Does anyone have oak cabinets anymore?

ogrose_txJanuary 23, 2013

We are upgrading our 1970's kitchen, new cabinets, counters, sink and backsplash. Our contractor is scheduled to begin in the middle of February. I had decided on maple cabinets stained in a mid cherry color with dark granite counters. When the contractor brought samples, my DH took one look at the oak and fell in love, he just HAS to have this! Aargh, what is it about men and oak, I feel like we're going from the 70's to the 80's in remembering that awful builder grade yellow oak! But maybe I am being too harsh, as it really is a beautiful wood. Actually the sample did look pretty good.

Any ideas on stain to make it look up to date?

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*whispers*.....mid-cherry stained maple with black granite is the 90s.

The up-to-date oak now is rift-sawn.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:10PM
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I linked Senator13's oak kitchen below - it's beautiful. Check houzz too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Senator13 Quarter Sawn Oak Kitchen

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:28PM
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Does anyone have oak cabinets? Yes, I just put in a new kitchen with white oak cabinets in a clear / natural finish ( which is naturally a light yellowy- brown color). If you search the website you'll find photos of my finished kitchen. Our last kitchen we did in another house also had natural wood (maple and cherry). Our style just leans toward natural wood. My advice is that your taste in cabinet color may change over time but as long as you have a good layout and appliances you'll probably never have major regrets about your kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:52PM
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Lots here seem to love trashing oak cabs, but I think what they are really trashing are ubiquitous '80s/90's builder-grade golden-turning-orange oak cabs. Personally, I think almost all builder-grade items start to look dated after 20 years, should they even last that long.

Oak is a beautiful and versatile wood, and I would never hesitate to use it if its craftsmanship and finish spoke to me. Remember, you never get bonus points for using the same elements in your kitchen that "everyone else" uses!

This post was edited by cooksnsews on Wed, Jan 23, 13 at 22:06

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:05PM
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What door style? Can you post photos?

Most men I know like wood with a strong grain and/or dark colors. Sorry not trying to stereotype just my personal experience.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:08PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Look at rift sawn or quarter sawn oak rather than plain sawn. That accents oaks beauty. And either choose to go naked with no stain, or choose something darker than the too hated golden oak color.



    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:43PM
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While I HATE those builder-grade orangey oak cabs, I love rift and especially quarter sawn oak.

I second May, Cooksnsews, and Holly.

Can you post some pics of the door sample he liked? Was the sample rift or QS oak?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 11:45PM
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Holly, that's so interesting -- thank you!

Can you rift or quarter-saw any wood? Why is it oak you seem always to hear about this? And what is the rift-sawn pattern, come to think of it -- you show plain and quarter -- what patterning gets you 'rift'?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:51AM
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We just put in natural finish red oak cabinets. They're beautiful. I was tired of the maple in the last several houses and wanted something that was light colored and had a lot of grain. Then I got really crazy and refused to put in granite counters.... It's a pretty kitchen and I'm not going to see it anywhere else.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:46AM
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Sophie Wheeler

You'll note that there is more wastage with rift or quarter, so it's a more expensive wood choice than flat sawn. Oak is usually the least expensive wood in a cabinet line, but rift or quarter sawn is about on par with cherry. But, it's one of those things that if you love it, you're willing to do that 15%-20% upcharge in order to have it's beauty in your home.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 7:15AM
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We chose, and love our oak cabinets! Kraftmaid, stained in Mocha.
Now, if I could just figure out the backsplash! :)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 9:28AM
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I hated my builder's grade golden oak cabinets, and now they're painted white. It's what I wanted at the time, given the budget I had to work with. So, I got a white kitchen. If I had it to do over, I would get quarter-sawn oak, which is a totally different look. I'm fine with the regular oak grain in my floors, but not so much on vertical surfaces.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 10:35AM
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I'll throw in my two cents. I have the builder's grade golden oak cathedral door cabinets now, and they're fine. I don't like the color of the stain, and I think the cathedral door is too traditional for me.

