Cherry wood - sapwood and heartwood

skeylargoSeptember 3, 2013

Not exactly sure how to ask the question ...
I really like the richness of cherry wood but not crazy about seeing a "white" line in a middle of a cabinet door or looking at the 5 piece door and have it look as if it was made from 5 different wood species.
I know I've seen pictures of cherry kitchens that did not seem to have much sapwood or at least it did not have that stark contrast. I would be doing at least medium to medium-dark stain so I know it would help to "even out" the look but the white line would bother me :(

Are some cabinet companies better at choosing and matching the wood than others? What companies are they?

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Fori is not pleased

There are different grades of cherry and you want the more expensive. :) Some cabinet lines will have different grades and some won't but will usually specify if they have sapwood or not.

You can also go with a veneer which ought to be all good stuff.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 4:41PM
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Yes medium to medium dark will help-medium dark will pretty much eliminate it.
Yes some companies are better- which? too long a list but in general as the price rises things wood grading gets better (but that is NOT a guarantee) It is best to discuss the issue with dealers while you shop around. That is make it one of your opening questions, not something you wait till your into the process.

At some point some companies will allow you to order "select" which should have no sapwood. It is an upcharge and can be as high as 20%. The more expensive the cabinet is to start with the lower the upcharge.
With my hi end brand there is an automatic 5% upcharge when ordering natural or lighter stains- they will only do those in select.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 4:52PM
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You're going to need to be looking in the expensive lines for no sapwood. Upper mid grade to upper end. Where the "average" 12x15 kitchen cabinet purchase for the never average sized kitchen is in the 15-20K (lower mid to mid), you'd be looking in the 30-40K range. And if you have a large sized kitchen rather than something 12x15, or tall ceilings with stacked cabinets and glass, you can add the + to ++ to that.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 5:05PM
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Fori - of course I want more expensive, story of my life. I always manage to pick most expensive stuff but than have to compromise and make decision of what I am willing to live with :) My husband does not want veneer.

live-wire-oak - Ouch. My kitchen is small 10X11 with only 2.5 walls of cabinets (about total 15 cabs maybe), all standard sizes, no glass etc.

Jakuvall - I am not looking at really high end, expensive cabinets but I will ask about the "select" option. I am assuming mid-range companies probably do not offer that choice.

I went to visit my friends and they have cherry cabinets shaker style with decent amount of variation and I thought that it added to the beauty of it and the rest of my family thought it looked good also but than they think that since we will have traditional style doors that the color/grain should be more uniform.
Do you think a lot of variation in the wood does not look as good in a traditional style?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 5:42PM
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We went with a medium stain (Schuler's Pecan) on cherry for precisely this reason. I'm happy with it. Is there sapwood? yes, but not a ton. Does it stand out? no.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 8:30PM
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Skeylargo- depends what you mean by mid range- need to be above KM, medallion etc to find select but don't have to get to top tier. Some in that lower mid are better than others.

Traditional- depends on taste,tolerance,(ParkerCat is fine with hers) color and door style. More detail hides more-up to a point.
If you don't want veneer and are particular then pay attention to plank width.
I am particular(fussy) but I have veneer recessed panels at home. If I had a raised panel I would have been moving up a brand because of plank width.

Many brands that offer two or three tiers of pricing will use narrower boards for panels on the less pricey line, 3-5 boards. They use the wider material on the upper end brands, 1 or 2 boards. Grading will also be better on the better brand, of course.

There are brands that do a generally good job without offering select but keep in mind they may be sorting better for light colors. Some do paints on cherry (often with distressing) so can sort the poorer boards there. Unfortunately though distressing is not as popular as it once was but a brand that does it well will sell more of it giving them a way to use poorer material.

Overall, I've had better luck with brands that are not conglomerate owned, but no hard and fast rule there.

Talk with your dealer(s), get assorted prices and evaluate the trade offs.
Keep in mind that even the best KD has no control over grading unless they can order it (as select).

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 10:37PM
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There's nothing wrong with veneer. Especially on a slab door or recessed panel. If you want a raised panel, then that's not a good choice for that. Also, with a darker stain, the sapwood will barely show. You'll be paying a large premium for very little gain. If you were doing a natural cherry, perhaps it would be worth spending the money, if you've got the money to spend on purchasing select. But, don't blow your budget on just the cabinets. If you like a warm reddish wood with some grain, there are other choices out there besides cherry. Sapele, mahogany, or lyptus would all be good choices that don't have the sapwood issue, and might be cheaper than a premium cherry.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 10:53PM
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