oak-cabinetsThe Beauty of Oak Cabinets

Oak kitchen cabinets are known for their durability and timeless quality. Particularly suitable in designs calling for Mission cabinets, oak hardwood displays a variety of natural patterns, providing each piece of lumber with a unique look.

Straight Grain, Quarter-Sawn and Plain Sawn Oak

Below are examples of the most common cuts of oak lumber, and a diagram explaining how those varying grains are achieved.

sample cut of straight grain oak
sample slice of quarter sawn oak showing grain
sample cut of plain sawn oak to show grain
Straight grain oak, also known as rift sawn, can be either red or white oak. The stright grain appearance generally does not expose the ray flecks taht are pronounced in quarter-sawn oak. In straight grain lumber, the growth ring orientation to the board surface is 30° to 60°, achieved when cuts are far from the center. The cuts produce a consistently beautiful straight grain.CliqStudios uses straight grain oak in our oak cabinets.
Quarter sawn oak is produced when a log is split into quarters first, then boards are cut at a 60° to 90° diagonal from the center of the log out toward the edge, procuding a vertical and uniform grain pattern. Quarter sawing produces “marks” on the face of the board, revealing distinctive stripes or (ray flecks) running across the grain, a signature of quarter sawn oak. Quarter sawn lumber is valued at a premium because of the amount of time and material involved.
Plain sawn oak, the most common oak lumber in American cabinets, displays growth rings that are oriented less than 30° to the board surface. The distinct grain pattern (sometimes referred to as cathedral grain) is the least expensive cut. Sawn from the perimeter of the log, boards display growth rings nearly parallel with the surface. The coarser, more textured effect draws attention to the wood rather than the lines of the cabinet itself.

diagram shows cross-cut of an oak log and diagrams of quarrter grain, straigth grain and plain sawn lumber produced by various cuts
Ask an expert: Planning new kitchen cabinets? Our design service is free. We encourage you to call our studio at 888-350-1242 for information or ideas on using oak cabinets in your new kitchen. Or request a Quick Quote to see how much cabinets will cost for your kitchen. A member of our team will get an estimate back to you in one business day.

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Natural Characteristics of Oak

Oak is very hard, and its dense, coarse grain makes it highly resistant to damage. Oak is known for its distinct rays that add to its attractiveness and appeal. Variations in grain and flecking may appear in oak cabinets. Cliq Cabinetry uses straight grain oak for all doors and face frames. The natural features described below are normal and are not considered defects:

  • Oak colors range from light tans to deep reddish browns
  • Streaks of yellow or black mineral deposits
  • Non-uniform rays, checks and flecks
  • Noticeable differences in color between open-and close-grained areas
  • Variations within a single door and among adjacent cabinets