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Choosing Cabinet Wood

Where it all starts

Kemper’s innovative thinking first starts with smart wood selection. Just as no two trees are alike, no two pieces of wood are the same, which results in unique variations of strength, versatility and appearance. 


Natural Hardwoods

The warmth and texture of hardwood provides a natural contrast to stainless steel and glass accents found in most kitchens. In addition to grain, wood exhibits defining characteristics such as mineral deposits, knots and sap runs that also contribute to its beauty, and are highlighted by stains and glazes.

Common Natural Characteristics

  • Bird Pecks – Small marks in the grain pattern caused by pecking birds

  • Burl – A swirl or twist in the grain of the wood that does not contain a knot

  • Sound Knot – A knot solid across its face, which shows no sign of decay

  • Unsound Knot – A circular area that once formed the base of a branch or twig

  • Wormholes – Holes in the wood ranging in size to a maximum of 1/16”

  • Sugar Tracks – Yellowish to dark brownish streaks that run throughout the wood

  • Mineral Streaks – Streaks of color ranging from olive to blackish-brown typically following grain pattern

  • Gum Streaks – Mineral-like streaks of color naturally occurring only in Cherry

  • Heartwood – The mature, usually darker wood, extending from the sapwood to the center tissue

  • Sapwood – Lighter colored parts that grow from inside the bark to the heartwood

Alder and Rustic Alder Cabinets

Alder cabinets are characterized by light brown and reddish undertones. Alder has a straight and even-textured wood grain with indistinct boundaries between the heartwood and the sapwood

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Cherry Cabinets

Cherry cabinets are characterized by their red undertones, but may vary in color from white to a deep rich brown. Cherry has a smooth, close-grained appearance with a fairly uniform texture and random markings. The even grain allows finishes to be applied with ease.

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Hickory Cabinets

Hickory cabinets have a naturally contrasting appearance due to the heartwood and sapwood of the Hickory wood. The color may range from blonde or white to reddish-brown and dark brown

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Maple Cabinets

Maple cabinets are predominately white to creamy-white in color, with occasional reddish-brown tones within a cabinet door panel. The subtle grain pattern of Maple wood creates a smooth, uniform appearance.

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Oak Cabinets

Oak cabinets have distinct grain patterns and range in color from white to pink and reddish tones. Streaks of green, yellow and even black may appear due to mineral deposits in the wood.

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Compound Materials

These materials are highly durable, less susceptible to discoloration and easy to maintain. They also provide flexibility in color, design and styling – a great option for many homes.

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