In addition to making a lot of sawdust, our Special Products Division cabinet shop has been cranking out some serious work lately and it’s a good time to share some new products, tools, materials and methods.

First up is a new cabinet prototype full of modern cabinet bling. SPD’s Shop master has been rigorously working with Edensaw, the mother-ship of hardwood products here in Seattle, to develop a calibrated Russian Birch core box construction; the boxes are then finished with a custom Nevamar laminate. This makes for solid, durable boxes that will endure decades of serious use. The cross section of the Birch is also gorgeous and makes for a nice modern edge when we use an exposed detail.

We’ve made some quantum leaps with the wood veneers used on the exteriors of our cabinet packages. To maintain consistent grain patterns and guarantee handsome textures we’re now buying and reserving entire logs from suppliers; for the prototype cabinet we’ve used walnut from western Kentucky. The logs are meticulously milled and the veneers are shipped to SPD, all sequenced in the order that they were removed from the log. We then lay-up the veneer sheets and make our own veneer boards in the shop. This allows us to sequence the grain pattern from one cabinet to another. The grain sequence on a kitchen cabinet package literally documents the log starting on one end of the kitchen and ending on the other. Drawers, doors and end panels are finished with 1/8” solid stock edge banding.

The prototype uses a Paperstone countertop, which is then wrapped down the side of the box to create a clean visual frame for the cabinet bay. The entire unit is free standing and the new configuration allows for drawers up to 28” deep.

The composition is supplemented with a brushed aluminum panel which houses the mixer pullout, spice rack, utensils, baking supplies, etc. –basically it gives the chef somewhere to conveniently tuck all that stuff away that would normally be cluttering up the countertop. Etch-matte glass sliders, which conceal the mess, are backlit to give the cabinets a clean, modern glow. Integral with the brushed aluminum panel is a place for wine display –also backlit to allow the glowing bottles to be the focus.

The entire assembly uses Blum Intivo series hardware. We’re big fans of Blum because the hardware looks clean, simple and modern. When we open up a drawer we think the inside should have the same visual appeal as the face. It’s also ultra-precise hardware which is a huge deal when it comes to aligning the finished faces. After all, we didn’t go to all the trouble of sequencing the veneers only to have the composition off by a hair. They’ve also engineered the heck out of the entire production process and we’re now using a Blum Minipress “M” with interchangeable heads that allows us to bore all of the necessary holes for drawer and door hardware in one fell swoop.

Last up is our new full-lift 3-panel door. It allows the upper portion of the cabinet to open from countertop height all the way to 77” above the floor level. The configuration uses a combination of hardware including the Blum Aventos HF lift door hardware. This configuration has tons of uses; in the kitchen it creates a concealed coffee bar or appliance garage, it could also be handy in the office or the laundry room. The closed position of the doors blends right in with a bank of cabinets –hiding the toaster or all that junk on your desk.

That’s the scoop for now, stay tuned for more news from the shop.