Owners of walnut cabinets - please help me with a question

dkotovApril 9, 2013

I am ready to order my cabinets but the cabinet maker is asking whether I would want veneer slab on the drawer faces or wood? If we do veneer, the inside will be flat, if wood then they put a wood piece ( don't know the exact name of it ) on the inside of the drawer face - I guess it's better but looks bulky.

Our cabinets are full overlay slab doors.

What do you have on your drawers? Thank you!

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Sophie Wheeler

Bookmatched veneer on everything. That will let the grain flow across the doors and drawers as a whole.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 9:05PM
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The piece on the inside is called a batten and it's used for cabinets made of real wood so they don't warp because of temperature fluctuations. One of my previous kitchens had battens on the back of the doors and I didn't care for them because they encroach on the interior cabinet space.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 9:22PM
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I have book matched veneer as well. Stunning and high quality if your cab maker can do it.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 9:23PM
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Thank you all!

So what are you saying is that the cabinets doors will be real wood but the drawers faces matched veneer? I am afraid how they'll match the grain and color well.

jerzeegirl: so what you are saying is that the battens will take some of the interior space but not too much?
Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 1:09PM
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Veneer is real wood, real walnut, it is a thin sheet of wood. A good cabinet maker can match the grain exactly. Some people opt not to have the grain book matched, that looks great too. Solid walnut doesn't make a lot of sense financially (it will cost a fortune) or probably environmentally too. Veneer cabinets done well are as good quality, or better, than solid wood. I can't access my photos right now, but I've pasted a link to my reveal thread, you can see my book matched walnut veneer cabinets.

I'm told it is tough to do solid wood slab panels due to concerns with warping, hence the battens to reinforce I guess. Both could be good quality, but you lose space with battens.

Here is a link that might be useful: Book matched walnut veneer slab cabinets

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 1:30PM
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Veneer can stain lighter than solid wood. Whatever your doors are made from, do the same on the drawers. I can email u a photo of a walnut door with a recessed drawer that has veneer.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 1:55PM
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Thank you both! The doors will be solid - I guess my concern is how much space the battens are taking - do they look ugly in the inside?

Please share your pics

Sochi - I love your kitchen! Great job! Have you decided on the backsplash or nothing on the wall?
I will have the same palette but wanted a green backsplash to warm up the kitchen and not to look to ultra sleek modern

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 1:32PM
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My kitchen isn't finished yet, but I've included a photo so you can see natural walnut veneer, full overlay, vertically bookmatched.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 4:50AM
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I wanted solid wood in the kitchen. The bookmatched walnut veneer in my living room is getting chipped from hard use, and we are hard users of the kitchen. So we used a cheaper wood, lyptus, and stained it dark walnut. We have battens as well, and I was surprised...they don't really take up space in the cabinets the way I would have expected.

Whatever you do, keep it consistent. If the drawers are solid, get the doors solid. But you should have as many drawers as humanly possible.

Here's our walnut:

Here's our lyptus:

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:05AM
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Veneer is the way to go for flat work. In terms of stain taking differently from solid to veneer, that is very true when talking about commercially available veneer ( veneer that is already layed up on an mdf core. ) Commercial veneer ( most veneers that you see in kitchens ) are insanely thin, around 1/40th of an inch.
If your cabinetmaker knows how to veneer he could use "raw veneer", straight off the tree, much much thicker and will get you a good stain match between itself and solid stock.
Raw veneer comes in lengths just like boards and are actually joined together almost like a tailor lays out cloth. So the maker can make bookmatch, slipmatch, diamonds or whatever pattern you desire.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 1:34PM
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Thank you all! I need to make a decision soon - it will take 10 weeks for them to make them so next week is my dead line to give them an answer.

Youngdeb: Can you share a pic of your battens - how they look inside of the drawer? Thank you!

I will have 6 big 30" drawers on both side of the range and 3 drawers on the island.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 5:47PM
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We have solid walnut cabinets that are not bookmatched for obvious reasons :-) We have a very small kitchen, tiny compared to those here and the upcharge was minimal. I think that may have had a lot to do with the person making the cabinets who was extremely excited about the challenge and who loves walnut. We live in a very arid environment and so don't have to deal with extreme fluctuations in humidity between summer and heating season. He did not put battens on the garbage pullout and that has warped slightly in the past 2.5 years and so he's working on that. All of our drawers have the solid wood face on the plywood drawer box.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 9:56AM
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Thank you for the picture! The batten doesn't look too bad :) I will go with all solid then - will talk to the cabinet maker tomorrow.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 2:08PM
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