Oak cabinetry – Do people still choose oak?

When working with clients that may be remodeling a bathroom or a kitchen, the wood species of their cabinetry is always a priority discussion. Sometimes they want to create consistency through the home and other times they are looking for something different to add to the individual rooms character. On the new construction side of design the options for cabinet species are endless as you are starting with a blank canvas.

In the Midwest we have several types of cabinet species that are common when discussing options with our custom cabinet makers: oak, poplar, knotty alder, maple, cherry. And while you see the same species time and time again, there are options within the species to have them cut in a different way, allowing them to tell a different story. The images below are going to use Oak as an example. Often times you can use a popular species, but have it cut different to give it more of an exotic look. Oak is a hard-grained wood species, but often the most affordable. Upgrading to a different cut of Oak can sometimes be less expensive than upgrading to a higher-end wood species like Cherry depending on the quantity of cabinets you are installing.


While we are all very much over the plain sliced dark oak craze of the 80’s and the golden oak craze of the 90’s, seeing a rift-sawn oak cabinet is still very beautiful to me because it shows oak in a whole new light. In fact, I can’t wait to put it in my dream kitchen someday. It’s takes on a modern fresh look when paired with a slab front door style and mimics more expensive exotic species of wood or even bamboo.


Quarter-sawn oak creates a warm character with Craftsman charm. It is often seen paired with a simple shaker cabinet door front, oil-rubbed bronze hardware and traditional details.


I hope this blog post has allowed you to see Oak with a new perspective and gets your wheels turning on asking about different cuts available for other species as well.

Rift-Sawn image from TheWorks
Quarter-Sawn image from Showplace Wood Products