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Cabinet Industry Terminology

Updated: Apr 13, 2019

Cabinetry terms every homeowner should know.

Becoming familiar with industry terms can make your next kitchen renovation a lot less confusing. Industry professionals such as kitchen or bath cabinet dealers, designers, and contractors use a variety of specific terminology about cabinet construction and cabinetry in general.  We created a list of the most common terms used in the kitchen cabinet industry. 

Cabinet Accessory

A non-cabinet component to either finish off, accent or customize a cabinet or layout.

Base Cabinet A style of kitchen cabinet which rests on the floor but is secured through the back wall.

Bridge Cabinet A style of kitchen cabinet which is mounted to the wall, and typically acts as a bridge above an appliance location.

Butted Cabinet Door Cabinets without a center stile. 

Cabinet Butt Joint Two wood components with flat edges and ends that are butted together and fastened.

Cope & Stick (also known as Mortise & Tenon) All the members of the frame are given a profile on the inside and outside edges, and the horizontal members are “coped” across the end grain to receive the profile of the vertical members 

Corner Cabinet A type of cabinet that is used in creating the corner in a kitchen; typically, a blind corner cabinet of Lazy Susan.

Cabinet Crown Molding Decorative molding installed on top of the cabinet. This adds a designer’s touch with a little extra width, depth & height to the overall dimensions.

Dado A Joint made by cutting a square slot into one cabinet member to fit a second member. This method of assembly provides a larger surface area for glue and a defined location for the exact fitment of the two pieces.

Dims Dimensions.

Dove Tail Dove Tail joints are very strong (preferred), because of the way the ‘tails’ and ‘pins’ are shaped. This makes it difficult to pull the joint apart and virtually impossible when glue is added. This type of joint is used in box constructions such as drawers for maximum durability and life. uses the Dovetail joint on all drawers.

Doweled Cabinet Construction Wood dowels are used to join different cabinet components together with glue for durable construction.

Edge Band Thin melamine or veneer cut into thin strips and bonded to the edges of a cut panel to finish the raw edge.

Finger Joint A Joint made by cutting a set of complementary cuts in two pieces of wood, (looks like fingers ), used to form long pieces of lumber from shorter pieces.

Cabinet Hang Rail A strip of hardwood installed on the back panel for added hanging strength.

Hardwood Lumber from the group of trees with broad leaves, not the actual hardness of the wood.

MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) Engineered wood product composed of cellulose fibers bonded together with resin.

Mitered The rail and stile are cut at a 45° angle, to form a corner. *WE offer both mitered and cope and stick.*

Non-butted Cabinet Door Cabinets with a center stile

Full Overlay  Where the face frame is completely covered by the cabinet door(s).

Standard Overlay Where the cabinets face frame is partially covered by the door. 

Panel The flat piece of wood, usually referred to as an end, side panel or bottom panel.

Paper Laminated Particle Board Solid or wood-tone paper bonded to raw particle board. * does not use PLPB.*

Particle Board Engineered wood product made of wood shavings and chips bonded with resin. * does not use PB*

Plywood Thin sheets of veneer glued together with the grain at right angles to each other providing strength. * Our cabinetry’s plywood complies with Phase I and Phase II emission standards of the California Air Resources (CARB) Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM)*

Pocket-screw construction Drilling a hole at an angle in one workpiece, joining it to a second using a self-tapping screw.

Rabbet Joint A joint where the ends of boards are joined at right angles by removing a portion of one board’s thickness to accommodate another board. This increases the glue surface and provides support and alignment for the two pieces for durability.

RTA Ready-to-Assemble; components are assembled by the adept consumer. 


Ready To Build; where components are made to exact specifications for a professional to build using a variety of power tools and cabinet building skill sets. 

RTF – Rigid Thermofoil (Thermofoil) The RTF Process uses heat and pressure to bond a thin vinyl material to a substrate, usually Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF). The film is ultra-thin, it can bond to very intricate shapes like raised panels, routed edges and other designs that cannot be coated with other types of laminates.

Stile The vertical piece of wood used to make the face edge and center of the cabinet frame or paneled door.

Unfinished When no finish is applied to the end product; raw. 

Veneer A thin decorative covering of fine wood usually less than 1/8th inch thick, applied to an engineered wood product for the appearance of wood. 

Wall Cabinet A style of kitchen cabinet which is mounted to the wall.

Where to buy kitchen cabinets

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