Kitchen Cabinet Types.
Amongst the vast majority of kitchens today there remain two main kitchen cabinet types; both are of Mfc (Melamine Faced Chipboard) panel cabinets. In the past with Dairy Maid and similar, timber built cabinets were common. You may recall a Dairy Maid cabinet as shown left, you may even know the dairy maid shown right.
Dairy Maid cabinets were free standing and made of light timber framing supporting thin plywood paneling. They were very charming and those still around should be nurtured.
Today kitchen cabinet types are manufactured from two basic types of Mfc and two basic construction techniques. Mfc is either high density or low density; kitchen cabinets are either Beech Dowel or Cam and Dowel constructed.
The density and construction of the board are more important than the thickness; most cabinets today are of 18mm Mfc, of either high or low density. Of course, the low density is cheaper and less durable.
The Mfc section above shows a high-density board from Egger. The board material is finer and denser to the top and bottom, the finished faces; the core is fully filled. In fixing Mfc panels together the surface density is very important, along with a fully filled core. We at Martha Mockford only source our board from Egger the recognised leader in board manufacture. Of course, the high-density board is more expensive to produce than the low-density board but leads to a far better and more durable cabinet.
Low-density board looks pretty similar, though it is about 30% lighter. The finer material to the surfaces is reduced, the core of the board is not as fully filled. In the low-density board, the fixings do not hold as well leading to hinge screws letting go after a while along with other durability issues. Joinery with Weetabix is always difficult. The surface of the board being less dense and of larger particles can cause the structure of the board shine through any melamine surface giving an orange peel texture to the finished panel in the particularly cheap boards.
The Mfc panels whether high or low density are constructed in two different ways. Either a Glue & Beech Dowel or a Cam and Dowel fixing systems are employed. Glue & beech dowel fixing systems offer a very rigid cabinet on completion. Plenty of dowels are fitted with lashings of Pva glue.
Cam and Dowel fixing systems are quick and easy to assemble, but cannot offer the cabinet rigidity that a Beech Dowel system can. As the Cams and Dowels are more expensive than a simple beech dowel, only a couple are fitted in a joint. These fittings are quick and easy for a machine, making this system more readily used in a factory setting.
It is all in the Glue. Good joinery has always involved glue. These days we use Pva (PolyvinylAcetate) here seen being applied to a panel and dowel. To the left one sees an individual dowel, you will note the fluting which increases the surface contact area with the glue and the board.
Of the two kitchen cabinet types, those assembled with Cam and Dowel fixings, often with low-density Mfc tend to be manufactured in high volume for the large outlets. At Martha Mockford, we only use Egger High-density Mfc board constructed with Beech Dowels and glue. All our kitchen cabinets are built to order. Our low overheads allow us to provide excellent cabinets at similar prices to that of the larger outlets who use low-density board cam and dowel built.
Dowel and glue construction techniques similar to those used in our cabinets are also used in in other areas of construction such as green oak building systems.
If you can build a house with beech dowel construction then I believe it can be accepted that it is good for building quality in kitchens. It really boils down to whether you want your kitchen to last, or whether it is to be replaced in a few years. At Martha Mockford, it is reasonable to expect your kitchen to last well beyond ten years old; we have happy clients going back twenty years. We of course maintain a data base of all our clients allowing us to support their purchase for may years hence. Need a replacement tap washer? Ring us and we will look it up and find which tap you bought all those years ago.