Cabinetry Vocabulary

Adjustable Cabinet Shelves: Shelves that can be height-adjusted by changing the placement of hanger pins or brackets that go in drilled holes or inset tracks in opposite sides of the cabinet.
Base Cabinet: A cabinet that is found under countertops and usually sits on the floor or toe kick.

Beadboard: A form of paneling, traditionally made of wood, with tongue-and-groove boards running the height of the panels. Also called wainscoting.

Bridge Cabinets: A cabinet connected to other cabinets on each side and used to cover an open space above appliances or other item, such as a refrigerator or stove, .

Carcass: The basic wood box that make up a cabinet without doors, face frame or hardware.

Cam and Bolt: Hardware used to connect the top, bottom and sides of cabinets designed to come apart.

Crown Molding: Decorative molding used as a transition between cabinets and walls or ceilings.

Custom Cabinetry: Cabinetry that is designed and built to a customer's specification and intended to fit into a single location.

Edge Banding: Material applied to the edge of a board or door to seal and cover the surface.

Panel: A recessed panel that is usually surrounded by like material much like a framed picture.

Framed or Face Framed Cabinets: Commonly referred to as traditional cabinets. They have a face plate that fits over the cabinet opening that the doors attach to or drawer faces slide up against. These cabinets are stronger, heavier and generally built by smaller shops and artists. They can look more cluttered than frameless designs but are better suited to heavier cabinet doors that are ornate.

Frameless Cabinets: Frameless cabinets are easy to spot because they look very clean and uncluttered. The doors and drawers cover the entire cabinet face and butt up against each other. Because of that they are commonly referred to as overlay doors. This construction technique is also referred to as "European Styling". The cabinets are lighter, sleeker and give more cabinet and drawer space.

Fixed Cabinet Shelves: Fixed shelves are permenantly affixed into the kitchen cabinet and cannot be moved.

Fluted Rail or Molding: Decorative molding used to highlight areas between cabinets.

Full Overlay: Cabinet door styles that cover most of the face frame, giving prominence to the door and drawer design.

Glaze or Glaze Finish: A staining process that creates highlights on natural wood, evens out color variations and draws attention to design details.

Light Rail: Decorative molding usually applied to the bottom of wall cabinets providing a finished look.

MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard): A manufactured wood product that has a high density and smooth surface. MDF is used instead of wood. It is dimensional stable and used as a base for laminates such as thermofoils and melamine.

Melamine Laminate: This is a material used on drawer and door surfaces to cover substrate of either particleboard or MDF. All laminate is durable and easy to clean. Melamine laminate is also a material used for fabricating countertops since it is thicker than vinyl and provides a hard, durable surface.

Mullion Doors: Mullion doors have a grid framework and glass (or similar material) paneling that allows the contents to be fully or partially visible.

Particleboard: Manufactured sheet material used to make cabinets and made from wood sawdust and chips. Often used as a base for laminates.

Pulls, Knobs, and Handles: Pieces of hardware attached to a kitchen cabinet door or drawer front, used to open the cabinet.

Recessed Door: A flat panel held inside the perimeter of a door. A flat panel recesses between the stiles and rails.

Semi-Custom Cabinets: Semi-custom cabinets use pre-manufactured components that are available in a limited number of different sizes, shapes, wood species and finishes. Semi-custom cabinets are usually less expensive than full custom but more expensive than off-the-shelf stock units. Semi-custom units are tailored to the space they are installed in and include some custom features.

Shelf Pins: Pieces of hardware that the shelf sits on, usually metal or plastic.

Soffit: The underside of a structural component, such as a beam, arch, staircase, cornice ceiling. A soffit or “bulkhead” is the area between a ceiling and the top of wall cabinets and usually 12 inches high and extending out over the wall cabinets.

Soffit Spacer: Molding applied at the top of kitchen cabinets to allow for door clearance.

Solid Wood Door: A door made of solid wood throughout as compared to a wood frame around a veneered center or totally laminated or veneered faces. Solid wood doors are more expensive and but have a unique quality feel.

Stock Cabinets: Stock cabinets are made in large factories with automated equipment and less skilled labor. They come in a limited number of sizes, configurations and colors but because of the large number of manufacturers and conformance to standard dimensions, there actually is a large range of design possibilities. They are usually less expensive but can be quite compelling if the layout is specified by a talented designer. Stock cabinets are usually found in spec and tract homes but high end products exist.

Stain: A finish applied to natural wood cabinets to enhance color and grain, and provide some protection.

Thermofoil: Thermofoil cabinets provide the look of painted cabinetry without showing brush strokes, drips or other imperfections that come along with paint. The thermofoil vinyl material is heat-fused onto a substrate material and then used to make cabinets.

Toe Kick: A type of molding used to cover the open space under kitchen cabinets.

Overlay: Overlay is the amount of front frame covered by the door or drawer. The amount of front frame that shows is referred to as the reveal.

V-Groove: A vertical beaded or grooved door style design.

Veneer: A veneer is a thin layer of hight-quality solid wood that is glued over a cheaper substrate material and then used to make cabinets, furniture, art and other items. Veneered wood is often more stable than a solid piece of wood and less expensive. Since fine exotic woods have becomes more scarse, the use of veneers allows the use of woods that otherwise would not be used because of availability and price.

Vinyl Laminate: This is a material that is regularly used on the interior and exterior of cabinets. Vinyl will conform to curved surfaces, is easy to keep clean and resistant to abrasion. It comes in plain colors, textures and faux wood.

Wainscoting: A form of paneling, traditionally made of wood, with tongue-and-groove boards running the height of the panels. Also called beadboard .

Wood Grain: The word grain refers to two different things: the structure of the wood-cell fibers that make up the wood and the visual and textural patterns that result when the wood is cut. Wood actually has a complex wood-cell structure. The orientation of the wood-cell structure when the wood is cut uncovers this structure in interesting visual ways and that is the layman's interpretation of grain. 

Wood Species: Different types of hardwoods and softwoods.