Useful Knowledge About Cabinetry, Design, and Installation

Installation tips

54 from the floor

The height at which the bottom of wall cabinets are hung in most codes across the country.

Toe Kick

The toe kick notch varies from brand to brand. If you are replacing existing cabinets and not replacing the floor checking the toe kick depth is important. If the existing toe kick is shallower then the cabinet can be cut to fit into the footprint. If the old cabinets were deeper then ¼ round or ¾” fillers can be used to cover the gap.

Blind corner cabinets

You need to remember that blind corner cabinets need to be pulled at least 3” from the corner so that the doors and drawers will not collide with the cabinet on the adjacent wall. If the adjacent item is a range or dishwasher, the pull will have to be at least 6”!

Two-piece crown

A two-piece crown is the best way to connect cabinets to the ceiling. Whether large or small having one riser board running the top of the cabinets and then an angled board connecting the riser to the ceiling it is easier to compensate for the variation in the ceiling heights.

Scribe the cabinet side

Adding a piece of scribe to the edge of a cabinet face frame will keep the door edges from scraping when a cabinet is put up to a wall and when a 12” cabinet is attached to the side of a 24” deep face frame cabinet it will keep the vertical alignment correct.

Farm Sinks

Also known as apron sinks have become more popular lately. With face frame cabinets it is important to have 3” more cabinet than the sinks’ width. In addition, it is important to be sure that the height of the sink apron works with the available space on farm sink cabinets face frame. In addition, sinks that do not bolt directly to the bottom of the countertop will need to have a seat made to hold its weight including when it is full of water. An 80-pound porcelain sink can weigh up to 175 pounds when fully loaded. Installing ¾” plywood the depth of the sink and the width of the cabinet supported with ¾” upright supports on the left and right of the cabinet will give sufficient strength.


These are some of the terms that we use on a regular basis in the cabinet industry. We’ve put them all in one place to that you can get acquainted with them if you are not already.


All Wood Construction: In the cabinet industry, the term all wood construction means that there is no furniture/particle board in the cabinets make up. It does not mean solid wood as solid wood is too unstable and is prone to warping and splitting. Overall, the all the term means that the boxes are made of plywood and the fronts and doors are made of wood although some of the doors may be made of veneered or painted MDF or HDF.


Blind Corner Cabinet: A cabinet that fits into a corner that had limited access to the section of the cabinet heading to the adjacent wall.

Bumpons: The round plastic pads that attach to the back of doors and drawers to keep wood surfaces from banging. Sometimes called silencers.


Centerline: The midpoint location of an item (pipe, outlet, appliance, sink, etc.) from a fixed location usually a wall corner or end.

Code: The building laws that govern construct which in many areas corresponds to the National Building Standards but also varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Check with your local building department if you have questions about the standards in your area.

Concealed Hinge: A cabinet build where the hinge is attached to the inside edge of the face frame and to the back of the door. This type of cabinet construction hides the hinge from outside of the cabinet. Six-way adjustable concealed hinges are standard on our cabinets.


Distressing: A technique where small indentions, notches, scuffs, etc., are made in the wood to produce an aged look.

Drawer: The composition of all the items below to make the drawer system.

Dovetail: A construction method used to reinforce the joining of two perpendicular parts. Wooden cabinet drawer boxes are commonly dovetailed. The dovetailed constructed drawers of our built cabinets are one of the strongest in the industry.

Drawer Bottom: The inside bottom piece of cabinet drawers.

Drawer Front: The face of the drawer that coordinates with the door style.

Drawer Guides (slides, glides): The hardware installed on drawers that supports the gliding motion of the drawer. The specific drawer guide used varies depending on the drawer construction selected.


End Panel: The wood panel on the outside (left or right side) of a base cabinet also referred to as ends, sides and side panels. This is the outside vertical cabinet member, supporting horizontal parts.


Face Frame: In framed cabinets there is a solid wood frame tying together the front of the cabinet and gives location to attach the doors and drawers. The part that holds the front of the cabinet together is called the face frame.

Filler: A piece used to fill any gaps in cabinetry design that is not filled by cabinets to make the design fit the room precisely.

