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Cherry wood cabinets can be premium or affordable

by Susanne Clemenz

Brands like Thomasville, Adelphi, and Medallion feature cherry wood cabinets among their premium designs. American settlers loved cherry wood, and it is associated with the interiors of magnificent East Coast historic homes and public buildings. Cherry wood cabinets are now popular nationwide and at several price levels.

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Cherry wood characteristics

  1. Cherry wood has a closed grain of fine gum streaks and pin knots which machines and carves with precision.
  2. Premium "curly cherry" has a wavy pattern perpendicular to the vertical grain. It displays best on door panels.
  3. Heartwood has a natural red tinge from medium to a deep reddish brown. Sapwood is from white to yellowish. This permits a wide range of finishes.
  4. Cherry wood deepens in tone as it ages.

Cherry wood is native to the United States in limited quantities. Much of today's furniture-grade cherry wood comes from the tropics. Cherry requires intensive tree management wherever it grows, making its beauty more costly.

Affordable cherry wood cabinets

You can get cherry wood cabinets at several price points, depending on construction methods and materials. Here are the higher and lower end differences:

  • Premium--The plywood case's front (face frame) is solid cherry; doors have solid cherry frames with solid cherry or cherry veneer center panels. Drawer boxes are hardwood with dovetailed joints. Heavy-duty under-box soft-stop suspension systems are used for weight-bearing drawers.
  • Basic--Particle board cases have a cherry laminate or veneer surface; face frames are cherry or other hardwood with a cherry stain, or cherry laminate. Doors have solid cherry wood frames or another hardwood stained cherry. Drawer boxes are stapled particleboard. Drawer suspension is side-mounted.

Intermediate construction methods are also available and represent a savings over premium construction cabinets. Look for sturdy upgrades such as dove-tailed drawers.

About the Author

Suzanne Clemenz designed her passive solar home and interacted with the contractors every day of the 6-month project. She started drawing floor plans and making models in the early '70s after purchasing several building lots. Recently she expanded and

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