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Kitchen Cabinet Terms and Glossary

  • Adjustable Shelves - Shelves whose heights are adjustable to make room for tall and short objects. They are supported by shelf holders, such as pegs and dowel pins.Back to Top
  • Appliance Garage - A cabinet that is underneath a wall cabinet or wall diagonal cabinet used to keep items off of the countertops. Appliance garages are equipped with a flexible, sliding door or shutter that looks like a garage door.Back to Top
  • Ball Bearing Glides - Smooth gliding guides that are usually side mounted. These guides slide on small metallic balls that bear the weight of the drawer.Back to Top
  • Bamboo – Bamboo is incredibly strong but lightweight. It is also very versatile and can be used for decorative woodwork or cabinets.Back to Top
  • Base Cabinet - the cabinet box that sits on the floor. These cabinets support the countertops.Back to Top
  • Base Diagonal Corner Cabinet - A diagonal corner cabinet that fits a base corner that goes in at a 45 degree angle to provide more counter and storage space. It may feature adjustable or fixed shelves or spinning trays (lazy susan trays).Back to Top
  • Bead Board – A type of paneling that consists of thin raised stripsBack to Top
  • Birch – One of the strongest cabinet hardwoods with a distinct, moderate grain pattern that ranges from straight to wavy or curly. The predominant sapwood color is white to creamy yellow while the heartwood varies in color from medium or dark brown to reddish brown.Back to Top
  • Bridge Cabinet - Any wall cabinet that is less than 30 inches high. Commonly used over microwaves and refrigerators.Back to Top
  • Butt Doors – Door on a double door cabinet that when closed, nearly touch each other. Typically, a 1/8" gap is allowed between the butt doors. Back to Top
  • Cam Locks - A cylindrical lock or fastener commonly used for cabinets. Often there will be a male and female part. Once inserted, simply turn the metal piece 180 degrees clockwise to lock into place. Cam locks are an easy and secure way to connect cabinet panels. They are commonly found in ready-to-assemble cabinets.Back to Top
  • Corbel - A decorative bracket that can sometimes be used as a support piece for mantels, shelves, countertops and more.Back to Top
  • Carcass - The "box" or elemental parts that make up the basic structure of a base or wall cabinet piece.Back to Top
  • Cathedral - Wall cabinet door panels have an exaggerated arch while the base cabinets are usually square.Back to Top
  • Center Stile- Vertical strips of wood that divide cabinets for extra support and durability. Usually seen on larger width cabinets.Back to Top
  • Cherry – An elegant, multi-colored hardwood, which may contain small knots and pin holes. Natural or light stains accent these color variations making a distinctive statement in a full kitchen. Like a good wine, Cherry wood will naturally darken or "mellow" with age and will look richer over time.  Exposure to natural light will hasten this process, which wood lovers consider a natural benefit to owning solid cherry cabinetry.Back to Top
  • Concealed hinge - a hinge that is not visible on the front of a cabinet door. Concealed hinges are attached to the inside surface of the door.Back to Top
  • Crown Molding -In general, this is any molding that is applied to the top of wall cabinets. It provides a decorative, finished look.Back to Top
  • Dado - a groove that is cut into a piece of material so that another piece may slide into it. The inside surface of cabinet drawers may be 'dadoed' with a groove to accept the drawer bottom panel which helps make for a stronger joint between the drawer side and bottom panels.Back to Top
  • Decorative Doors/Dummy Doors - Fake doors that have the same door style as the cabinets. They are usually installed on the side of the end cabinets or on the back of an island or peninsula. These cabinetry moldings are designed to look like doors, but do not actually open.Back to Top
  • Dentil Molding -Any trim molding with a tooth-like pattern.Back to Top
  • Dishwasher Panel - A finished panel used to cover the exposed side of a dishwasher. This panel looks like the finished side of a cabinet and provides support for the countertop.Back to Top
  • DIY - Do it yourself.Back to Top
