Cabinet Terminology

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5-piece Door (or Drawer Front)

Any door or drawer front that consists of a frame (two horizontal rails and two vertical stiles) and a panel (raised or flat).



Supplemental parts of the cabinet referred to as bells and whistles. Any nonessential component such as roll-outs, pullouts, tilt-outs, hardware, etc.


A substance that is capable of bonding material together by surface attachment.

Adjustable Shelves

Moveable shelves that can be placed in a wide range of layouts using shelf pins inserted into pre-drilled holes.

Advantage line

Conestoga’s new “All Wood Series” of cabinet boxes that are manufactured from veneered plywood with solid wood face frames.

Air Dried

Lumber stacked and stored so that it is dried naturally by the exposure to air.

Annual Growth Ring

The layer of growth to the circumference of a tree in a season, easily recognizable in many woods by the difference in cells formed during the early and late parts of the season.

Angled Corner Cabinet

Any cabinet designed to fit on an end of an upper or lower cabinet creating a fixed angle.


Antiquing is the process of applying an aging effect to a wood surface to produce a time-worn appearance. We use a factory applied effect to simulate the natural aging process by using corner over sanding rub through techniques to express a softly aged furniture appearance.


A carved or etched decorative piece of wood installed on the face of cabinets. Also referred to as an on lay.

Appliance Panel

A variation on a door that is mounted on a refrigerator, dishwasher or other appliance. Depending on the appliance manufacturer’s specifications, these panels often require detailing around the edge in order to work with the appliance’s mounting mechanism.


Bead Board

Paneling with beaded, routed detail.

Beaded Inset

A variation of Flush Inset where the Face Frame surrounding the opening is routed with a rounded bead (groove) as a decorative highlight.

Base Cabinet

Any cabinet designed to be installed directly on the floor.  Base cabinets do not have tops to them, which means some form of countertop has to be installed in the field such as a laminate top, solid surface top, wooden top or a granite top.


(Base End Raised Panel) A decorative panel, usually matching the door style, designed to be applied to the side or back of a cabinet, an island for example.


(Beveled Finger-Tip Door Pulls) A portion of material removed from the edge of a piece of wood. This technique can be used to create a natural finger-pull such as on a beveled-edge door. Also is used to create a specific angle when two pieces of wood are joined together. For example, when two pieces have a 45° bevel they create a right angle when joined.

Blind Corner Cabinet

Any cabinet, upper or lower, designed to be installed in the corner of a room, with another cabinet installed directly adjacent to it, thus hiding the blind portion.  This type of cabinet gives access to an otherwise dead space, providing more storage.

Bumper Pads

A small spongy material placed on any cabinet door designed to soften the noise as the door is closed.

Bun Foot

A round decorative furniture grade foot used on the bottom corners of base cabinets.

Butt Doors

Two cabinet doors covering a single opening, normally too large for one door. The edges of both doors nearly meet. The opening does not have a center mullion.

Butt Joint

A term used when the edges of two pieces of wood are joined together.


Cathedral Arch

A term used when the top cabinet door has a curved shape in the panel and frame.


(sometimes referred to as “carcase”) The “box” or elemental parts that make up the basic structure of a base or wall cabinet piece.

Center Stile

A vertical strip of hardwood that is a component of the face frame. It usually divides a cabinet opening equally. Also referred to as a mullion. Cherry

A moderately hardwood having a fine to medium uniform grain.

Close Grain

Having fine and closely arranged fibers or fine texture. Maple is considered to have close grain.

Concealed Hinge

A hinge that is not visible on the front of a cabinet door. Concealed hinges are attached to the inside surface of the door. Referred to as a cup hinge.

Color Variation

A natural variation of color inherent in any wood species. Soil type, mineral deposits, water levels, temperature and geographical location are all factors in the degree of variation.


A decorative wooden bracket used as a support mechanism for mantels, bar tops, etc.

Corner Blocks

Any type of wooden, plastic or metal component used to strengthen any joint. Typical application is where face frame and end panel are joined. Custom cabinets

Custom are cabinets made to a designer’s or customer’s specifications, with no limitations on sizing, materials and options. They are made-to-order.



A 1/4″ +/- deep channel or groove cut across the wood’s grain is called a dado. A dado joint is formed when a cross member is fitted perpendicular into the channel.

