Once a Tree: How Cabinets Are Made
Once upon a time there was a tree. It could have been a maple tree, cherry tree, hickory, oak or alder. But each one of these hardwood trees provides the wood used in the cabinets that grace our homes. Visiting the Wellborn Cabinet factory was a fascinating experience where we learned how cabinets are made.
I’ve visited other cabinet factories in the past and was shown how the boards of wood are used to create cabinet boxes, doors, and trims. But the Wellborn factory is unique, not only because it’s a family owned company Made in America, but because they begin their process with logs.
When the logs arrive, they’re sprayed with water to keep them from drying out too fast in the hot summer sun. Then they’re sent to the first machine that strips the bark from each log so it looks like this.
From there the log travels down the conveyor belt to be squared off and ready for planning.
Once the logs are cut into boards they need to be stacked and dried. The drying period is typically one year. But with maple, the water needs to be removed fast. If the waiting period is too long, the sugar in the maple will start to turn the board brown. Since clear, white maple is the most desirable, the maple boards are loaded into a kiln to be dried for 2 weeks.Each board can have no more than 6% moisture inside.
After the drying process, boards are cut into widths that will be used for trim pieces and cabinet doors.
Then they’re stacked, organized and scanned into the inventory system so that Wellborn always knows what they have and where it’s located in the factory. This efficient system is what helps them build the doors and boxes quickly and easily with a 13 day lead time for most projects.
Boards glued together and ready to create the door center panel.
The stiles and rails are glued around the center panel.
Infrared lights let them check for any excess glue that would prevent paint and stain from covering the door.
Painting process…Paint is sprayed on and then hand wiped.
Once the cabinets are assembled and ready to go, they’re boxed up for shipping. But the Wellborn family still has one more test they like to make. Every morning, before the work day begins, the founder, Paul Wellborn randomly chooses one box to open so that he can be certain the products his company sends to us is perfectly made. Now that’s what I call excellent customer service Made in America!!!