  • Dovetail - Woodworked joints that are used to connect drawer sides to the drawer face without the use of exposed hardware. These joints are known for their durability. The wood is cut in a series of angled portions that look like dove tails. These “tails” interlock and are difficult to separate once attached.Back to Top
  • Drawer front - The panel that is attached to the front of a drawer box. It is also referred to as the 'drawer face and is the visible front part of the drawer that the handle/knob is attached to.Back to Top
  • Dummy Doors/ Decorative Doors - Fake doors that have the same door style as the cabinets. They are usually installed on the side of the end cabinets or on the back of an island or peninsula. These cabinetry moldings are designed to look like doors, but do not actually open.Back to Top
  • End Panels- Usually used next to dishwashers or refrigerators. They will have a 1 ½” – 3” stile (filler) on the front to give the appliance a ‘built-in’ look.Back to Top
  • Engineered wood - A wood product that is manufactured to enhance the overall qualities of the wood material itself or, to salvage byproducts of wood processing into useful material.Back to Top
  • Epoxy Coated Glides - A fast drying white protective coating that is baked into hardware metal guides. It is low VOC and can be used for sidemount and undermount hardware.Back to Top
  • Exposed hinge - a hinge type that is visible on the outside edge of the cabinet door when the door is closed.Back to Top
  • Face frame - the wood frame that is attached to the front edges of the top, bottom and sides of the cabinet box. The door gets hinged to the face frame. This frame helps provide rigidity to the box. Cabinet designs that incorporate this feature are called "framed" or "face-frame" cabinets.Back to Top
  • Filler Strip - A finished strip of wood usually three or six inches wide used to fill spaces between cabinets or between cabinets and walls. These can normally be cut to size if necessary.Back to Top
  • Finish - the surface coating that is applied to a wood cabinet surface. The finish is typically made up of several layers of different materials such as a stain, sealer and clearcoat. The finish is a key element in maintaining and protecting the beauty and durability of the cabinets.Back to Top
  • Fluted -Grooves or routings adorned in wood to add detail or accent finishes. Commonly seen as fluted fillers.Back to Top
  • Framed - a cabinet design that uses a 'face-frame' which is typically a wood frame attached to the front edges of the cabinet box (where the door gets hinged to).Back to Top
  • Frameless - a cabinet design that does not use a frame on the front outside edges of the cabinet box. The front of the cabinet box is formed by the edges of the top, bottom and side panels of the cabinet box. The cabinet door typically covers these edges when closed.Back to Top
  • Full Extension Glides - Hardware that provides full-access to drawers and allows the drawer to pass the face frame.Back to Top
  • Full Overlay - A cabinet design whereby the cabinet door or drawer front covers the entire face frame so that only the cabinet door is seen with no part of the face frame visible. A cabinet is also considered full-overlay when the reveal is less than ¼ inch.Back to Top
  • Galley Kitchen - A kitchen design that consists of two parallel counters, one with two of the three work triangle appliances and the other with one.Back to Top
  • Glass Rack - A glass rack can be placed under any wall cabinet but is usually mounted under a wine rack. It holds any type of stemware.Back to Top
  • Glazing - The act of adding thin layers of color to make wood more shiny and glossy or for two-toned contrast.Back to Top
  • G-Shaped Kitchen - The most elaborate standard kitchen design, G-shaped kitchens are like U-shaped ones but with a peninsula at one of the ends. These kitchens have the maximum amount of space for preparation, storage and dining.Back to Top
  • Half Overlay/Partial Overlay - A cabinet design whereby the cabinet door or drawer front partially overlaps the face frame. When the drawers/doors are closed, more than ¼ inch of the face frame remains visible.Back to Top
  • Hickory- A strong, open grained wood known for its flowing grain pattern and dramatic variation in color—a “wood lover’s wood”. It’s not uncommon to see doors or parts of doors that range in color from light to a deep brown when finished in a light or natural stain. Darker stains will mildly tone these color variations while knots and mineral streaks can also be evident in the finish. End grain is open and will often telegraph the finish. These characteristics are what make each Hickory cabinet and kitchen unique, while crossing a variety of designs.Back to Top
