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Choosing the Best Type of Plywood for Cabinets

100% baltic birch veneer plywood - A Sheet Of Plywood

Choosing the Best Type of Plywood for Cabinets

As the popularity of European-style frameless cabinets grows, many cabinet makers are discovering that the composite plywood they’ve been using to produce framed cabinets isn’t performing as well as it should.

To compensate for the lack of a supporting frame, frameless cabinet building favours a cabinet box made of stronger, stiffer plywood. Using the same thinner plywood construction as a framed cabinet can result in a box that does not fulfil customer durability and longevity expectations.

That is why so many cabinet makers are switching to higher-quality hardwood plywood for their cabinetry, and homeowners are starting to request the same. To make the transition from framed to frameless cabinet box designs, you’ll need a higher quality plywood for Cabinets.

Plywood for Cabinets
Plywood for Cabinets


The frame provides significant structural support in traditionally built face-framed cabinets. This allows for the use of thinner, less supporting materials in the cabinet inside.

Today’s trends and preferences are shifting, and more homeowners desire frameless cabinets, which necessitate a different type of cabinet construction and stronger materials.

While plywood for cabinets comes in sizes ranging from one-eighth-inch to three-quarter-inch, many fabricators choose domestic ANSI HP-1 nominal three-quarter-inch panels for their supporting capabilities. These panels can be used without bracing or nailing on the cabinet’s back and sides. This produces a large, frameless cabinet box that may be hung directly to the stud without the use of studs.

Columbia Forest Products manufactures a wide range of three-quarter-inch panel combinations, including a 7-ply panel with hardwood crossbands and our all-birch Europly Plus®. If the finished box weight is an issue, we can also make these panels in five-eighths-inch and half-inch thicknesses.

Choosing the Best Type of Plywood for Cabinets

Decorative Veneers

The cabinet box’s structure is only one part of the puzzle. You must also have a cabinet that fits your design. That means selecting a plywood panel face and back grade that provides a superior look and finish to your interior and exterior surfaces, edges, and end panels.

In rare circumstances, Europly Plus with its characteristic all-birch, multi-ply edge may be preferable. The extra thin inner plies offer the cabinet’s finished edges a distinct visual appeal: there’s no need for edge band treatment, which exposes the plywood edges.

This style is ideal for doorless cabinets and shelving. It also works well for cabinets when you don’t want to cover the exposed plywood edge with an edge band or solid wood.

A plywood face can provide you a finished look for cabinet doors, regardless of the sort of plywood you’ve chosen for the box construction.

Columbia’s Appalachian Traditions line precisely meets the demand for the edge-glued lumber or “plank-matched” aesthetic. This series gives your design a “consistently inconsistent” look and adds a lot of character to doors, drawers, fronts, and end panels. Appalachian Traditions is available in the following species: birch, maple, oak, hickory, and cherry.

Choosing the Best Type of Plywood for Cabinets

Columbia’s Beaded Panels provide design consistency and character for ornamental alternatives such as door inserts. The beaded groove look can be employed on engineered substrates with excellent thickness uniformity and bead groove depth (such as pMDI bonded MDF cores). Columbia may laminate your decorative hardwood of choice and groove the beads through its face, resulting in the MDF beaded reveal.


Drawers require a different sort of construction than cabinet boxes, and while you can use the same face plywood for the drawer fronts, the box construction and lining may change.

On the drawer sides, use a sturdy plywood with a minimum of 5 plies. Cheaper laminated melamine particleboard drawer sides are simply not as structurally sturdy, which increases the possibility of installation callbacks. Drawer sides should be made of half-inch plywood for Cabinets, while drawer bottoms should be made of quarter-inch plywood.
Using our maple drawer sides, Columbia makes it simple to build great, long-lasting drawers. These are available in conventional 8-foot lengths in a range of ready-to-cut widths.

Choosing the Best Type of Plywood for Cabinets
uv coated birch plywood

Each drawer side is notched to fit a quarter-inch drawer bottom. For a quality appearance that resists ordinary household stains, the sides are treated with a durable, factory-applied, UV-cured acrylated epoxy finish. Aromatic cedar panels can be used in place of drawer box bottoms when building drawers for chests, bathrooms or closets. These are suitable for those who appreciate cedar’s gorgeous appearance and aromatic aroma.


Cabinet design trends have shifted away from the solid, square lines and box cabinet construction that we’ve come to expect. Curved island cabinets and bow-front cabinets are becoming more popular in kitchen designs.

You’ll need the correct plywood substrate to accomplish this appearance. It should conform to your specifications while remaining strong enough to resist lamination and subsequent construction for ultimate use in the kitchen once done.

prefinish birch plywood

Radius® plywood from Columbia can assist meet this need. To fulfil project needs, radius can be made to bend in either the long or short grain direction. Furthermore, it is sold without a face or back to allow you to laminate or apply veneer to get the required appearance.

Each panel comes in 8-by-4 long grain or 4-by-8 cross grain, providing you options for how the finished curve will look as well as the length required to create oversized kitchen islands.

Quality is expected by homeowners.

Homeowners who are renovating their cabinetry anticipate that newly installed cabinetry will endure at least 20 to 30 years before needing repair. They want and demand a high-quality, long-lasting plywood box for their cabinets, regardless of the style or design. You can rely on Columbia Forest Products and its distribution partners to supply the highest quality plywood for Cabinets to ensure your clients’ happiness and referral.