My husband and I have had many woodworkers in our families (my grandpa was a cabinet maker, and my DH builds furniture in his spare time). So yeah we love wood and want to see it. Sure there are some woods that do not seem as interesting so they can look great painted. I thought I wanted painted linen color cabs in our next house, but after seeing Senator13's kitchen I knew exactly what I wanted.

I fell in love with the QS White Oak shaker cabs at Barkers. They will have a clear varnish of some kind on them. I want them to look as natural as possible. They're beautiful and pricey, but I will have a very small kitchen in a very small house (8x10 in a 950 sqft house). So I feel like I can splurge a little bit on amazing cabs.

I think it's just personal preference. I just wish my grandpa was still alive because his house was amazing and of course the cabinets were beautiful. My husband built me a 5 foot long oak buffet with a granite top for our anniversary a couple of years ago, and it is beautiful. The drawers and doors are inset, and it was really his first attempt at 'keep forever furniture.' So DH can do it, but he also works full time, and I am too impatient to use cardboard boxes for a couple of months at our new place.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 10:39AM
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I have QS oak and love it. It is not yellow at all. The island is a clear coat not stained and the rest of the kitchen is a reddish stain.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 10:54AM
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Nope; Golden oak cabinets were outlawed by treaty in 1992, the same treaty which made it illegal to have Versailles-pattern floors. (See: Treaty of Versailles) Now punitive treaties like this often spawn unintended consequences; So now only outlaws have oak cabinets. They are the bold ones, the true inheritors of the patriotic oak flame! Quercus now and forever!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 12:03PM
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No, those are the people who are stuck in the past. : P

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 12:40PM
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Thank you all for your thoughts on this; it has brought me to rethink this and hopefully get the idea out of my mind that oak cabinets are all the poorly finished builder grade cabinets of the 80's. I have a hard time visualizing what the finished product will look like.

Our cabinetmaker is highly recommended, and I figured he would be way out of our price range, but he has worked with us and given what I consider a very fair price for his work. Sandesurf, my kitchen footprint is exactly the same as yours, even have the black stove; only difference is I have butcher block to the left of the stove. Love the color you have! The cupboards will have a very slight curve carved on the inside of the doors, but I don't think this is what they consider cathedral.

I got looking at the furniture I have and had never really thought about how much oak we have - a round oak table that DH's grandmother bought used when she came over from the "old country", an oak table my grandparents bought from the Sears catalog. We are in our 70's, so this was a long time ago! Also have an oak table that might be quarter-sawn.

So, thank you all again, am really getting excited and will trust our cabinetmaker to do a beautiful job!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:52PM
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Ogrose: DH and I both love woods, and have lots of it in our new home. We had a great builder, and a fabulous cabinet maker who has done alot of custom work in our last two homes. Our new home has oak trim with SW chestnut stain, and the cabinets are hickory also with chestnut stain. Hickory was a compromise for me. Our previous home had quarter sawn oak cabinets, floors, doors, and trim all in SW fruitwood stain, but DH really had his heart set on hickory in this kitchen, so I gave in. I do like it, but sometimes wish I could have had the oak I really wanted. I've never really worried whether our choices were the current trend, or what other people liked. We've always done what we wanted.

Old kitchen: QS Oak with SW fruitwood stain (sorry this pic is so small)

New kitchen: premium hickory with SW Chestnut stain. The cabinets are actually darker than the pic, and a bit more red.

Oak trim in new house

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:31PM
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kalapointer, that is my idea of a fantabulously beautiful, imaginative, 'natural' kitchen - I love that you have the same wood, stained/not-stained - that the red staining actualy picks up the red knobs on the stovetop ... I really, just actually love everything I see there!

And holly - thanks for all that information. I love learning about wood. In another life, a fantasy-one, I would (pun?) spend all day long working with wood. I have not worked any wood since 6th grade, really. A boy who apparently had a crush on me in HS but that I never noticed (?!) gave me a graduation present of a woodworking book ... what does it all mean? (I wonder where he is now - heck, I wonder what his *name* was??)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:42PM
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I would compromise and do QS oak with the cherry stain. My island (which is going to installed next week eeee!) is QS with a cherry stain.

