Cabinet Education

Want to know what it takes to make a cabinet? We want to educate our customers so that they can make informed decisions when picking out new cabinets for their home. There are lots of 'pretty' cabinets on the market, but most of the time that beauty is only skin deep. Disreputable dealers will try to pass off a pretty veneer as solid wood, or try to sell you on 'guarantees' that their product is the best. Ultimately you are going to live with these cabinets for years to come and we want you to make the best decision possible. If you have more questions just give us a call! We love talking about cabinets almost as much as we love making them.


Tafisa Canada

This video from our chipboard supplier is a superb overview of some of the materials we use in our cabinetry and why material choice is important. Yes, part of the video is in French, not to fear! There's English too.


Tafisa operates North America's largest and most modern particleboard and melamine factory. They are leading the way in environmentally friendly productions utilizing 100% recycled and recovered wood materials in the construction of their particle board panels.



Particle Board & Plywood

plywood vs particle boardMost cabinets are made from either particle board or plywood. Plywood is layered wood veneer that is glued together. Particle Board is wood fibers that have been pressed and glued together. Plywood will have a distinct 'layered' feel to it, while Particle Board has a uniform texture. Generally, plywood is a better material for cabinetry. The layered wood is more sturdy and tends to give more 'grab' to screws and other fasteners. Particle board can break down over time, especially near hinges where there is repeated stress being placed on the material. Plywood is also lighter, which is great for the person installing the cabinets.


Particle Board has its own benefits, it is more stable and not as likely to warp due to temperature changes. It is also cheaper than plywood, which is why many cabinet makers choose to go this route. Plywood doesn't hold up well under very wet conditions. If excessive moisture is absorbed through the end of the board it will swell up and cause the laminated veneer to bend and peel off.


Each material will vary greatly in construction quality, with hundreds of different manufacturers producing various qualites of board. A good quality plywood should be between 1/2 to 3/4 inch in thickness and should have between 7 to 9 piles (the glued layers of wood). The density of the wood is also important. If the board has gaps where wood didn't fully fill up a layer it will be less sturdy. Better quality particle board will have smaller particles and better glue holding it together. This board is often made from the scraps and dust of other projects so the quality can vary greatly even from the same manufacturer.


Types of Joints for Cabinets

plywood vs particle board The joints on your cabinets are going to be where the most stress takes place and is one area that can fail over time. A good joint will give ample area for the two boards to meet, fit tightly and give enough space for the boards to overlap and get a better grip on each other. When purchasing new cabinets check the type of joint used, a quality cabinet will have some sort of notching or pegs used to increase the strength and durability where the sides of your cabinet come together. Below are a few types of common joints used in cabinet making.



Butt Joint

One of the simplest joints in wood working. The two pieces of wood are placed together along their edges and glued. This joint is weak and likely to break, there is no overlap of the two pieces and therefore even a slight twist can cause the joint to fail.


Biscuit Joint

Similar to the butt joint, except two shallow holes are drilled on the surfaces of both pieces of wood and a 'biscuit' (oval shaped piece of wood) is placed in both holes to give some extra stability. Slightly better than the butt joint, but still a fairly weak connection.



A very strong joint where one board has a series of trapezoidal tabs cut in the end and the other piece has matching notches for the tabs to slide into. The trapezoidal shape prevents the joint from pulling outwards and also provides excellent resistance to twisting. This joint is often used for the front of sliding drawers.


Finger Joint

Similar to the dovetail, but the tabs and notches are square and not angled. Once glued this joint is very strong.







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