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Succeeding with Quartersawn White Oak Cabinets

The kitchen design industry is seeing a significant increase in homeowners selecting Quartersawn and Rift Cut White Oak cabinets in bleached and cerused finishes.

These finishes often appear as an island accent wood. Quartersawn White Oak cabinets and Rift Cut White Oak cabinets are generally only available in the more expensive semi-custom and custom cabinetry.

In response to increased demand, some slightly less expensive brands are starting to offer this wood species and finish option.

However, this option is expensive! So, custom cabinet brands not only do a better job with the difficult finishes – their offerings will only be only slightly more expensive. And, well worth it! Choosing a custom line for these finishes makes more sense.

Main Line Kitchen Design’s Brighton and Wellsford custom lines do many striking versions of Quartersawn and Rift Cut White Oak cabinets in bleached and cerused finishes.

Brighton Cabinetry's Quarter Sawn White Oak
Brighton Quartersawn White Oak colors above

Wellsford’s Wayland door style in Quartersawn White Oak in Driftwood satin finish below:

Inset Cabinet

Main Line Kitchen Design often designs an Island kitchen using two different cabinet brands.

When a designer uses two different cabinet brands, s/he uses a less expensive brand for the main kitchen, and the pricier brand needed for the quarter sawn oak door style, for the island. This approach saves up to 50% on cabinetry costs!

Brighton Cabinetry in QS Oak with multilevel island

Brighton Quartersawn White Oak kitchen island by Chris Rossetti – Take a virtual tour HERE

Contact us today and create a kitchen that exceeds your dreams with the help of experienced professionals.

Paul McAlary

Blog notes:

Answer by Wood & Co.

Ceruse is a white lead-based pigment first used in 16th century Europe. It was originally
used in cosmetics as a skin whitener. However, this was found to be toxic due to its lead
content. Craftsmen then later repurposed ceruse for use in wood as a way to preserve it
and prevent rot.
The modern iteration no longer contains lead and is safe for us to use. Modern cerusing
uses white liming wax or diluted paint instead. This is why a cerused finish is also
sometimes called a “limed finish.” A cerused finish mutes the original color of the wood and
greatly emphasizes the wood’s natural grain and texture.

Quarter Sawn and Rift Cut White Oak cabinets in bleached and cerused finishes have grown in popularity. New high-end kitchens use these finishes either for the whole kitchen or more often as an island accent wood.

6 Replies to “Succeeding with Quartersawn White Oak Cabinets”

  1. Susan

    Would love some info on the door above: Is the quarter sawn white oak door in driftwood pictured above the minwax driftwood stain in oil or water based? Was it applied “lightly” to achieve the finish and what sealer was used with the stain..was it water based or oil based?
    Thank so much!!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Susan,
      No cabinet brands use Minwax or are allowed to use oil-based products. Finishes cannot be replicated by homeowners as the finishing process particularly for weathered grain quartersawn white oak is complex. The finishing process is made to replicate the look of cerused finishes.

  2. Chip Davis

    Does Brighton and Wellsford sell rift cut white oak? I couldn’t find it on their web sites. What companies would you recommend for that? Thanks.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Chip,
      Brighton sells Quartersawn white oak. Wellsford sells rift cut white oak. Most customers cannot tell the difference. Almost all companies that sell these expensive choices will have upgrades to make the cabinetry very well made.

  3. Lea Barnes

    I am looking for Rift or Quarter Sawn White Oak in a natural stain for my perimeter cabinets and potentially paired with a painted island. I am interested in a more contemporary door style like frameless or inset and have been working through designs for both Eclipse by Shiloh and Dura Supreme with two different designers. The designer who is doing the Dura Supreme has recommended that I stay away from inset doors. Do you have any suggestions or gotchas on either of these brands as it relates to frameless or inset designs? If you recommend staying away from them both, can you offer recommendations for other brands specific to inset or frameless? Thank you for your help!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Lea,
      There are several issues or concerns here.
      First inset cabinetry is always traditional, and never contemporary. Rift cut or Quartersawn oak are also generally not contemporary styles. Contemporary styles are always full overlay door styles and either slab or shaker style doors. The oak moves the style towards traditional so only slab doors in Rift cut or Quartersawn oak would be considered contemporary. Most cabinet brands will offer shaker doors in this kind of oak but not slabs.

      Slab door styles look best in frameless cabinets and Shiloh’s framed cabinetry we rate poorly due to their insufficient hanging rail. Thier Ellipse line also looks problematic for a number of reasons.

      Dura Supreme makes nice, framed cabinetry if they are upgraded but their frameless cabinetry is actually made by outside venders which we had issues with when we sold their cabinets.

      With the rift cut or quartersawn oak I would recommend a framed shaker style which would be considered a transitional style. Dura Supreme inset is nice upgraded. We do rate other brands as better values. See our ratings here:

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