Here at Ruck Cabinet Doors, we offer 5 grades of wood: Select, Paint, Rustic, Rift Sawn, and Quarter Sawn.
And we get a lot of questions about our two most popular grades: paint and select. So what exactly is the difference between the two? Let's dive in.
Like the name suggests, paint-grade wood is meant to be painted. It's usually a smooth wood free of knots and heavy grain patterns, providing a flat surface for paint. But since the door will be painted, there's often a lot of variation of color and grain throughout the door with little attempt to match or coordinate the components.
The woods typically used for paint grade cabinet doors are woods with tighter grains like Poplar, Maple, Alder, Birch, and Pine. MDF and HDF are also good alternatives to solid wood and used often for paint grade.
In fact, when it comes to the construction of the doors, we strongly suggest using MDF/HDF center panels with a solid wood frame. This helps eliminate panel shrinkage, joint cracks, and visible glue lines.
Here's an example of paint grade doors leaving our shop. As you can see, there's quite a bit of variation with grain and color, as well as a HDF center panel. All of these imperfections will be concealed with paint.
Not only is paint grade wood a great option when you paint your doors, it's also one of the most cost-effective options. Since we have more leeway and can include some of the more natural characteristics of wood, we can be less picky and use wood that would have otherwise been discarded.
Select Grade is our premium grade. If you plan to apply a natural finish or light stain, this is the grade to use. Select grade has the least amount of color and grain variation. It's uniform in color and, depending on species, will have very few knots and pin holes.
With this grade, our team really focuses on color and grain matching on all components to achieve that beautiful, uniform look. Because of this, this grade tends to be more expensive.
Here's an example of our select grade wood in Ash. The door on the left is unfinished, whereas the door on the right has a stain. Notice how each component of the door has been carefully crafted to be uniform in color with very few imperfections or character markings.