Dentil Mould

A term used to describe a decorative tooth-like pattern on any trim molding.

Door Styles

A variety of cabinet doors the consumer has to choose from when designing their home.

Dishwasher End Panel

The equivalent to one side of a base cabinet box with its corresponding single-piece face frame (a 3″ wide stile). Used primarily when a dishwasher or other appliance is at the exposed end of a run of cabinets, but has uses in other instances, too.


A finishing technique whereby the items being finished are nicked and dented to give the appearance of aged or pre-used wood. Three distressing levels exist.

Drawer Face

The panel that is attached to the front of a drawer box. It is also referred to as the ‘drawer front’ and is the visible front part of the drawer that the handle is attached to. On some cabinet drawers the drawer face is the front part of the drawer box.


A method of wood joinery used to connect two pieces that join each other, typically at right angles. The edge of each piece is cut with a number of V-shaped notches that interlock with the adjoining piece forming a very strong joint.


Edge Profile

The routing or beading that exists on the outside front edge of a door or drawer front.

End Panel

The panel that forms the side of the cabinet.

Engineered wood

A wood product that is manufactured to enhance the overall qualities of the wood material itself, or to salvage by products of wood processing into useful material. Plywood and MDF are two examples of engineered wood products. They are more dimensionally stable than solid wood.

Essence line

Conestoga’s new series of cabinet boxes that are manufactured from particle board laminated using a maple wood grain paper. Shelves are 3/4″ edgebanded particle board. (Solid wood shelves are optional.) These cabinets, like the Advantage series, have solid wood face frames.

Exposed Hinge

A term used to describe a cabinet hinge that is visible from the outside. Some types are barrel hinges.

Exposed Side

(Different than a “standard” or “flush” side). An exposed side has the same configuration as a standard cabinet side (1/2″ thick plywood or particle board), but with a matching veneer on the outside. As with a standard cabinet side, the face frame will extend 7/32″ beyond the exposed side. Exposed sides are pre-finished if the cabinet is ordered as pre-finished.

Extended Stile (ESR/ESL)

Adds 3″ to the outside of either the left or right stile (or both) on any face frame. Thus, a 24″ cabinet with a ESR (extended stile right) will have a 27″ wide face frame with a 4-1/2″ wide right stile. Extended Stiles can be trimmed prior to installation.


Face Frame
(Front frame) The front facing of a cabinet typically constructed of hardwood. The vertical pieces, called “stiles,” and the horizontal pieces, called “rails,” reinforce the cabinet structure and provide mounting support for doors and drawers.

Pieces of hardwood matching a chosen cabinet color. Sizes range from 1″ to 6″ wide and 30″ to 96″ long. Common use is to fill the space where a modular cabinet does not fill a specific wall dimension.

The overall surface color, sealing, and added accents of a cabinet or piece of decorative hardware. This includes the highlights and darker tones added to create a special look. It does not include the shape, carved or casted detailing, or physical design of the piece.

Flat Panel
A variety of 5-piece door or drawer style, often referred to as “Shaker” style, where the front center panel is flat from side to side. Depending on the door design, these panels may be made from solid wood or from a veneered plywood.

Another word used to describe a form of particle board. You may also see the term “furniture board” used which means the same thing.

A concave shallow groove that is routed into a wood surface. Fluting is usually applied vertically. Common use is to overlay on a cabinet stile or filler for a decorative effect.

Flush Inset
A configuration of cabinets where the doors and drawer fronts are sized to be mounted inside the opening of the face frame. Thus, the front of the door is flush with the font of the face frame.

Flush Side
(Different than a “standard” or “exposed” side). A flush side has all the characteristics of an exposed side, except that it is made with 11/16″ thick plywood so that the reveal (where the face frame extends beyond the side of the cabinet) is virturally eliminated. Flush sides are available only on the Craftsman line and are pre-finished if the cabinet is ordered as pre-finished.

Flush Toe
A variation on base cabinets where the bottom rail of the face frame is extended straight down to the floor.

Framed Cabinet
A traditional style of cabinetry. The box is built behind a picture frame-like structure on which the doors and drawers are applied.

