Cabinetry 101 (Some Basic Terminology)

WoodworkerAccess.com is an information platform and providing basic resources, such as fundamental cabinetry introductions is helpful for beginners who want to incorporate custom features into projects.

Whether you have been a woodworker for many years or are new to the industry, it never hurts to brush up on old subjects and terminology. Below, we have gathered some categories and terms for assistance.

Cabinetry Categories:

  • Wall cabinets or wall-mounted cabinets- refers to cabinets that are hung on the wall. Sometimes they are called upper cabinets.
  • Base cabinets, tall cabinets and vanity cabinets – refers to cabinets designed to rest on the floor. Sometimes they are also called lower cabinets.

Cabinetry Terms:

When choosing wall cabinets, kitchen cabinet doors, bathroom wall cabinets or bathroom cabinet doors, having familiarity with cabinetry terms will also enable you to make the appropriate decisions when adding custom elements like convenience hardware. The following are some cabinetry terms to know.

  • Center Panel – The raised or flat panel in the middle of cabinetry doors enclosed by stiles and rails.
  • Center Stile- Sometimes called a mullion, this is the raised rail in the middle of the cabinetry doors that is enclosed by the stiles and rails.
  • Edge Profile- Shape put on the outside edge of the cabinetry doors or cabinetry drawers.
  • Rail- A horizontal framing member of the cabinetry faces or doors.
  • Reveal- On a framed cabinet, the distance between the outside edge of the face frame and the outside edge of the door.
  • Stile- The vertical-framing members of the cabinetry faces or cabinetry doors.

Face Frame Vs. Frameless

American cabinet manufacturers have traditionally built cabinets using a framed construction. In this type of cabinet construction, the rails and stiles form a 1-1/2 inch face “frame” at the front of the cabinet box. This frame resembles a flat picture frame that is attached to the door front, giving added dimension to the door front.

Frameless cabinet construction is a European way of manufacturing cabinets that has become popular among American homeowners seeking simple, more contemporary cabinet designs. Frameless cabinetry is sometimes called “full access” cabinetry because it offers greater accessibility by eliminating the face frame.


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