Wood Characteristics - Custom Kitchen and Bath Design - Home Improvement Drafting Services

Gilman Screens & Kitchens

San Francisco Location:
228 Bayshore Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94124
Phone: 415-550-8848   
Fax: 415-550-8296
Foster City Location:
1031 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Ste D
Foster City, CA 94404
Phone: 650-286-0433   
Fax: 650-286-0434
San Rafael Location:
530 W. Francisco Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901
Phone: 415-455-5363
Fax: 415-455-9497

Mountain View Location:
2039 W. El Camino Real
Mountain View CA 94040
Phone:  650.691.6850  
Fax:  650.691.0981
Burlingame Location:
217 California Drive
Burlingame, CA 94010
Phone: 650.340.2890
Fax: 650.340.2894
S. San Francisco Location:
Discounted Display Cabinets
175 Utah Ave.
S. San Francisco, CA 94080

Where details make the difference.


Wood components used in cabinetry are a product of nature and include a variety of species with various densities, colors and grain patterns. Color variation within a wood species is influenced by a number of factors such as moisture and mineral content of the soil, exposure to sunlight and genetic makeup. Changes in climate, growth rate, soil conditions and damage are a few of the factors that contribute to grain pattern. The tree diameter and type of cut determines the growth ring size and orientation, which in turn affects the grain pattern and color. All of these variations combine to produce unique characteristics that provide the beauty and essence of natural wood. 

All woods change color over time. The amount of change varies depending on the wood species, type of cut, exposure to natural light, and amount and color of stain pigment used. While color samples give a general idea of the appearance of a specific stain color and wood species combination, it is impossible to represent all of the grain patterns, wood and stain colors, and natural variations that will occur. Because of this, we recommend viewing the largest sample possible before making a final species and color selection. Following are some of the natural, inherent characteristics of wood species offered by Canyon Creek.


“Rustic” styling is one where no single door or front perfectly matches another. The “look” is created by a blend of cabinets, each with it’s own unique characteristics. Creating this overall appearance on a single sample is not possible, so we recommend viewing as large of a sampling as possible. 

Doors and fronts are the only components that will be “Rustic”. Some of the characteristics that will be represented are: mineral streaks, buried grains, natural color variations, grain variations, natural occurring cracks, grain roughness, and knots. Open knots (up to ½”) are acceptable, but they must be structurally “sound”, and may not have sharp edges that create a hazard for the end user. The presence of “rustic” characteristics can not be guaranteed on each piece, or as part of every cabinet. Since “rustic” product contains the natural attributes of the wood species, the quantity, size, placement and color of these characteristics will vary. They may not be specified on an order, and their consistency (or lack of) is not considered cause for replacement.

All veneer panels, face frames, and mouldings will be manufactured using clear material. Cabinet accessories and components that use ¾” sheet-stock will also be produced using clear material (Examples: letter organizer, end shelf cabinets, hood vent cover outside kits, valances, and finished interiors).


Red oak is a dense, heavy wood that is very hard and stiff. The open grain pattern can have bold, prominent and irregular characteristics that include mineral streaks, mineral stains, sap stain, ray flecks and some pin or closed (sound) knots. The color ranges from light tan to gray, dark brown, and pink to medium red-brown. 


Alder is a moderately light and somewhat soft hardwood grown primarily in the Northwest. The surface is smooth with very little grain visibility, but it may have pin knots, grain “fuzz” and mineral streaks. Color ranges are from very white to tan and pale pinkish brown with differences being accentuated when clear, light stain colors are used. 

Alder doors and DFMD drawer fronts with ¼” recessed panels, as well as finished ends, finished interiors and other veneer surfaces have birch plywood veneer panels which may vary in color to the solid alder door frame, cabinet frame or slab drawer front. 

Cherry plate rails, tambour and wine rack lattice are used in alder and rustic alder cabinets. Refer to the accessories section to determine if a item is available in alder. 


Hickory is very heavy, hard and dense and should be predrilled before hand nailing or inserting screws. It is a rustic wood with extreme variations in color, from nearly white to dark brown. Grain patterns can be bold and prominent, and have irregular characteristics that are associated with tree growth, Burts, water stains, mineral streaks and sound knots are typical and are not considered defects.


Hard maple is a stiff, strong, and heavy wood. Grain patters are tight and uniform, with smooth surface. Common characteristics include burl grain, pin knots, heartwood stains, mineral streaks, tiger stripes and caramelizing. Maple varies in color from nearly white to yellow, pink, light purple and slightly reddish brown. It contains a resin called lignin that causes the wood to turn yellow or orange over time. Exposure to sun or natural light speeds up this process, and it becomes more obvious when light colored stains or clear finishes are used.


Cherry is considered moderate in hardness, width and strength. Grain patterns range from fine to medium, with a relatively smooth surface. Mineral streaking, gum spots, pin knots, gum spots and sapwood are acceptable characteristics. Colors vary from white to light red to dark reddish brown, and a greenish hue may be seen when finished natural. Exposure to sun or natural light causes cherry to darken. Color changes over time can be dramatic, and they will be enhanced with light or clear finishes.


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