Manufacturers and millwork plants have been using MDF, (Medium Density Fiberboard), in cabinet doors and other products for years. Since painted finishes have been growing in preference with consumers this trend seems to be on the rise.
Many cabinet manufacturers have utilized various different hardwood species, including soft maple, hard maple and even poplar in conjunction with MDF for painted cabinetry. However, if you have been using MDF or plywood for your center panels, have you analyzed how your hardwood lumber utilization has changed?
Traditionally, cabinet manufacturers have developed their stiles and rails by ripping to size and moulding random width boards. They would glue together many of the remaining pieces from the hardwood board and create a solid wood door panel for their product. This has been a very effective way for manufacturers to use as much of the random width lumber as possible and keep their lumber usage yields high.
However, MDF and plywood panels have gained in popularity. They have become a very popular way to reduce the overall production price of a hardwood cabinet. However, it has also reduced or eliminated the option of yield saving one would receive by creating solid hardwood panels. So, if you are not developing solid wood panels and are using MDF instead, how do you best manage your hardwood lumber utilization?
Some cabinet manufacturers have been changing the way they purchase in hardwood lumber. They have been migrating from purchasing random width materials to purchasing exact width hardwood rips that they need to produce their product. Because of this we have seen an increase in demand for SLR2E materials, ordered to the exact size cabinet makers need to feed directly into their moulders and produce the parts they require. The benefit of this purchasing practice is that manufacturers virtually eliminate hardwood waste, increase their usage yields to improves levels and prevent themselves from stockpiling unnecessary hardwood their inventories.
This is just one way American Lumber can help manufacturers find ways to improve their hardwood purchasing. We can do the same with custom color sorts, width sorts or even custom hardwood products. If you are looking for alternate ways to source your hardwood lumber give us a call. We would be excited to try to help you.