Woodworking Talk banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Is there anything wrong with using pine for kitchen cabinets? For some reason i really like the look of clear pine with natural stain. I was thinking of pine carcasses with face frames and then pine doors with beadlock. Any one try this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,276 Posts
The only real drawback to pine is it's relative softness. It tends to mar relatively easier than hardwoods. That said, I have seen some very attractive pine cabinetry. It is also an easy wood to work with, and fairly stable when properly seasoned/dried. I am planning to make some cabinets for our laundry room, using Western red cedar, so I will have the issues of soft wood to deal with also, but it also makes very attractive cabinetry.

Good luck on your project.

Gerry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
Pine has long been used for cabinetry. If you use longleaf pine it's quite hard and wears well. It's not as understated as white pine though and is a little difficult to sand and finish. These are eastern pines, I'm not familiar with the western pines. One of the more difficult things about it is finding it dry. With pine, you're typically looking for a moisture content of 9% or so to start. I generally find it around 14% locally. Keep in mind that if you're making raised panel doors that white pine will move a little less than longleaf. Also you'll need to be a little careful about the relative, or effective, moisture content of the wood. You'll need to figure out the average relative humidity of the house and figure out what the effective moisture content of the wood will be. You can search online for a wood shrinkage calculator and plug in your numbers. If you don't do this, and use solid wood panel doors, then you run a fair risk of having a panel shrink to the point that there will be a gap between the stile and panel.

If you're using flat panel doors then you don't have to worry so much about the wood movement but it's still very useful to be sure of what sort of movement issues you'll have. It's also very useful to know when it comes time to finish. Overly wet wood, and especially pine, is just not going to look very good under finish and after the wood shrinks a bit, and the finish doesn't, then it'll look worse.

When I first started building cabinets some 25 years ago probably half were pine and half were oak. We stick built the things and there's a kitchen I see from time to time that we did and it's held up well.

Pine is fun to work with and makes the shop smell better but keep something to clean your blades with handy. If you notice a lot of dust that's clumping up and sticking to everything, you need to check the moisture content.

Around here, the absolute best place to find pine is in old buildings. I snatch up all the old floor joists I can when someone tears down an old house. The wood is good and dry and behaves very well. It's also better looking than the new stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the helpfull replies.

Big dave- awesome work!! im not usually a fan of solid slab doors but those accent pieces really caught my eye.

PK- ive never really delt with moisture content when wood working, guess ive just been lucky with my results. As far as menards and home depot stores do you think the moisture is about average? like is it going to change a how lot once in my house?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
803 Posts
Pine alway comes across as cabinets better in rural areas than urban.
And yer right P.K...the stuff smells GREAT when freshly planed!!!!:thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Pine alway comes across as cabinets better in rural areas than urban.
And yer right P.K...the stuff smells GREAT when freshly planed!!!!:thumbsup:
well good thing my house is in lil farm town with about 200 people, a bank and a bar, lol. I actually think it will tie into the whole house. i plan on using alot of pine wainscot and maybe some carsiding on the ceiling
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
lol i paid 35k for my 2 bed 2 bath house with half acre lot. And thats worth more to me then some fancy condo. Its crazy how lil you get for what you spend in the big cities. LIke those house flippin shows where in ca my house would be half a mill, such a joke
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
Smontanye I don't buy wood from the hardware store very often and don't really know at what mc they sell wood. As for movement, you really have to evaluate what level of concern it is on your particular circumstance. Now you have to understand that on a typical wood panel in a door you might be talking 1/8-3/8" of movement as the seasons change. The average cope and stick shaper knife or router bit leaves you with a 3/8" groove for the panel to ride in on each side. So what this means is that the odds are that you will probably get away with making panel doors the majority of the time with no problem. However, it's that one time in fifty that causes all the trouble.

Let's say you start with a pine panel 14" wide that's at 12% mc. Then let's say that your average relative humidity in your house gives you an effective mc of 7%, meaning that this is where your wood will eventually dry to. The pine is going to shrink about 3/16" getting to that 7% mc and then will continue to swell and shrink as the effective moisture content changes.

3/16" doesn't sound like much, but remember that you only have 3/4" for this panel to move in and typically you make the panel 1/8"-1/4" smaller than the opening to allow for expansion. So what you end up with when that wet wood shrank down to the effective mc is a panel that is very loose in the frame and may have some daylight showing on one side.

I used a mc calculator I have on my computer to get these numbers. There's several of them available on the web. I use the one from Dr. Wengert at UW Madison.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
36 Posts
lol i paid 35k for my 2 bed 2 bath house with half acre lot. And thats worth more to me then some fancy condo. Its crazy how lil you get for what you spend in the big cities. LIke those house flippin shows where in ca my house would be half a mill, such a joke
:eek:

I wish I could get that in NJ... the house I just bought was dirt cheap, a fixer upper at $175k, nowhere near cities, and my neighbors homes all at $250k and up - in a town of 4000 people.

Of course, I like the small town feel, and I rather enjoy my (2hr) commute to NYC. While I do need to do my kitchen, pine I don't think will fit, but I will be definitely leaning towards a more traditional and simple look (its a 160+ year old colonial). I'm leaning to natural oak, maybe with a deeper glaze color to accent a few edges.

Now from my cabinetry days, my old company used to charge a hell of alot more for pine, specifically knotty pine, for the people Corndog mentioned - typically $800k and up homes, brand-spankin new. It was a bit shocking to me when I first started there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,276 Posts
Is there anything wrong with using pine for kitchen cabinets? For some reason i really like the look of clear pine with natural stain. I was thinking of pine carcasses with face frames and then pine doors with beadlock. Any one try this?
With reference to the shrinkage factor, the best thing to do is to rough cut your boards a little oversize, and store them in the house for a couple of months to let them acclimatise. This is assuming that the boards where relatively dry to start with.The panels can then be cut to size, and fitted. There will still be changes to the wood, as the seasons, and relative humidity change, but if the boards are seasoned in the home you should be at a good start point.
pk has summed it up quite well , I think. The best option, if you can get one, is a moisture meter. Then, you can compare the boards you are using with the wood in the house. When they are both the same the boards should be well acclimated.

Gerry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
Gerry's right on the money about letting the wood acclimatize where it will be used. Trying to force wood to do what you want almost always has bad consequences. Letting it sit for a couple of months and just being patient will save tons of headaches.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top