Ask anyone at Holland’s to describe stained wood grades using just one word, and we’ll all probably say “enchanting.” Why that word? Because each stained wood grade offers a unique story of character and charm.
- Rustic grade wood makes different types of wood colors come alive, revealing rich, varied tones and pronounced grain for an earthy, authentic feel.
- Epitomizing uniformity, select grade showcases a cleaner palette with minimal color diversities.
- Calico grade weaves a tale of contrasting shades, combining white sapwood with dark heartwood to create a visual symphony.
- Natural wood grade celebrates wood’s quirks by embracing minor imperfections as natural beauty.
- Clear grade is often associated with a clean and uniform appearance, showcasing the natural beauty of the wood.
Let’s take a closer look at what stain grade wood is and these stained wood grade types to better understand their characteristics and uses.
What Is Stain Grade Wood?
Stain grade woods are often the preferred choice for custom cabinetry. They offer a striking display of the wood’s natural character, intricate grain patterns, and texture. When stained, these woods deliver a lustrous, translucent finish that enhances the wood’s innate beauty.
Stain grade wood comes in both hardwood and softwood varieties. Hardwood varieties are desirable because they can withstand dents and scratches, and because they tend to have more complex and varied grain patterns compared to softwood, with intricate swirls, knots, and figuring. On the other hand, softer woods, while subject to minor dings and scratches, are often sought for their charming, worn look and simpler and more straight-grained appearance.
A key attribute of stain grade woods is their nonporous nature, meaning they resist liquid absorption. Conversely, woods with larger pores readily absorb stains, potentially resulting in patchy, uneven appearances. For example, extremely porous woods such as poplar can display erratic blotches when stained, and even moderately porous woods like birch can be unpredictable.
Clearly, stain grade wood is a superior choice for those who seek the beauty of natural hardwood in their custom cabinetry. Wood quality grades matter.
Rustic Wood Grade: A Touch of Vintage Charm
Prefinished hardwood offers a diverse range of options, including various wood quality grades, types of wood color, and wood grain types. Among these, rustic grade hardwood (which is also sometimes known as utility grade, cabin grade, or builder grade) occupies the lowest rung on the quality ladder.
While it may not meet the high standards of first-grade stained wood grades, rustic grade hardwood has its own charm. The rustic grade accepts a spectrum of imperfections, such as open knots, missing tongues, sander burns, short pieces, and splits.
This grade typically contains natural and manufacturing variations, including knot holes, open wormholes, and other open characters, along with color variations. Manufacturing variations encompass drying characters and machining irregularities, like broken tongues and splits.
This is why rustic grade natural hardwood can be a cost-effective choice for your project when used under the right conditions. Its unique character, from knots to wormholes, imparts warmth and personality to any space, making it a desirable option for those seeking a lived-in, authentic look.
Hardwood, regardless of wood quality grades, can enhance homes with warmth, style, and increased property value. However, hardwood often commands a hefty price tag depending on the types of wood color and the quality used.
Select Wood Grade: The Elegance of Precision
Choosing the right wood grade is crucial when aiming for a pristine, natural finish or a light-colored stain on cabinets. This premium-grade wood is an ideal choice for a consistent appearance.
Select wood grade boasts minimal color and grain variation, though you might come across slight pin knots, gum pockets, and subtle curly figures on occasion. In fact, minor variations in color, pin knots, gum, and mineral stains can be expected, even within the same species.
Sticker or blue stains and dark mineral streaks on the face are not allowed. No splits, knots larger than pin size, or whorls either. Panel staves can vary in width, making them versatile for a range of projects. This wood grade is perfect for natural to light finishes, though there may be slight color variations.
Keep in mind that natural wood characteristics might be visible on the back of the product, and not all wood species are available in select grade. As a rule of thumb, when it comes to custom wood cabinetry, “select” essentially offers a balance between quality and aesthetics.
Calico Wood Grade: A Whimsical Palette
Calico wood grade is a prime example of a stained wood grade that offers a quintessential natural wood look. Custom cabinets made using calico wood grade materials, such as hickory, are usually created on a per-project basis.
With a moisture content of 6-8%, calico wood grade hickory quickly adapts to its environment and can be custom-prefinished to meet client preferences.
The allure of calico wood grade hickory lies in its captivating color variation, showcasing a striking interplay between white sapwood and dark heartwood. This is often enriched with knots and surface imperfections. When used strategically, this wood grade creates a visually stunning contrast of wide white and dark stripes.
Renowned for its durability, stability, and resistance to sunlight fading, calico wood grade hickory outshines many other wood quality grades. It pairs well with both hand and power tools, is great for screw retention and takes well to glue, stains, and polishing, yielding a remarkable finish. Due to its hardness, installing calico wood grade hickory can be somewhat challenging, making professional intervention the prudent choice when working with this material.
Owing to its unique character, calico wood grade hickory is often chosen for high-end residential cabinetry, bringing uniqueness and elegance to any home.
Natural Wood Grade: Timeless Simplicity
The natural wood grade embraces the intrinsic diversity found in different wood species. Each wood type exhibits its own unique set of characteristics, encompassing variations in color, wood grain, and other distinctive traits.
The natural grade may showcase slight irregularities in the milling process, minor disparities, and diverse wood features like spots, streaks, pinholes, small splits, and knotholes, adding to its distinctive charm.
Compared to the clear grade (which is virtually flawless), the natural grade incorporates a slightly greater number of natural imperfections. Nevertheless, it maintains an overall sense of uniformity with minimal knots and color variations.
For those seeking the authenticity and character of natural wood, the natural grade is a compelling choice.
Clear Wood Grade: Flawless Elegance
Clear grade typically refers to a high-quality wood grade that is free from knots, defects, and other imperfections. It’s often associated with a clean, uniform, and natural appearance, showcasing the inherent beauty of the wood.
Clear grade stained wood is commonly used in high-end furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and other applications where a pristine appearance and a specific, lighter color tone are desired.
The clarity of the wood combined with custom staining can result in a refined and elegant finished product.
Choosing the Right Wood Grade
Choosing the right wood grade is a critical decision for cabinet projects involving natural wood construction. Several factors must be considered.
First, a basic understanding of stained wood grades is essential. These grades are determined by the wood’s quality, reflecting aspects such as wood grain types, acceptable (even desired) imperfections, and types of wood color. Each grade, whether it’s clear or character-filled, offers its own unique aesthetic and quality.
Balancing aesthetics with functionality is crucial. Clear grades offer a sleek, uniform look that is ideal for polished settings, while other character grades embrace natural variations, adding personality to any space.
Choosing the grade that’s right for you should align with personal preferences and project requirements. The right choice can help ensure both visual appeal and functionality.
The skilled artisans at Holland Custom Cabinets are here to bring your custom cabinet vision to life. Contact us today for a consultation and let’s start creating the cabinets you’ve always dreamed of.