Take Your Pick: Six Great Woods For Cabinet Construction

Upgrading your kitchen cabinets provides you with the opportunity to completely revamp your kitchen's aesthetics. But although many homeowners are keen to delve into the design of their new custom cabinets and spend hours picking out their favorite stains and finishes, relatively few homeowners give serious thought to the wood species used in the project. This is unfortunate, as the characteristics of any wood species influence the overall appearance of the finished project as well its durability.

The following woods represent some of the best choices for your new custom wood cabinets. 


Hickory is a hard, heavy, and durable wood – pioneers used it to make things like tool handles. It isn't quite as dense as oak, nor does it take stain as well, but it provides a unique combination of aesthetics and durability. Hickory is one of the rarest woods used in cabinet construction, which makes it an appealing choice for those desiring a unique kitchen.

White Oak

White oak is one of the most desired woods available, with a very fine, attractive grain pattern. White oak is also extraordinarily dense, making it strong and durable. However, these attributes come at a price, and white oak is among the most expensive woods used in cabinet construction.

Red Oak

In many ways, red oak is the yardstick against which all other hardwoods are measured. Red oak is heavy, durable, attractive, and strong, and customers will generally pay high prices for such a high-quality wood. Large pores are found throughout the xylem (wood tissue) of red oak trees, which helps make the grain particularly attractive.


Birch is an affordably priced hardwood, but with proper finishing, it can rival many more expensive and exotic hardwoods. Fine-grained and heavy, birch takes stain well, but it naturally features red tones, which are quite attractive when highlighted.  


Pine is usually the most budget-friendly wood used in cabinet construction, but that doesn't mean it isn't a fine material for such applications. Pine is a rather soft wood, so you'll want to consider implementing bumpers and other protective decorations during the design process. Pine accepts stain well, but most homeowners prefer a clear finish to show off the wood's grain and figure.


Ash is a very attractive wood that normally features an incredible figure. Ash is typically topped with clear finishes to help accentuate its grain and naturally warm color. A durable wood, ash is actually denser than oak and quite shock resistant.