Cabinet Wood Species Explained

Wood Species


Alder is an even textured hardwood with a soft, straight grain, similar to Cherry and Maple. Alder is naturally a pale color, with reddish-brown, tan or yellow notes. It accepts stain well. Alder is a versatile wood, with natural small pin knots and rays as characteristics. Alder will lighten with age and exposure to light.


Birch is a medium hardwood with a straight grain and a fine texture. Similar in appearance to Maple, but accepts stain unevenly due to various density changes in the wood. Not recommended for darker stains, but is a good base or light, solid color finishes.


Beech is a heavy and strong wood, with good strength properties and an even, fine texture. It has a fine, tight grain that accepts stains well. Beech has a density that is similar to Maple. It is often steamed during the drying process to bring out a pinkish-red color in the naturally lighter wood. Beech may have light mineral streaking.


Cherry is a moderately hard wood, with medium density and reddish undertones. Generally has a fine texture with a straight grain, although it can have naturally occurring small knots, pitch marks and worm holes. Cherry accepts stain well, and is known for being especially sensitive to both natural and artificial light, causing the wood to darken and redden over time. 


Hickory is a tough and dense wood, known for its strength and highly contrasting light and dark streaks. It is a dense wood with a medium coarse texture. Hickory accepts stain evenly, and certain stains will amplify the vivid grain patterns. The finished look is usually described as “natural” or “rustic”.


Maple is a heavy, fine textured wood with a smooth and even grain. It is a dense wood, with a smooth, uniform appearance. Occasionally Maple will contain slight mineral streaks that tend to darken with stains, and darker stains may appear blotchy. Maple is quite versatile and works well in many styles and finishes.


Oak is an extremely strong hard wood, with a coarse texture. The texture of the wood will vary depending on the age of the wood. It has an open grain pattern that is very evident when a solid color finish is applied. Oak accepts stain well, and may include random knots and mineral deposits.

Rustic/Knotty Woods

Wood species with natural random characteristics, such as Alder and Cherry, will frequently have a separate sub-category listed as “Rustic” or “Knotty”. This sub-category will feature lumber selected with more of these natural elements, such as knots, wormholes or mineral streaks, for added character. 

Quarter-Sawn Oak

Quarter-Sawn Oak is a very stable wood known for its prominent high ray fleck that exhibits a beautiful grain pattern. It has a uniform straight grain structure.

Painted Finishes

Craftwood (R. D. Henry Exclusive)

Craftwood doors and drawer fronts are 1-Piece MDF construction. This eliminates the potential for cracked joints on doors and fronts. However, Craftwood has a limited selection, only available in select styles and colors.

MDF Paint (R. D. Henry Exclusive)

MDF Paint doors and drawer fronts are constructed of Paintgrade Maple rails and stiles, with MDF center panels. The use of MDF Paint minimizes the potential for cracked joints on doors and fronts. Used with painted finishes without aging/distressing.


Paint-grade hardwood (typically Maple) is used for the rails, stiles and center panels. Due to wood’s inherent nature to expand and contract, cracks at the joints of doors and fronts are more likely. Paintgrade doors are available for all doors, fronts and edges, and can be used with aging/distressing techniques.  

If you want to see and touch all of these different wood species for yourself, visit Our Showroom at 38200 Van Dyke Ave. in Sterling Heights.