Frameless Cabinets
Often referred to as European-style cabinets. Components, doors and drawers are applied to the inside of the box thus eliminating the traditional face frame.

An option for doors that will omit the center panel. The door frame will be routed along the interior back to accept glass or other material. (See “Mullion”)

Framing Bead
The profile of the front, inside edge of the frame (rails and stiles) on a 5-piece door or drawer.

a cabinet design that uses a ‘face-frame’ which is typically a wood frame attached to the front edges of the cabinet box.

a cabinet design that does not use a frame on the front outside edges of the cabinet box. The front of the cabinet box is formed by the edges of the top, bottom and side panels of the cabinet box. The cabinet door typically covers the these edges when closed.

French Leg
A furniture-grade decorative leg used on the bottom corners of base cabinets.

Full Overlay
Doors and drawers are sized large enough to cover the cabinet face with only minimal clearances between them.

A box-out at the ceiling typically 12″ high and 14″ deep. Often used for AC ductwork. Kitchen cabinets are installed up to it creating a step effect. Also called a soffit or bulkhead.

Furniture board
Furniture board is another term for particle board. The term was coined in reference to the particle board that’s used in the furniture industry. You may also see the term “flakeboard” which means the same thing.


Galley Rail
Any molding using tiny spindles to create a front retainer along a plate rail cabinet top. It gets its name because of its likeness to galley rails used on ships.

An optional finish coat designed to highlight corners, beads and grooves on a door. Usually applied on top of a stain or Colourtone finish and before the clear topcoat is applied.

Glaze Finish
Additional steps in the finishing process that are applied to add depth and dimension to highlight door detail, wood color and the base finish color.

Glazed Finishing
Our glaze process begins with the perspective of wood Glazing as an art unto itself, and probably the most important and valuable technique in the art of finishing fine furniture. Unlike other companies, we hand apply our glaze finish to each and every component and you can expect your glazed cabinets to vary slightly. The raised panels and detailed edges used in the construction on our product allow the stain to “hang-up” and settle into the seams and give the feeling of depth and dimension.

The appearance, size and direction of the alignment of the fibers of the wood.

Grain Variation
A term used to describe a species of wood’s natural dissimilar grain pattern.


Lumber from the group of trees with broad leaves, this has no reference to the actual hardness of the wood.

A heavy, hard, strong, stiff wood with a fine uniform grain.

A mechanical device used to attach a cabinet door to a cabinet box. There are many styles offering different applications, degree of swing and visibility.

Hinge Boring (or Hinge Drilling)
The option of creating cup holes (35mm diameter, 13.5mm deep) or slots to fit concealed, Euro-style hinges. Some hinges have wood screws above and below the cup for which we do not pre-drill. Some hinges have a plastic or rubber plug (often called inserts or dowels) above and below the cup for which we can optionally drill.

Hybrid Door
A door with a wood frame and an MDF panel. A nice option for painted doors since the MDF does not expand and contract as much as wood.


A construction term used when two pieces of material are joined or attached together. Common types are:

  • Butt
  • Cope and Stick
  • Dado
  • Dovetail
  • Miter
  • Mortise and Tenon
  • Rabbet
  • Tongue and Groove

Joint Lines
Wood is hygroscopic – meaning, when exposed to air, wood will lose or gain moisture until it is in equilibrium to the humidly and temperature of its environment. Even protective coatings cannot prevent wood from gaining or losing moisture; they merely slow the process. Visibilities of joint lines are typical and do not diminish the finish or lesson the strength of the joint, which may effect solid wood doors and drawer fronts, adding additional beauty of aging wood.


A saw cut that is made on the surface to relieve stress. It is used to create a curve, such as with a toe kick around a curved base cabinet.

Kiln Dry
A term used to describe the process of oven drying fresh cut lumber. The process removes excess moisture so raw lumber can be fabricated into a finished product.

A hardware item, typically round in shape, attached to doors and drawers for function and decoration.

A hard node in any wood species where a branch once grew.


A term used when layers of wood are bonded together through a process of heat and pressure. n. The plastic product used to fabricate kitchen countertops.

Lazy Susan
A corner kitchen base cabinet utilizing kidney shaped shelves rotating on a center poll for easy access.


