Cabinetry Basics #1

Previously having our own cabinet shop and now being a dealer for a worldwide cabinet company, we have become intimate with how cabinets are built. Cabinets may look good on the outside, but once you closely inspect them, the differences are quickly noted. But do you know the difference between cabinet styles? European Style This construction was originally developed in Europe. The cabinet is constructed using panels to build the box. Better construction uses ¾” marine grade plywood. The cabinet door is hinged to the interior side of the panel and the better cabinets include slow close doors and drawers. The drawers for the European style are typically bigger because there are no face frames to deal with. Also, better cabinets will have full extension under mount hardware and offer wood and stainless steel drawer box construction. The cabinet door and drawer fronts fully overlay the box with a very small reveal between the doors and drawers. The installation is easy – but the installer does have to know what they’re doing since it is very different from face-frame and inset cabinetry. Faceframe style: This is what we typically have in our homes here in Texas. With faceframe cabinetry, you have solid wood stock that is used to build the front or faceframe of the cabinetry. The manufacturer attaches the sides and back of the cabinet to the faceframe. The cabinet door is hinged on the faceframe – this is called an overlay. Again, depending on the manufacturer, European style hinges are typically standard, but some manufacturers will also offer the slow close hinges as standard or charge for these types of hinges. The actual door/drawer fronts will vary in size depending on how much or how little it overlays the face frame. This style is also the least expensive in cabinetry construction. Inset style: This type of cabinet looks much like furniture you probably have in your home. The doors are actually inset in the frame. Your manufacturer has to be very good at how they build these cabinets because the reveal is miniscule. If you are in an area with high humidity – say the coast – you probably want to consider either a very stable wood or going with the overlay faceframe style. These hinges are also set on the style of the frame – but your manufacturer will either expose the hinges, or they will be concealed – most often as slow close or European hinges. The drawers in this style are typically the smallest.

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