Wednesday, 21 September 2016 14:16

An Alternative to Paint Grade Maple

The trend in the cabinet industry for the last few years has been towards an increase in painted finishes. Where in the past the natural look and importance of accentuating hardwood grain patterns of high end walnut, cherry or oaks was the rave, today more tempered charcoal grays, tinted whites and even neutral pastels are the fashions that are moving. This has led the way for cabinet makers to use more MDF panels and paint grade hardwood lumber in their manufacturing.

Traditionally we have found that cabinet manufacturers would seek out brown or stained maple, (hard and soft) if they were making painted cabinetry. We would even see some of our customers consider poplar as a species in certain situations. Much of the time this decision is made because of the current state of supply and demand in the ever changing hardwood lumber industry.

44 PR Birch Smyrna top5aSometimes we see customers considering yet another species for paint grade cabinetry. When the application allows it we would see customers using yellow birch as a substitute for maple. Yellow birch is known to be a hard and strong hardwood. It is a close-grained wood with an indistinct grain pattern. Birch also usually runs at a significantly lower price per board foot less than hard or soft maple which could be a deciding factor for some manufacturers.

However, besides price, consistent, dependable and reliable supply is also a key consideration for any hardwood purchase. With our geographically disperse sawmills and long term partner mills we feel we would be able to provide our customers any of the fiber they need to meet their production needs.

If you have a need for paint grade lumber or have ideas on other species that might work well, let us know. We welcome the discussion!

Tony Cimorelli
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