A close-grained hardwood that is predominantly white to creamy white in color, with occasional reddish-brown tones.  While maple typically features uniform graining as compared to other wood species, characteristic markings may include fine brown lines, wavy or curly graining, bird pecks, or mineral streaks.  These traits are natural and serve to enhance maple’s inherent beauty.

Matching Interior
An option on the Craftsman line of cabinets that results in the interior of the cabinet, including the shelves, having a veneer to match the wood of the face frame. These interiors can be unfinished or finished to match the face frame. This option is not available in all wood species.

Medium density fiberboard (MDF) 
a wood-based product that’s produced by the combination of very small wood fibers and a glue, resin or similar bonding agent. MDF can be more easily shaped than products like particle board due to the consistency of the material formed by the small fibers. MDF can be used for shelves, doors (typically painted or covered with melamine) and other cabinet parts.

A slick plastic-like material used to cover a substrate of engineered wood or MDF. This material is popular because it is durable and easy to clean.

Any type of machined woodwork.

Mineral Streak 
A discoloration in any species of wood caused by mineral deposits the tree extracts from the soil. Commonly seen as a blackish-blue streak within the grain.

A joint made when two beveled surfaces form a specific angle. For example, two pieces of wood each beveled at 22 1/2° will form a 45° angle when joined together.

Miter Joint
Pieces are cut on an angle to make a joint.

A standardized increment of measurements specific to a product. Modular cabinets are generally manufactured in 3″ increments.

A strip of material with a profile cut on the facing edges, used for trimming.

A cavity or hole cut to allow a Tenon to pass through to make a joint.

Mortise and Tenon 
A specific joining technique. The mortise (groove or slot) is cut into a piece of wood. The joint is made when an opposing piece cut with a tenon (a collared protrusion) is slipped into the mortise.

 Like a frame-only door, mullion doors have no center panel and are routed to accept glass. Mullions are narrow strips of wood that form a design where the panel would be. The blank areas created between the mullions and the frame are called “lites” (similar to panes in an exterior window). Standard mullion doors allow for a single pane of glass to be inserted behind the mullions. “True-lite” mullion doors require individual panes of glass to fill each lite.

Mullion Doors 
Also referred to as a divided light door. The solid center panel is omitted and replaced with horizontal and vertical mullions dividing the open panel into smaller panels. Clear, smoked, bronzed, opaque or leaded glass inserts (provided by the consumer) can fill these panels for the desired effect.


A string of letters and numbers used to identify specific cabinet types or accessories.


A strong open-grained hardwood that ranges in color from white to pink and reddish tones.  Streaks of green, yellow, and even black may appear due to mineral deposits.  Oak may contain wormholes and wild, varying grain.  The distinct graining is considered a desirable quality

An S shape that is made by making one cut to produce two identical pieces.

A carved or etched decorative ornament installed on the cabinet face. Also referred to as an appliqué.

Open Grain
Large pores or course texture in grain. Oak is an example of an open-grained wood. (See Oak.)

The amount by which a door or drawer front covers the face frame on each side of the opening. For example, a single door with a 1/2″ overlay is 1″ wider and 1″ taller than the opening. Common overlays are 1/2″ (exposing 1″ of the frame on all sides) and 1-1/4″ (exposing 1/4″ of the frame on all sides), but many others are valid. An overlay of 1-1/4″ or more is considered a “full overlay”. (Care should be taken to understand hinge specifications on full overlay doors to make sure enough room is allowed to open adjacent doors or doors in corners.) 1/4″ overlay doors are considered “partial overlay” and are typically used with a rabbeted edge profile on the door.


Particle board
a wood product made up of very small wood pieces and fragments that are fused together with a glue or resin under mechanical pressure. Particle board is used for cabinet boxes, shelves and drawers.

Partial overlay
A cabinet design whereby the cabinet door or drawer front partially overlaps the face frame. When the drawers/doors are closed part of the face frame remains visible. (Also see “overlay”).

Panel Raise
The transition, typically measuring 1″ to 1-1/2″ wide, from the narrowest part of the door or drawer panel (where it meets the frame) to the widest part (in the center). On raised panel doors, this panel raise is shown in the front. On flat panel doors made with solid wood panels the “reverse” raise is visible only from the back.

Similar in design to an island except open on only three sides. Often used in “L” shaped kitchens as serving bars that separate the kitchen from the dining or family room.

