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Rift and Quarter Sawn Wood Cabinets are the Buzz


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Rift and Quarter Sawn Wood Cabinets are the Buzz

No doubt, kitchen cabinets made from oak are White Hot again! Many customers are actually specifying rift sawn white oak cabinets or modern oak kitchen cabinets with a quarter sawn grain. rift sawn white oakWhere are they getting their information from, we ask? “The Internet” is the answer we hear most but they often can’t remember the website specifically. When diving deeper, we discover Houzz discussions and Pinterest images may have fueled some of their search behavior. But more often we are told, “I saw a blog post somewhere.” So, we would like to way in on these discussions with our own suggestions here. Custom wood cabinets are what we are known for most and we pay close attention to the grain direction if we are not painting your cabinets.

Rift Sawn White Oak Cabinets

What is the difference between quarter sawn vs rift sawn white oak cabinets you ask? Most high-volume cabinet makers and lumber yards are buying and cutting logs as “Plain Cuts” because it is the most economical way to break down raw lumber. It minimizes waste, increases yield, and works best for big production yards. As you will see from the image below, the grain direction results in circular patterns in all directions. This is the kind of kitchen cabinetry you will find at the big box stores or under a few coats of paint.

Quarter Sawn Oak Cabinets

We love to use

Rift Cut White Oak Cabinets

when we are applying a natural stain to our doors and exterior hard wood surfaces for you. We specify the grain direction to the custom cabinet makers we are using for the project. These modern shaker style cabinets below have the grain direction vertically on the door faces and side panels. The head and foot panels of each door uses the same cut of wood but now the grain direction goes horizontal for obvious reasons. The natural color light oak kitchen cabinets are the star in this kitchen with the white countertops playing runner up in this beauty pageant.

Oak Cabinets with White Countertops

Rift Sawn White Oak Cabinets

Modern Oak Kitchen Cabinets

Custom Wood Cabinets NJIn the same kitchen, we designed a China cabinet to be the home for a beautiful set of fine wedgwood China and glassware that just needed to be shown off. The full glass pane on the doors is uninterrupted by mullions or wood design work that would hinder viewing of the treasures found inside. Unlike the dark kitchen cabinets with light floors found in this post, we offset the white oak kitchen cabinets with a darker wood flooring to bring about the contrast we seek in most projects. You can see more wood cabinets with wood floors here.

Custom Wood Cabinets in NJ Using Rift Cuts

Below you will find a rift cut white cabinets that frame this stainless steel range hood. As you can see here again, we're using a vertical grain direction for the primary panels horizontal. We have featured many kitchens that use white cabinets with white countertops. It is nice to design cabinetry that uses darker woods and finishes today. Most of our customers lean to custom work cabinetry work and then ask us to paint them white. 
Quarter Sawn Oak Cabinets
Other customizations we do with customers is building nooks and crannies like this one.

Quarter Sawn Walnut Niche for Cooking Wines

Quater Sawn Walnet Niche

In this case, the customer enjoys cooking with wines and specialty ingredients and told us that his hands are moving fast when he is in the heat of his sauté work. Therefore, we built him a small niche that can hold 3 bottles of his favorite cooking wine and a top shelf for some spices that he uses most often. The niche is cut from high quality walnut using a quarter sawn cut. Quarter sawing lumber produces a nice fleck pattern rather than long linear lines in the wood. Some of the benefits of quarter sawn lumber is a smoother surface with decreased expansion and contraction of the wood. Quarter sawn wood resists twisting and cupping over time and therefore great for shelving. It costs more to quarter saw wood because of the minimized yield the one gets from quarter sawn lumber.

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Posted by Tom Gilmour in Custom Cabinetry | with 0 comments
Filed under: cabinets, custom, oak, rift, sawn, tjg, white, wood

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48 West Broad Street • Hopewell, NJ 08525 • Phone: (609) 466-1445 • Fax: (609) 466-1499 • email:

Specializing in custom kitchen cabinetry designs in Princeton, Somerset, Central Jersey, Monmouth County, Hunterdon County, Morris County and Bucks County, PA.

Some photos depict kitchens designed by Lisa Tobias for DeMadera Design.

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