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Product & Wood Glossary


Wood is as individual as you are - and has its own unique style. At Holiday Kitchens, we offer a wide range of wood species each with their own distinguishing characteristics. It allows our customers to match their personality and lifestyle with the look and feel of our unique woods - truly making each handcrafted  kitchen cabinet distinct. Ask your Holiday dealer for hands-on samples as well.

Birdpeck - Minute, pitted areas in wood.

Burl - A knot in wood that gives the wood fibers a beautiful peacock-tail pattern.

Dados -  Grooves on the sides and frames of cabinets in which walls and bottoms of bases are glued and fastened

Dovetail Joint -  A joint formed by interlocking a series of pins, extending from one end of a board, with the tails cut into another board, then gluing the joint. No mechanical fasteners are needed. 

Drawer Front - The face of the drawer that coordinates with the door style.

Drawer Guides -  The hardware that supports the gliding motion of the drawer. 

End Grain - The surface of wood exposed after cutting across the fibers. In general, cuts made across the grain will expose the end of the grain. This end grain will generally absorb finish more than the rest of the wood, sometimes resulting in a slightly darker color and sometimes making the top coat look slightly duller.

End Panel -  The panel on the outside of a base cabinet.

Filler Piece -  A piece fitted to fill gaps between cabinets in order to ensure the cabinetry precisely fits the room. 

Finish - A varied color or transparent coating applied to wood. Rich grain patterns may be obscured by an opaque finish.  For that reason, Holiday uses  transparent stains that enhance the natural beauty of grain patterns. 

Glaze -  Accent color applied to enhance the grain, style and detail of a cabinet door

Grain - The general direction of the fibers in wood that gives wood its unique pattern and artistry. Depending on the species of tree and the unique growing conditions, a tree can produce wood with grains that are straight, spiral, interlocking, wavy, or even curly.  The perception of the wood color is largely determined by the way in which light plays off each grain. *How the wood is cut relative to the grain also affects how the wood finishes. Sawing and planing can be done across the grain, with the grain, or against the grain - each having a different effect on how the wood accepts stain.  

Hardwood - Wood from broad-leaved, mostly deciduous trees.

Heartwood - The mature wood that forms the spine of the tree; usually darker than sapwood.

HPL -  High pressure laminate is a durable composite material in which the finish and back layers are bonded by glue under extreme heat and pressure

Knots - Knots naturally occur wherever a branch has grown and are found in all species of woods, being more common in some woods than others.  Knots are categorized into several different types.

Laminate -  A piece made from bonding together layers of wood, plastic, or other material

MDF -  Medium density fiberboard is a type of particle board composed of small pieces of wood

Medullary Ray - A pattern of light that runs across the grain, causing “ray-fleck” or “splash figures.”

Mineral Streak - A dark brown-to-black coloration in the wood where minerals have been absorbed into the tree.  Many species of trees show mineral streaks running with the grain of the wood. Mineral streaks are not as common as knots. Mineral streaks will be more prominent in lighter woods, such as maple.  Darker stains can mask mineral streaks.

Mitered Joints -  A joint formed by beveling two pieces of wood at 45 degrees in order to make a 90 degree joint 

Mortise -  A notch in the wood cut to receive a tenon and make a joint.

Movement - The shrinkage and expansion of wood as it gives off and absorbs moisture.

Natural Color - Natural color is influenced by the genetics of the tree, growing conditions, and the environment in which the tree grows. Additionally, color naturally varies between individual trees - even those of the same species that are grown in the same location and harvested at the same time. In general, darker stains tend to reduce the appearance of color variation, and lighter stains allow that natural variation to show more clearly.  Natural color is also affected by the interior environment. Some changes are inevitable, such as the darkening of cherry and the lightening of alder over time. Other changes in color, however, are caused by the interior conditions, such as exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light, cleaning chemicals, or smoke.

Pitchpocket - An opening in the wood fiber that has held the resinous material, “pitch.”

Sapwood - The new wood of the tree that helps carry sap and stores food for tree growth.

Silicone -  Silicone should not be used on cabinetry, because they build up over time and make it difficult to repair or repaint cabinetry. 

Tenon -  A projection on the end of a piece of wood shaped for insertion into a mortise to make a joint.

Veneer -  A thin slice of wood glued onto the core panels of the cabinet

Waxes for Wood Furniture -  Waxes should not be used on cabinetry because they typically leave behind a residues that builds up over time and can attract dirt, grime and smoke. 

Wood Furniture Polish -  Polishes made for wood cabinetry are better than waxes or silicones. Polishes have mild detergents that clean surfaces, emulsifiers that make it last and leave behind mineral oils that serve as a barrier to dirt and moisture.

Wood Moisture - Wood is composed of fibers that, when the tree was alive, “breathe” the surrounding air, either absorbing or giving off moisture. Wood cabinets will continue to swell as they absorb moisture and shrink as they give off moisture. For this reason, it is important that interior relative humidity and temperature be maintained in order to prevent expansion and shrinkage that make for ill-fitting doors or panels.


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