I have decided to build new kitchen cabinets, but I am wondering about
the best place to locate the lumber for this project. I have looked at
Home Depot and Lowe's, but the selection and supply on hand is very
I am leaning towards maple which isn't available at the two
supercenters. I was thinking about contacting some local sawmills, but
I live in the Piney Woods of East Texas and doubt they have maple. Is
it common practice to mail order lumber? I really don't want to resaw
anything. I prefer everthing to already be cut to routine dimensions.
If mail order is the norm, would you please point me in the right
There are a number of places in East Texas that would have maple, and some
http://www.hardwoodbarn.com/ in Mt Enterprise, for one.
How close to Houston? Clarks Hardwood Lumber ...I know for a fact have
When I lived in Texas (Terrell) I ordered from Niagara Lumber
(Western NY) with great success. They used up prices are good to.
URL: http://www.niagaralumber.com /
I bought some curly maple from them (orginally 2 1/4 x 10) which they
resawed for me to 4/4+ very happy with the result.
Directory of wood suppliers.
If you are looking to build a kitchens worth of Maple cabinets i would
suggest the following.
1. Find out who the local cabinet shops buy their wood from. At a
supercenter you will pay through the nose for what you'll need. If you
have it shipped your cost will be huge. Hardwood lumber supplier in
2. For the solid stock lumber look to buy S2S1E (Surfaced two sides
and straight on one edge). This is the most economical unless your
time is equal to zero, then you can buy rough and plane it yourself.
3. Expect to pay $4-$7 a bf for hard maple depending on your region,
maybe others can comment.
4. You'll only need the solid stock for face frames (in my opinion)
5. You'll use Maple Ply for the cases. Your decision on what exactly
to use but I prefer A1 (perfect one side, good on the other) but you
can use A4 (perfect one side, who knows on the other) to save some
6. I suggest buying all the doors and drawer fronts. It will honestly
be cheaper and for a much better product. I know all the fun is in
making the panels frames and doors but you will never be as good as
the big shops are and they can do it for just a bit more than you will
pay for the wood alone. These guys are all over the place online,
shipping isn't too bad but finding a local is even better.
7. You can buy the drawer boxes also but some baltic birch or solid
stock can be a fun project too.
Thank you for the quick replies.
I live in Longview, Texas and Mt Enterprise is within reach. Thank you
for that tip.
I was planning on buying the door and drawer faces pre made to save
time, but I just didn't want those particle board cabinets that the
supercenters offer and I know I can manage the box and face frame part
of the job so I didn't want to hire a custom cabinet maker.
One more question comes to mind. Will I have a hard time matching my
face lumber to the pre made doors when it come time to stain?
Blame brother Leon here ... he was the one who turned me on to them as I
often make the trip through the general vicinity with my youngest to
see/pickup/drop off/co-pilot her car up/back to college in AR.
When you go see the plywood dealer, ask about prefinished ply. The factory
puts a good coating on it, and you don't have to finish the insides of the
Doing my second kitchen project that way right now.
I've always purchased my doors and drawers unfinished so I can make
things match exactly by finishing them all myslef. Of course Ihave
access to spray equipment and some experience doing it. Plus in my
"case" (pun intended) I've never done a whole kitchen. I've always
done furniture pieces, kitchen islands, etc. But I often build them
just like a cabinet and use the cab type doors and drawers for
matching. You can also get the finish spec or even buy matching
finishing material from the door supplier (not stains typically but
With Maple, if you will leave it unstained, just a clear coat then you
should be able to match things OK by yourself. You'll either have a
water clear fo\insih or one with some warmness (yellowing). You can
easily match this. However, different finishes yellow at different
rates so in a few years the match might not. That's why I finsih it
All that being said. If the doors and drawers mismatch the casework
slightly it really won't be noticable or look bad even if it is.
Beautifully finished doors that don't macth perfect might be better
than perfectly matching, badly finsihed doors.
P.S. I like that idea of pre-finish ply with the finish inside. Only
problem is the pre-finsihed side is usually the better side. Finishing
inside is a hassle. I've seen the cabinet shop put laminate on the
inside often. This way thay lam the ply before milling it and once
assembled no more work inside.
I built our kitchen cabinets from standard #2 pine and birch plywood, all
readily available at the home centers. I would buy 1x6 or 1x8 lumber, then
rip it into 2" strips. With a little selective cutting around knots and
blemishes, I ended up with nearly clear lumber for the face frames and door
We used T&G pine boards in our master suite, so I used the leftover scraps
to build the door panels for our cabinets. I just cut off the tongues and
grooves, glued them into panels, and planed them smooth. #2 pine would have
worked fine too, but I had lots of short T&G cutoffs leftover.
The carcasses of the cabinets were made of birch plywood, except where the
cabinet sides are visible. I used 1x12 pine boards on the exposed sides so
they would match the face frames.
I finished the pine with Min-Wax preconditioner, followed by Min-Wax
"Windsor Oak" stain, and two coats of satin polyurethane. It's probably a
more "rustic" appearance than you are after, but we are very happy with the
way our cabinets turned out.
I wanted a bit less rustic appearance for my office desk and cabinets, so I
built those from poplar and birch plywood. All readily available from the
home centers. With a darker stain, they look very nice.
If you want woods that aren't available at the home centers, look for
"lumber" or "hardwoods" in your phone book. You might also want to check
the lumber yards in your area. Worst case, you might want to try a place
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