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Cabinet Construction Basics

What counts is what's inside

A beautiful, functioning cabinet starts with smart construction. The following overview provides an outline of general cabinet terms and construction options. Your designer will be able to answer questions about which options are available.

Construction Details

  • 1/2" thick plywood sides

  • Fully adjustable, 3/4" thick plywood* shelving

  • Solid wood drawer and roll tray sides, backs, and fronts

  • Dovetail construction standard on drawers and roll trays

  • Full extension drawer/roll tray guides with Quiet Close feature

  • Fully concealed 6-way adjustable hinge

*All plywood components meet ANSI/HPVA HP-1 standards, and may contain MDF or particleboard.

Box Construction


  • Face Frame – The structural portion of the cabinet to which doors are attached, consisting of both rails and stiles.
  • End Panel – The side of the cabinet that is grooved into the face frame and extends back to the wall.
  • Bottom – The floor of the cabinet. On a wall and tall cabinet, the same component is used as the top.
  • Back – The rear vertical surface used to mount the cabinet to the wall. Some brands have hanger rails behind the back.
  • Adjustable Shelves – Horizontally placed storage surfaces that are adjusted by moving clips used to hold the shelf in place.
  • Toekick – The recessed toe space at the bottom of a base cabinet.

Door Overview


  • Center Panel – The raised or flat panel in the middle of a door enclosed by stiles and rails.
  • Center Stile – Sometimes called a mullion, this is the raised rail in the middle of a door that is enclosed by stiles and rails.
  • Edge Profile – Shape put on the outside edge of a door or drawer front.
  • Rail – A horizontal framing member of a cabinet face frame or door.
  • Reveal – On a framed cabinet, the distance between the outside edge of the face frame and the outside edge of the door (varies depending on the door style, but is typically 3/16 to 1/4 inch).
  • Stile – The vertical-framing members of a cabinet face frame or cabinet door.



  • Dovetail Joint – An interlocking corner joint where pins on one piece fit into sockets on a second piece.
  • Drawer Glide – The system used to support the drawer in a cabinet and provide opening/closing operation.



  • Concealed Hinge – Not visible on the surface of the cabinet, may be self-closing.
  • QuietClose – An optional hinge or add-on device that will softly close doors and drawers, controlling slamming.
  • Knob – Surface hardware attached with one screw. Typically smaller than a pull and used on a proportionally smaller door or drawer.
  • Pull – Surface hardware attached with two screws, like a handle.