IN YOUR JOB AS AN Army carpenter, you will build
Many beautiful hardwoods are strong. Being strong and
many cabinets. Cabinet building is a precision job that is
naturally beautiful, they are favored for cabinetwork.
performed inside a shop, although much of the work is
1-2. It is almost impossible to discuss in detail all the
done at the location where the cabinets are to be installed.
woods used in cabinet construction; however, we are
The cabinets should be well designed, structurally sound,
primarily concerned with those woods which are in
and appealing in appearance. Look at some of the
cabinetwork around you or try to recall the appearance of
1-3. In this section we will discuss the types of wood
some kitchen cabinets that you have seen. Do they make
used in cabinetwork and the characteristics of each type.
good use of the available space? Do the doors fit and latch
After studying these characteristics, you should be able to
tightly? Are the shelves strong and the joints tight? Do the
identify and select the proper wood for a particular job.
cabinets look like they were done by a craftsman?
1-4. The most desirable woods for cabinetwork
2. This chapter is devoted to the materials used and
a. Have the ability to keep their shape without
methods applied to achieve these goals. We will cover
the types and characteristics of wood used in cabinetwork.
shrinking, warping, or swelling.
b. Be easily workable with tools and machinery
Some of the softwoods are white pine, fir, cedar, and
redwood; some of the hardwoods are walnut, mahogany,
without causing rough surfaces.
c. Be strong, with suitable grain characteristics that
and oak. Of course, grades and standards of hardwood
and plywood will also be covered here.
are pleasing to the eye.
3. We will discuss some of the joints used in
Many softwoods are used in
cabinetwork, such as parallel grain joints, right-angle
cabinetmaking. Among these, white pine is one of the
grain joints, grooved joints, miter joints, mortise and
most useful of all. It is also easy to work, because it has a
tenon joints, dovetail joints, and butt joints. Remember, a
uniform grain and holds its shape well. White pine is
good joint is one that is well made and fits properly. The
soft, light, and of medium strength. It splits easily but
type of cabinet that you will make will be one of three
holds nails fairly well. It also takes glue well. The grain
types: frame, stool, or box. A step-by-step procedure
is not prominent; therefore, it has no particular beauty.
will be given in the construction of each of these items.
For this reason, coupled with its ability to hold paint, it is
4. Study each section carefully and try to apply
most often painted.
what you learn to all of your cabinetmaking projects.
1-6. Fir comes in three well-known species: Douglas
fir, yellow fir, and red fir. Fir is difficult to work with
hand tools, because it splits easily. It glues well but will
1. Cabinet Woods
not hold paint; therefore, it is usually treated with a
1-1. In cabinetmaking, those characteristics of wood
with which we are concerned differ somewhat from those
and in millwork, boatbuilding, and shingle manufacturing.
characteristics of wood with which we are concerned
1-7. Cedar comes in a variety of species; this makes it
when we are dealing with frame construction. For
difficult to, cover each in detail; however, we will discuss
example, in cabinetmaking, beauty and finishing qualities
some of its general characteristics. The sapwood is
are the determining factors rather than strength.
generally white, with the heartwood being a reddish brown to