Five-piece drawer head: This means that the drawer head is built more like a door and has a style and rail frame with a center panel.

Flat Panel: A recessed center panel to a door or drawer design conveying Transitional, Shaker, or Arts and Crafts styling.

Framed Cabinets: The traditional framed cabinet has a front frame around the cabinet opening to which the door is attached. These are the most popular type of cabinets in the U.S. and are easier to install than frameless cabinetry because of their recessed end panels and rigid front frame. Framed cabinets are available in Traditional and Full Overlay styling which are explained below. Framed construction utilizes glue, staple and dowel or screw construction.

Frameless Cabinets: Frameless, or European-style cabinets, have no front frame. The doors are attached directly to the sides of the cabinet. Frameless cabinets, which are more contemporary in style, offer the advantage of completely unobstructed access to the cabinet interior because there is no front frame. Frameless construction utilizes pin and dowel construction.

Full Extension Drawer Guide: Cabinet drawer glides that allow the drawer to be completely extended to the back of the drawer. Full extension drawers provide complete access to the depth of the drawer box when opening the cabinet drawer.

Full Overlay: Cabinet door styles that cover most of the face frame, giving prominence to the door and drawer design.


Glaze Finish: An additional furniture finish treatment that is applied to improve a standard stain, enhance door detail and even-out wood species variation.

Glazing: A finishing process purposely creating an uneven, inconsistent look by applying an accent stain over the entire door and then wiping off, leaving a "hang-up" of light to dark tones in the corners, door grooves, and wood grains creating an overall glazed look.

Grain: Natural pattern of growth in wood; the grain runs lengthwise of the trees; therefore, the strength is the greatest in that direction.


Hardwood: Wood of broad-leaved trees; oak, maple, ash, walnut, poplar; contrasted to the softwood of the needle-leaved trees: pine, fir, spruce, hemlock.

Highlighting: A technique which removes some of the stain between the grains to highlight wood color.


Knotholes: Voids produced where knots have dropped out of veneer or lumber.


Laminate: To bind together a series of layers of wood, plastic, or other material; as a noun, a piece made of layers of wood, plastic, or other material, bonded together by gluing or other process.

Lazy Susan Tray: Trays made or wood, plastic, or metal that are round in shape and attached to a swivel bearing that allow the contents of a cabinet to be rotated on the tray from the front to the back.

M / N

Maple: Hard maple is a strong, close-grained wood that is predominantly off-white in color; although it also contains light hues of yellow-brown and pink. Hard maple occasionally contains light tan or small dark mineral streaks.

MDF: Medium density fiberboard. This is a dimensionally stable product that is used most often in the construction of door and drawer center panels to reduce the risk of fine cracking due to changes in temperature and humidity. Some manufacturers make the entire door of MDF (HDF) to avoid hairline cracks all together. The drawback is that the MDF tends to dent easier which can cause chipping in the paint finish.

Mineral Streaks: Olive, black, or brown discoloration of wood, caused by oxidation and other chemical changes.

Mitered: A joint made by cutting the door frame style and rail pieces at 45-degree angles and fitting the pieces together. They can either be flat or raised panel.

Molding: Trim pieces that come as individual 8-10’ lengths that are used to give a finished look to the cabinets. There are moldings to the top and bottom of wall cabinets and some items for base cabinets too.


Onlay: A decoratively carved wood ornament applied to cabinet surfaces used to embellish the design.

Overlay: The amount of the cabinet face frame covered by the door.


Partial extension drawer glides:  Cabinet drawer glides that allow the drawer to be various amounts out of the cabinet and vary from 7/8-3/4. The are sometimes also known as full access they allow the back of the drawer to be touched easily.

Plywood: A construction material made of thin layers of wood glued and pressed together.

Pull: The term used to describe the distance a blind wall or blind base cabinet can be moved (or pulled) from the adjacent wall.

Pull: Cabinet hardware used as handles on doors and drawers requiring 2 or more holes to attach it.


Rail: The horizontal pieces of frames, such as face frames and door frames.