  • Inset - a cabinet design whereby the doors fit inside of the face frame when closed (rather than overlapping and sitting on top of the face frame).Back to Top
  • Island Panel - Large finished panel used to finish the back of cabinets for an island or peninsula. It can also be cut to size to be used anywhere in the kitchen where needed.Back to Top
  • Lazy Susan - An easy-reach base cabinet that has two spinning trays inside. This cabinet also has two doors hinged together and is placed at a 90 degree angle in order to allow maximum storage space. Occasionally, lazy susan cabinets will feature a single 45 degree angled door.Back to Top
  • Light Rail Molding - Molding underneath cabinets for decoration or to cover under-cabinet light fixtures.Back to Top
  • L-Shaped Kitchen - A kitchen designed in the shape of an L, two connecting sides with a corner cabinet in the center.Back to Top
  • Maple - A strong wood that is mostly off-white in its raw state. Hard maple is somewhat uniform in appearance, making it ideal for smooth, clean looks. It is usually straight-grained but can be wavy or even curly. Hard maple contains light hues of yellow-brown and pink and occasionally light tan or reddish-tinged streaks that will darken with stain. Burling, bird's eye markings and grain variations may also be inherent in maple cabinets.  Maple is a popular selection for a more even-toned wood species. You can even mix finishes and wood species to create a more eclectic room.Back to Top
  • Medium density fiberboard (MDF) - a wood-based product that's produced by the combination of very small wood fibers and a glue, resin or similar bonding agent. MDF can be more easily shaped than products like particle board due to the consistency of the material formed by the small fibers. MDF can be used for shelves, doors (typically painted or covered with melamine) and other cabinet parts. It is very dense and resists warping. It is commonly seen in the center panels of recessed cabinet door styles (like a Shaker door) to prevent warping and cracking of the center panel during the wood’s natural expansion and contraction throughout the year.Back to Top
  • Melamine - a durable plastic, similar to laminate that can be applied to certain areas of cabinets. It is easy to clean and resists stains, chipping and fading.Back to Top
  • Miter - A woodworking joint where two beveled pieces adjoin to make a 90 degree angle.Back to Top
  • Molding- Any of variously long, decorative pieces (commonly 8’ in length) that adds finishing detail.Back to Top
  • Mortise and Tenon - a means of wood joinery that involves part of one piece being inserted into a notch or hole in the mating piece. A typical mortise and tenon joint has a square protrusion coming off the end of one piece that fits tightly into a square 'hole' or notch in the piece it's joined to. The pieces that make up the outer frame of a cabinet door might be joined using this technique.Back to Top
  • Mullion - Mullions are glass window dividers inside cabinet doors and provide support.Back to Top
  • Oak - A prominent, open grain that ranges in color from white, to yellow, to reddish brown. Sometimes streaked with green, yellow or black mineral deposits, red oak’s strong grain often varies from closely knit to a distinctive, sweeping arch pattern. Its timeless beauty blends with many different designs.Back to Top
  • Ogee - An architectural shape consisting of a concave arch leading into a convex one.Back to Top
  • Outside Corner Molding -A molding used to cover unfinished corners where the skin meets the cabinet edge. Commonly used to finish the back edges of islands.Back to Top
  • Oven Cabinet - A tall cabinet for built-in ovens. They come in single or double compartments to house single or double ovens or a combination of an oven and a microwave.Back to Top
  • Overlay - Overlay refers to the amount of face frame that is covered by the cabinet door or drawer front.Back to Top
  • Partial overlay/Half Overlay - A cabinet design whereby the cabinet door or drawer front partially overlaps the face frame. When the drawers/doors are closed, more than ¼ inch of the face frame remains visible.Back to Top
