

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