Conestoga’s previous series of cabinet boxes that are manufactured from particle board laminated using a maple wood grain paper. Shelves are 3/4″ edgebanded particle board. (Replaced by “Essence” Line.) 

a wood product made up of several layers of wood with the grain direction running at different angles with respect to each other. This orientation gives plywood greater strength and stability in comparison to solid wood.

Premium Grade
 Wood which contains less of the natural material characteristces and is produced within a much narrower color range than standard grade. Premium products will contain fewer and smaller mineral streaks and pin knots. 

Pull (Or Handle)
A hardware item, usually crescent shaped, attached to doors and drawers for function and decoration.

Pull-out Trays
Shallow drawer boxes (2-1/8″ exterior height) and hardware that fit inside a closed door cabinet. With the doors open, the adjustable trays can be pulled out to full-extension.


Quarter Sawn
Boards which have been cut so that the wide surfaces are approximately 90 degrees to the annual growth rings, this type of cut reduces cupping of the boards.


A technique for joining two pieces at right angles. A portion of material is removed from the edge of one piece similar to the thickness of the other piece. When the two are attached the joint is strengthened. Also called a half-lap joint.

Generally caused by poor installation. The cabinet is twisted out of square resulting in poor door and drawer alignment and operation.

Radius Door (or Curved Door)
A door which is curved along a specified arch. A typical radius may be 12″, 18″ or 24″ — with the bigger radius resulting in the shallower curve.

 A horizontal piece of the face frame or door frame. A typical door has a top and bottom rail. A typical 3-drawer cabinet, for example, will have top and bottom rails along with rails between each drawer.

Raised Panel
A variation of 5-piece door or drawer front where the center panel is thicker than the outside edges of the panel. Typically, the center of a raised panel door will be flush with the frame of the door.

Recessed Panel
Flat panel held inside the perimeter of a door.  A flat panel recesses between the stiles and rails.  See flat panel.

Refrigerator End Panel
The equivalent to one side of a tall cabinet box with its corresponding single-piece face frame (a 3″ wide stile). Used as an option when the sizes of the Tall Refrigerator cabinets don’t meet the particular sizing needs.

Retainer Moulding
Pieces that are included with frame-only or mullion doors to hold glass in place. The standard retainer moulding, for 1/8″ thick glass, is made of a clear rubber and snaps into the rout on the back of the door. For other glass thicknesses, a variety of wood retainer mouldings are offered.

The exposed portion of the cabinet face frame when the cabinet door and drawer are closed.

Rough Lumber
Boards which are sawn, edged and trimmed but not run through a planer.

Rope Molding
A piece of molding milled to appear twisted like rope.

To drill or gouge out an area of wood for decorative or joining purposes.

Ready-to-Assemble. All Conestoga cabinet components are shipped flat-packed and need to be put together prior to installation.

An MDF door or other product that is coated with a Rigid Thermofoil coating instead of paint or Colourtones.


Younger, softer outer portion of the tree trunk, just under the bark.

Scribe Allowance
Face frame extensions beyond the cabinet box for trimming to ensure proper fit.

Scribe Molding 
A generic piece of molding, usually 1/4″ thick and up to 1″ wide, for the purpose of trimming and concealing any discrepancy where the cabinet meets a sheetrock wall.

Semi-Concealed Hinge 
A term used to describe a cabinet hinge that is barely visible from the outside. Some types are called kerf or knuckle hinges.

cabinets manufactured within a range of specific sizes and styles but with a greater number of options and customization available as compared to straight stock cabinets.

Semi-Custom Cabinets 
Cabinets built in 1/8″ increments, opposed to modular cabinets built in 3″ increments. Most have certain limitations in their product lines but are usually more flexible in dimension and design than a typical modular or stock cabinet product. They are typically more expensive but don’t necessarily offer the best value available in the marketplace.

Semi-Transparent or Natural Finishes
The stains used in Cardell’s manufacturing process have been custom formulated to take advantage of the unique characteristics of each wood species. When applying a semi-transparent or natural finish, it is desirable to have wood grain opacity show through the applied stain. Also, wood joint lines will be more apparent depending on the species and stain combination selected.