To me, QS is timeless. I chose it because it reminded me of an antique table my grandma and grandpa had at their house.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:48PM
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This is beautiful!

Here is a link that might be useful: Yummy oak kitchen

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 9:07PM
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My kitchen is also QS oak, and we couldn't be happier. It reminds me so much of my grandma's mission-style home with its beautiful woodwork.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 12:51PM
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Wow is that hickory gorgeous. Really smooth looking.

I agree that it's probably the golden-ish-ness that so many people dislike. Particularly since it's almost always on the same door style.

I have lots of oak. Under all the paint I've put on. LOL But mine didn't match, so paint helped.

One concern I have, and I could be very wrong on this, is that the finishes put on lots of the natural woods will yellow. I keep reading poly and urathane, varathane (all the "thanes") yellow over time. Like shellac. I keep reading the water-based finishes do not.

So do you talk to your cabinet maker about this?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 1:18PM
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We are in the middle of renovating our kitchen and our new cabinets are QS oak. But this is also because we have a prairie style 1914 house with QS oak trim everywhere. So far we only have 2 cabinets installed so I don't have much to show, but here is a picture of one of the cabinets.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 1:59PM
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mc15, those cabinets are gorgeous and EXACTLY what i long for. Where did you get them? Must file away for future reference. Even the exposed hinges look good.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 2:46PM
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Fell in love with these gorgeous rift-sawn oak cabs. Kennebec cabinets out of Maine. I was really leaning towards quarter sawn or rift sawn oak, but cherry is winning ONLY because it works better with the other woods in our house.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 2:58PM
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Oh my. These are to me sort of the definition of gorgeous-cabinet. Makes me want to move to Maine .. no wait, I've always wanted to move to Maine....

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 3:38PM
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Interesting to see rift-sawn in something other than a contemporary style and in inset. Why couldn't you stain it in a cherry stain, deedles?

We were at Lowe's looking at Schuler for a bathroom vanity and they have rift-sawn now. The sample was a slab door stained dark.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 5:56PM
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Linelle, Thanks! We are pleased with them. Now if only our contractor could install the rest! They are from Crown Point.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 10:44PM
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I'm liking the natural cherry and how it darkens over time... we're probably going with rustic cherry as we have a rustic-ey vibe going in the house.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 12:23AM
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We just finished putting in a QS oak kitchen. Love it!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 12:34AM
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Oh, man.
I just realized the two beautiful, W1536 cabs I bought at a reuse center ($25.00 each) are quartersawn oak. Shaker style, of course,

I've always thought they were so pretty...
Now, how to I bring myself to paint them to unify all my cabinets?

Kill me.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:28PM
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If these are so beautiful, then don't paint them! Who's to say you have to have all-paint and no-wood? Could you distribute them in a way that permitted both? Either symmetrically or so one set is in one "Zone" and the other in another?

I'm of the somewhat random opinion that nice stuff trumps done-done-ness. If you've got beautiful wood cabinets, keep em beautiful: office perhaps?

I always think that painted cabinets make for a really pleasing aesthetic that is cerebral, your brain feels things are harmonious. But beautiful wood grain just settles into your gut; it soothes the soul. They're different - no need to oblate one in service of the other.

=0.02. :)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 4:48AM
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I'm thinking of ways to keep them, Aliris19. I do want them where they are.
I'm thinking that when I finally decide how to stain my (maple) butcher block countertop, I might sand these down and see if I can find a stain that coordinates well with that. The cabinet between them is getting a new face frame (it's frameless right now) and will need doors. I can make this work.

Heck. I've made stranger things work!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 10:41AM
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Christine: :)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 11:11AM
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Wow, thank you all so much! Now I've totally changed my outlook after all the gorgeous photos and information, can hardly wait to get started. Love the hickory color, and will check with the cabinet maker on the rift sawn.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 11:41AM
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