"I included [a] picture to show you what a great job!

"As you can see . . . much neater than before.

"Thank you!"

   -- Everett, WA

From the Book of Secrets . . .
Wood Species for Painted Cabinets

Choosing a wood with less hygroscopic movement for painted cabinets Surface flaws stand out even more with paint than they do with transparent stains and varnishes. Everyone knows you want to use a smooth wood for painted cabinets. In fact, most cabinetmakers believe this is the only criteria for species selection.

However, two other considerations are just as important: humidity-driven wood movement and hardness.

Humidity-driven wood movement: Wood expands and contracts significantly across its grain, but not much along its length. The horizontal rail of a face or door frame is always changing its width in conjunction with ambient humidity conditions and stretching the finish film back and forth. The adjacent paint on the vertical stile is moving in a 90° direction, shearing the paint and causing it to tear apart at the joint. Some of this is inevitable, but species selection can mimimize the degree.

Hardness: As a general rule, the harder the wood, the more it will move, with the paint at more joints torn more dramatically. This certainty is why Maple (used by many competitors to avoid adding another species) is a bad choice for painted finishes. Smooth, softer hardwoods like Yellow Poplar (see photo) offer the best compromise between wood movement and hardness.     Return to Menu