Shelf Pins
Pieces of hardware that the shelf sits on, usually metal or plastic.

Short-grain Plywood
 Veneered plywood in which the grain goes across the width of the board (opposite that of typical plywood). Excellent for use on the back of islands, etc., since it leads to fewer seams.

A 3/16″-thick veneer panel generally used on the ends or backs of upper or base cabinets.

A box-out at the ceiling typically 12″ high and 14″ deep. Often used for AC ductwork. Kitchen cabinets are installed up to it creating a step effect. Also called a fur-down or bulkhead.

Solid Wood Panel
Center panel made up of boards that are joined or glued together to form the width of the center panel.  Because natural woods have variations in color and grain pattern from board to board, these variations will be apparent in a solid wood door.

Standard Overlay 
A door style designed with a specific hinge type. The cabinet door overlaps the cabinet opening 1/2″ on all four sides.

Stretcher or Nailer 
A structural component of the cabinet box. They are hidden horizontal members connecting the end panels at back of cabinet. During the installation process 2″ to 3″ screws are used to mount the cabinet to the wall through the stretchers.

A finish applied to natural wood cabinets to enhance color and add protection.

the vertical pieces of a face frame or door frame (in constrast to the “rails” which are the horizontal members of the frame).

Stock cabinets 
cabinets that are manufactured in standard sizes with a fixed range of options such as available wood types, etc. Stock cabinets are pre-manufactured and “off the shelf” products.

The original surface or the structural material beneath the layer of veneer or laminate.


(Tall End Raised Panel) A decorative panel, usually matching the door style, designed to be applied to the side or back of a cabinet, a pantry or refrigerator end panel.

All wood species show some wood grain. The amount of grain will vary by the applied finish and the wood species working in concert. Oak is an open or coarse grain wood therefore, grain will “telegraph” or noticeably show through the stain. Cherry and Maple are closed or finer grain wood. Some “telegraphing” of the grain characteristics will occur, though the result will be restrained.

also known as Rigid Thermo Foil (RTF), is created in a process that uses heat and pressure to bond a thin vinyl material to a substrate, usually Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF). Since the film is so thin, it can bond to very intricate shapes. This allows the process to be used on raised panels, routed edges and other designs that cannot be coated with other types of laminates.

Tilt-Out Trays 
A popular accessory item ideal for storing sponges and other dishwashing supplies. They are plastic trays attached to the back of false fronts at the sink area.

Tongue and Groove
A specific joining technique, the groove is cut into one piece of wood. The joint is made when an opposing piece cut with a tongue (a collared protrusion) is slipped into the groove.

Toe kick 
the bottom piece of a base cabinet that is recessed several inches from the front surface of the cabinet to allow room for a person’s feet when standing in front of the cabinet.

Traditional Overlay
Cabinet door styles that leave part of the face frame revealed.


Under mount Notching
Pieces that are cut from the back of the drawer box, beneath the floor of the drawer box, to allow for under mount slides to be attached.


A typically clear paint-like material applied as a coating to provide a protective finish.

A decorative hardwood panel installed across an open area, generally used above sinks.

Very thin sheets of wood that can be used to change the appearance of an existing piece of wood. Often, pre-finished veneers are attached to unfinished cabinet sides. Veneers can be cut and applied to old face frames as part of a “re-facing” job.

(Vanity End Raised Panel) A decorative panel, usually matching the door style, applied to the side or back of a cabinet, a vanity end panel.

Vinyl laminate
A composite material made up of paper and resin that have been fused together to form a relatively hard durable surfacing material. Vinyl laminate is used on cabinet surfaces by bonding the laminate to the substrate.


(Wainscot Panel) A door or a variation on a door which is designed as a decorative element to be applied to a wall or a cabinet side. Large wainscot panels may have several rails and or stiles with raised or flat panels between each.

Wall cabinet
Cabinet boxes that are mounted to the wall. Also referred to as an upper cabinet.

Any wood product that distorts or twists out of shape. The general cause is excessive heat or moisture.

(Wall End Raised Panel) A decorative panel, usually matching the door style, applied to the side or back of an upper cabinet.

Wood Grain
The pattern and texture produced in wood.

Wood Species
Different types of hardwoods or softwoods.  Examples are maple, oak, and cherry.