Cabinet Terminology From A – Z from Choice Cabinets

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Adjustable Shelves

Moveable shelves that can be placed in a wide range of layouts using shelf pins inserted into pre-drilled holes.

Angled Corner Cabinet

Any cabinet designed to fit on an end of an upper or lower cabinet creating a fixed angle.




Base Cabinet

Any cabinet designed to be installed directly on the floor.  Base cabinets do not have tops to them, which means some form of countertop has to be installed in the field such as a laminate top or a granite top.

Beveled Finger-Tip Door Pulls

A portion of material is removed from the door creating a groove used to open the cabinet.

Blind Corner Cabinet

Any cabinet, upper or lower, designed to be installed in the corner of a room, with another cabinet installed directly adjacent to it, thus hiding the blind portion.  This type of cabinet gives access to an otherwise dead space, providing more storage.

Butt Doors

Two cabinet doors that nearly meet, covering a single opening that does not have a center stile.



Center Stile

A vertical strip of hardwood that is a component of the face frame, which divides an open cabinet equally.

Close Grain

A wood that has fine and closely arranged fibers, such as maple.

Concealed Hinge

A term used to describe a cabinet hinge that is not visible from the outside.

Crown Molding

Any molding that is applied to the tops of kitchen cabinets.



Dentil Molding

A term used to describe a decorative tooth-like pattern on any trim molding.


A term used to describe a joining process of two pieces of wood.  Both pieces have wing shaped notches that interlock.  Dovetailing is known as the strongest joint used in furniture and cabinet drawers.

Drawer Front

The finished front panel of a drawer assembly that matches or resembles the door profile.



End Panel

The panel that forms the side of the cabinet.



Face Frame

The front facing of a cabinet typically constructed of hardwood.  The vertical pieces, stiles, and the horizontal pieces, rails, reinforce the cabinet structure and provide mounting support for doors and drawers.


Pieces of hardwood matching a chosen cabinet color.  The common size is 3” wide and 30” to 96” long.  Fillers are typically used to fill the space where a cabinet does not fill a specific dimension.

Flat Panel

A recessed center panel to a door or drawer design.

Framed Cabinet

A traditional style of cabinetry where the cabinet box has a face frame.  The box is built behind a frame-like structure on which the doors and drawers are applied.

Full Overlay

Doors and drawers are sized large enough to cover the cabinet face with only minimal clearance between them.



Glaze Finish

Additional steps in the finishing process that are applied to add depth and dimension to highlight door detail, wood color and the base finish color.

Grain Variation

A term used to describe a species of wood’s natural dissimilar grain pattern.




A mechanical device used to attach a cabinet door to a cabinet box.






A construction term used to describe two pieces of material being attached together.




A hardware item, typically round in shape, attached to doors and drawers for function and decoration.



Lazy Susan

A corner kitchen base cabinet utilizing kidney shaped shelves that rotate for easy access.




A close-grained hardwood that is predominantly white to creamy white in color, with occasional reddish-brown tones.  While maple typically features uniform graining as compared to other wood species, characteristic markings may include fine brown lines, wavy or curly graining, bird pecks, or mineral streaks.  These traits are natural and serve to enhance maple’s inherent beauty.


A joint made when two beveled surfaces form an angle.

Mullion Doors

A style of cabinet with glass panes with vertical and horizontal dividers, which resemble window panes.






A strong open-grained hardwood that ranges in color from white to pink and reddish tones.  Streaks of green, yellow, and even black may appear due to mineral deposits.  Oak may contain wormholes and wild, varying grain.  The distinct graining is considered a desirable quality.

Open Grain

A wood that has large pores or coarse texture, such as oak.




Multiple layers of wood veneer bonded by adhesive forming panels of varying thickness.

Pull (Or Handle)

A hardware item, usually crescent shaped, attached to doors and drawers for function and decoration.






The horizontal member of a door or frame that lies between the stiles.

Recessed Panel

Flat panel held inside the perimeter of a door.  A flat panel recesses between the stiles and rails.  See flat panel.


The exposed portion of the cabinet face frame when the cabinet door and drawer are closed.



Scribe Molding

A generic piece of molding, usually ¼” thick and up to 1” wide, for the purpose of trimming and concealing any discrepancy where the cabinet meets a sheetrock wall.

Shelf Pins

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


Enclosed area between the top of the wall cabinets and the ceiling that typically houses mechanical systems for the kitchen.  It is usually one foot high and extends past the wall cabinets.

Solid Wood Panel

Center panel made up of boards that are joined or glued together to form the width of the center panel.  Because natural woods have variations in color and grain pattern from board to board, these variations will be apparent in a solid wood door.


A finish applied to natural wood cabinets to enhance color and add protection.


The vertical member of a door or frame that extends the full height.



Toe Kick

The recessed area at the bottom of base cabinets usually 4” high and 3” deep.

Traditional Overlay

Cabinet door styles that leave part of the face frame revealed.






A decorative hardwood panel installed across an open area, generally used above sinks.



Wall Cabinet

Any cabinet designed to be installed at or above eye level.  Common installation is 18” above the countertop.

Wood Grain

The pattern and texture produced in wood.

Wood Species

Different types of hardwoods or softwoods.  Examples are maple, oak, cherry.







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