Opinions on cabinet door sample

drybeanDecember 21, 2012

Some of you may remember my last post asking for advice for what type of wood for my MCM inspired slab cabinets.

Show him pics of walnut, which I can not afford.
This is what he came back to me with. It's poplar, with a coffee stain. He will do all horizontal grains,with matching grains across cabinets.
What do you guys think?

It has battens on inside, as well as a routed stability plate at top and bottom. (Not sure what it is really called).

This is the look I'm going for.
From houzz.

The battens are larger than what I thought. I only have 8 doors, including the sink base. Rest are drawers.

This post was edited by drybean on Fri, Dec 21, 12 at 19:43

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Fori is not pleased

LIKE! Doesn't look like walnut but looks good being itself.

Poplar might be a tad soft, though. Beat up your sample a bit before you commit. That's solid, right? Yeah I like that. Poplar ought to get more respect. It is not an unattractive wood and deserves better than paint. :)

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 9:11PM
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Beautiful! Happy to see someone else using poplar. We love ours. It takes a dark stain really well.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 9:32PM
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Sophie Wheeler

If you want a more linear look and less less of the arch grain pattern, then look at rift sawn or quarter sawn instead of plain sawn wood.

However, your inspiration pic is of veneer cabinets, and that will be the only way to truly get that look. Veneer is preferable for slab cabinet construction as the particle board substrate is much more stable and doesn't require the battens. If you choose a solid wood slab door, be sure that you always use a humidifier in the winter and the AC in the summer to keep the relative humidity from 20-50% or you can get splitting, even with the battens.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 10:07PM
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Fori-thank you. I do intend to manhandle it a bit, to ensure how it holds up.
It is solid wood. I keep going back and forth over whether that is a good or bad thing given the door style.

Modern_mom-thank you! It was actually your kitchen that gave me the confidence to move forward with poplar. Do your slab pieces have battens inside?

holly- I keep going back and forth between veneer and solid. I understand the preference for veneer for slab doors, but I worry about the edges holding up. We are quite hard on things. We live in Southern California. Do you still think that the humidifier is necessary given our mild climate? I can't deal with high need cabinets. If that is the case I will probably opt for the walnut veneer from scherrs.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 11:18PM
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It's so hard to tell. One picture is really red, another is very brown. If the outdoor non-flash picture is accurate, I think it might be too red for my taste. Do they have a walnut stain?

Took a phone pic of my battens so you could see what ours look like. They are pretty big, but don't take up room in the cabinet as I feared. I haven't run into them once.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 9:34AM
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Fori is not pleased

I think you're probably okay in climateless southern CA. Do you (or anyone you know) have hardwood floors (or old slab cabinets even)? Floor behavior may be an indication of what your climate does to wood. My floors are as perfectly squished together as they were 60 years ago. But I've lived in places with weather where the wood floors were definitely living breathing entities that changed with the seasons.

No door is perfect--you have to pick your weakness. I'm afraid of using veneer in kitchen slabs myself (but I do love the idea of connecting grains across cabinets--darn). So I will probably do like you're doing. My climate is also bland.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 1:18PM
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Poplar is really soft. Personally, I would never consider it for kitchen cabinets. I have an old, old chest of drawers that I refinished years ago so I'm familiar with how soft the wood can be...although that can vary from tree to tree.

Anyway, I'm linking to the Janka scale so you can get some perspective. Poplar is way down the list near the bottom.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tiny Timbers/ Janka Scale

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 1:59PM
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Veneer is a perfectly functional choice for even a hard use kitchen if it's done properly. Done improperly, solid wood or veneer from a hack won't last no matter what. And I have some concerns about that "batten" that he's managed to create there. As well as the finishing of the door. It lacks depth. It puts the rest of his skills into question.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 2:24PM
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Youngdeb-they are two different colors on the front and back. Very observant, you are. :) the darker one, on the front, is the one I like better. It blends the curved portion of the grain better. But yes,I can see there'd now that you mention it. Your battens are so much smaller!

Fori-we have the original HW floors in this house. They seem pretty good, but there are definitely places where it squeaks. Don't know if that's due to change in weather though? We live in the foothills, so it does get more temp swings than it would if we were by the coast...,

Ci_lantro-hmmm. Good info. Thank you. I'm reconsidering the poplar. Not so much for the softness, but more because I'm not sure it is exactly what I really want.

GreenDesigns-thanks for your feedback. He did point out to me that the finish was not great-he said it was because he was rushing to turn the sample around for me. The battens, however, don't have the same excuse, I believe...
I'm reconsidering doing the ikea boxes nd scherrs walnut doors.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 10:05PM
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So he brought out another sample of the poplar In a satin finish which I like much more than the semi gloss of the one above.

installed, his price comes out *less* than the Ikea abstrakt with a walnut island. I'm torn on what to do. GC thinks we should go custom, but then I am foregoing the high gloss white perimeter/ walnut look I want. It would be all wood. We live in CA and I don't think he can match the paint factory finish due to environmental regulations, so I am uneasy about doing white painted perimeter.

This post was edited by drybean on Sat, Dec 29, 12 at 15:04

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Any custom cabinet maker who prices himself lower than Ikea is either a very poor businessman or a very poor cabinet maker.

Going custom and not getting what you really want shouldn't even be an option. Yes, everyone is on a budget. But really, the #1 regret that people have who've renovated their kitchen is that they didn't spend a little more and get some of the things that they truly wanted.

If budget is biting you hard, I'd suggest putting in Ikea boxes and doors now, and then saving up and doing the custom doors later. You get functional now, and can have the look you really want down the line.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 2:55PM
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Going custom and not getting what you really want shouldn't even be an option

Thank you for saying that. It really clarified the issue for me. I decided to do the Ikea doors mixed with custom walnut doors on the island, even though it is costing me more.
I don't want to settle when the price gap is that close.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 7:57PM
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