Cabinet & Countertop Inspirations

A cabinet drawer is quite simply, a box.  There are numerous methods to construct a drawer with regards to materials and joint design.  The joint design is important as each time a drawer is opened or closed, the drawerfront undergoes a significant amount of stress.  The more a drawer is used, the better the construction needs to be to ensure it does not fail.  In the case of a silverware drawer, this could easily be opened 5 to 10 times per day, or up to 3,650 times per year.  Over ten years, the drawer would be opened more than 36,000 times!

The strength of a joint primarily comes from two factors ... 1) how the two pieces of wood are connected and 2) the size of the gluing area.  In a dovetail joint, a series of "pins" are cut into the end of a piece of wood.  These pins interlock with a series of "tails" cut in the end of another board.  Once glued, a dovetail joint requires no additional mechanical fasteners.  The picture below provides an example of a typical dovetail drawer joint.


The dovetail is one of the strongest joints used in cabinet construction.  The pins and tails can only be joined together in one direction, similar to putting your hand in a glove.  When the drawer is opened, the pressure actually makes the joint tighter.  In addition to locking mechanically, the joint creates a very large surface area for gluing.  The more glue in the joint, the stronger the joint will be.

Spiceland Wood Products is a strong proponent of dovetail drawers as the strength of this joint will help ensure the cabinet drawer performs over a long period of time. 

We are all concerned with making wise choices for the environment.  In remodeling projects, there is the question of “what to do with the old cabinets?”.  In many situations, the old cabinets are too tired and the only option is to dispose of the cabinets.  However, often the old cabinets can find new life in the basement, garage workshop, or any number of places in the home.  Not only does this keep the cabinets out of the landfill, they can provide additional storage and work surfaces. 

In addition, the old cabinets can be “recycled” through Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore.  There are up to three benefits from hauling the old cabinets to the ReStore … 1) the cabinets stay out of landfills, a more environmentally-friendly outcome, 2) Habit for Humanity uses the proceeds from the sale of the cabinets to help fund building homes for disadvantaged families, and 3) depending your tax situation, a tax deduction may be available to you, reducing the cost of the remodeling project.  A true win-win situation.


This is the third and final installment of options for your home remodeling project.  Read on for more information on wood, ceramic and laminate countertops.

Wood tops are both elegant and warm.  There are many different wood species available, as well as various stains, thicknesses, edging, and texture options.  This variety makes wood tops a beautiful and timeless option.  $30-$85 per square foot for materials.
Pros:  Contrary to belief, wood countertops are very durable.  With a permanent finish, they are waterproof.  Wood is also food-safe and is made from 100% renewable materials, making them a “green” option.
Cons:  With constant use as a cutting board, a wood top may require re-sanding and re-finishing to maintain a smooth look.
Maintenance:  The care required by a wood top varies depending on the finish used to seal the top.  With a permanent varnish, a wood top requires no special care.  A tung oil finish will need re-applied twice a year.  A mineral oil finish needs re-applied 6-8 times per year.  It is recommended that bleach not be used on an oil-finished top.
Ceramic/Stone Tile countertops are an affordable and frequently used countertop option.  Especially, if you like the look, but not the cost of granite – buy granite tiles!  $10-$70 per square foot for materials.
Pros:  Tile countertops can be very durable:  heat, scratch and stain resistant.  There are a multitude of color and pattern choices available – with the option of even mixing and matching tiles to create a top as simple or complex as your taste desires.  If tiles are damaged, as long as replacement tiles are available, swapping out the bad tile(s) is easily done.  
Cons:  The largest downside to tile countertops is dealing with the grout.  Grout can stain, or crack, which eventually results in re-grouting your countertop.  Another consideration:  while tile is durable, it is also possible to chip the tile.
Maintenance:  Soap and water clean-up is the standard everyday procedure for tile tops.  To protect against grout problems, it is recommended that the grout be re-sealed frequently.
Laminate countertops are one of the most affordable options available to homeowners.  There are an endless number of color, pattern, and finish choices, as well as unique edge profiles.  $20-$30 per square foot, materials only.
Pros:  In recent years, laminate companies have worked to modernize colors and options available with laminate tops.  Advancements have been made especially in the area of creating tops that mimic the look of natural stone slabs.  Backsplashes can be integrated into the countertop and undermount sinks are an option as well.
Cons:  Laminate tops cannot be used as a cutting board surface, as laminate is susceptible to scratches and cuts.  Pot holders are a must as laminate is only heat resistant to 150 degrees.  Once a laminate top is damaged, it is almost impossible to repair.
Maintenance:  Daily clean-up is best done with soap and water.  Bleach is not recommended.



"Sonja and I want to thank you for the great experience that you and your company provided to us throughout the design, manufacture, and installation of our library cabinetry you made for our condo. Our friends and family rave about its quality and appearance. You are all craftsmen and it was a real pleasure watching the project come together during the whole process."
Al & Sonja
"Thanks again for successfully completing our project today. Special kudos to Mike and the other craftsmen at the shop for a job well done. We could not be more pleased with the results. Mike’s attention to small, finer details was very much appreciated. He was patient, pleasant and understanding. It’s all about the “fit & finish” with us and Spiceland Wood Products did not disappoint. We WILL be doing more business together soon – we look forward to it. Given the opportunity, we will highly recommend SWP to everyone. It was a true pleasure working together."
Wayne & Tonia