Raised Panel: A term used to describe a door style where a thick center panel is machined to be flush with the door frame, thus giving the depth appearance by the sloping "raise" of the panel.

Recessed Panel: A term used to describe a door style where a thinner panel is inserted into the grooves of the wood door frame that gives a "recessed" appearance, i.e., flat panel. A flat panel held inside the perimeter of a door. A flat panel recesses between the stiles and rails.

Reveal: The amount of the face frame or box exposed by the door.

Reversed raised panel: This is where the center panel is a raised panel with the raised panel pointed to the inside of the cabinet. This adds weight and strength to the cabinet which gives a better quality feel to the product.

Roll out tray: Basically drawers that are added to base and tall cabinets that fit behind doors. They give more versatility to cabinets as the height can be installed as selected whereas a drawer base has a fixed location. In addition the give more space since there is no rail to reduce the height of the opening. The drawback is you have to open the door(s) first.


Scribe: A thing molding usually ¼ x ¾ with one edge rounded over. These moldings have a variety of uses including:

  • Covering the gap between the wall and cabinet to give a more finished look without the use of caulk
  • Terminating a toe kick cover so that the raw wood doesn’t show.
  • Running the top edge of a cabinet if it's pushed up to an irregular soffit.
  • Spacers to add to the side of a face frame when a 12” deep cabinet attaches to the side of a 24” cabinet, panel, or wall.

Semi-Custom Cabinets: The advantage of semi-custom cabinets is that they are constructed after you place the order selecting one of the designs. They offer greater freedom in size, shape or modification to the cabinets. Due to their large and developed ordering systems, semi-custom cabinet manufacturers make cabinets according to your needs if they can fulfill them. In other words, while stock cabinets are mass-produced, semi-custom can be altered to fit and custom are built on individual specifications.

Shaker: A minimalistic door style attributed to the “Shaker” society that is demonstrated by a flat panel and square style and rail around the perimeter without ornamental detail.

SKU: Stock Keeping Unit – each item, size, and part is identified as a SKU.

Slab: Slab doors are flat with most often square edges. They are most often found in modern design but have in the past also associated with inexpensive builders’ cabinets. Today’s modern slab doors tend to be on the high side of the price scale.

Soffit: A soffit or “bulkhead” is the area between a ceiling and the top of wall cabinets and usually 12 inches high and extending out over the wall cabinets.

Solid Wood: A door with a solid wood center panel is comprised of boards that are joined or glued together to form the width of the center panel. Because natural woods have variations in color and grain pattern from board to board, these variations will be apparent in a solid wood door. Predictably, a solid wood door is more expensive than a veneered door. Learn more about wood characteristics.

Stile: The vertical pieces of frames and door frames.

Stock Cabinets: Stock cabinets are good to use and last a lifetime. Stock cabinets are made in bulk by the manufacturers, available at competitive prices due to their volume and offer customer an affordable choice. They are available in ready-to-buy and install capacity.


Touch-up kit: A 2-part kit that generally includes a wax stick for filling nail holes and an in pen to hide minor blemishes.

Toe Kick: A term used to describe the recessed cut out area at the bottom of base, tall and vanity cabinets. It is also referred to as a toe space. Finished material attached to the cabinet toe space is referred to as "Toe Kick" or Toe Space Cover

Traditional: Traditional door styles can be either flat or raised panel and have simple style and rail detail using quarter round and ogee details.

Transitional: Transitional doors can be either traditional doors, but add unusual details like extra flats, long bevels, and/or other unusual details.


Veneer: A veneer is a thin piece (1/32 of an inch) of solid wood which is attached with glue to a substrate (usually “particleboard” in raised panel doors and “hardboard” in flat or recessed panel doors). Veneered components are more uniform in finish and grain consistency. Veneered center panels in doors provide stability by minimizing its shrinking and expansion in dry and moist climates thereby eliminating cracking and splitting. J&K Cabinets do not use any veneer.


Wood Grain: Seasonal growth patterns revealed as patterns and fissures in wood.

Wood Species: Different types of hardwoods or softwoods. Examples are maple, oak, cherry, mahogany, alder and birch.