  • Particle board - a wood product made up of very small wood pieces and fragments that are fused together with a glue or resin under mechanical pressure.Back to Top
  • Peninsula - An extension from an existing counter or a wall. Peninsulas only have three exposed sides and do not require as much space for clearance as islands do.Back to Top
  • Pilaster - Decorative and rectangular columns that are used to support bar or countertop extensions.Back to Top
  • Plywood - an all wood product made up of several layers of wood with the grain direction running at different angles with respect to each other. This orientation gives plywood greater strength and stability in comparison to solid wood. It reduces the tendency of wood to split when nailed at the edges and reduces expansion and shrinkage, providing improved dimensional stability.Back to Top
  • Quarter Round Molding - A molding used between cabinets and flooring to cover gaps. A scribe molding may be used instead for smaller gaps.Back to Top
  • Rail - the horizontal pieces of a face frame or door frame (in contrast to a "stile" which is the vertical member of the frame).Back to Top
  • Raised Panel - Doors that have slightly raised center panels.Back to Top
  • Recessed Panel – Door style where the center panel is inset or recessed. A common example is a Shaker door style.Back to Top
  • Reveal - The exposed portion between the end of the cabinet face frame and the door.Back to Top
  • Roll Out Tray - Trays installed in base cabinets or pantries instead of the shelves that come with the cabinets. The trays pull out of the cabinets providing easier access to items.Back to Top
  • RTA – Ready To AssembleBack to Top
  • Scribe Molding - A small, thin molding used to cover gaps where the cabinet meets the wall or floor. It provides a finished and uniform look.Back to Top
  • Self-Closing Drawers - Drawers that have mechanisms or magnets that guide the drawer closed. These are not soft-closing.Back to Top
  • Shaker Style – Simple cabinetry door style that has a recessed panel design.Back to Top
  • Sidemounted Glides - Drawer hardware that is mounted on the side of the drawer.Back to Top
  • Skin - Skins are ¼ inch panels that are used to cover unfinished backs and sides. They can also be applied to the side panels of cabinets to cover scratches or cuts (also see End Panels).Back to Top
  • Slab Front- A flat door panel with no design, moldings, recessed or raised areas. Commonly gives a more contemporary appearance.Back to Top
  • Soft-Close Drawers- Drawers containing a piston that respond to various levels of pressure and weight, absorbing the impact and closing the door slowly and safely.Back to Top
  • Stile - the vertical pieces of a face frame or door frame (in contrast to the "rails" which are the horizontal pieces of the frame).Back to Top
  • Thermofoil - A flexible vinyl that is formed over a wood or wood-product substrate and bonded to the substrate. Thermofoil provides a surface that's easy to clean due to the low-maintenance requirements of the vinyl material.Back to Top
  • Toe kick - the bottom piece of a base cabinet that is recessed several inches from the front surface of the cabinet to allow room for a person's feet when standing in front of the cabinet.Back to Top
  • Trim - Materials used for decoration around the edges of cabinets.Back to Top
  • Undermount Glides - Drawer hardware that is mounted underneath the drawer. Undermount guides can usually carry more weight than sidemount guidesBack to Top
  • U-Shaped Kitchen - U-shaped kitchens allow for the maximum amount of base and wall cabinets. They are shaped like a U, having three sides.Back to Top
  • Valance - A decorative, flat molding piece used as a decoration or as a bridge between two cabinets. It is generally placed above sinks and windows.Back to Top
  • Varnish - A typically clear paint-like material applied as a coating to provide a protective finish.Back to Top
  • Veneer - thin layers of wood applied to plywood or MDF before it’s treated with stain. Veneers can be used on the sides of exposed cabinets (for example, on the end of a run of cabinets) and on the interior surfaces of cabinet boxes.Back to Top
  • Wall cabinet - cabinet boxes that are mounted to the wall.Back to Top
  • Work Triangle - An ergonomic diagram that aids kitchen designers in remodeling a kitchen based on spatial planning and functionality. The three points of the triangle are sink, refrigerator and stove/oven.Back to Top