When selecting your wood species from Outside the Box, we recommend that you take the time to really understand all of your choices. We take great pride in offering several different wood species for you to choose from depending on what look and feel you are going for. Remember, any time that you are doing a stain finish on your doors, you need to be aware of the fact that there will most likely be some color variation, and grain, that will show thru the stain that you have chosen. This is a very common trait in any natural wood species and is in no way considered a defect. We believe in letting the natural aspects of the wood show and this is a very important part of our custom stains.

With this being said, below are quick explanations of all of our wood species and specific characteristics that you may expect to find in each one of them. We only build doors from the very finest wood materials available and all of our wood doors have been factory dried to a perfect moisture content so there will be no fear of cracking or warping as the years go by and the seasons change.

Select Alder Raw Door

Select Alder

Select alder is a fairly hard wood that is a light tone yellow when in its natural state. Our natural select alder has limited grain and is fairly consistent in its coloration. It is a softer wood than maple, so it tends to take our stain colors a little darker than our select maple wood species does. Select alder is a fine choice of wood species if you are looking for a little darker and deeper color than you will get on our select maple doors. It will be a lighter weight door, so if you are looking for a choice that looks very nice with our stains but is not as heavy as our maple doors, our select alder will make a good choice.

rustic alder raw door

Rustic Alder

Rustic alder is a very light color wood, medium density, with a lot of grain, knots, and custom characteristics. Rustic alder is great in a natural tone, so that you can let the wood do the talking and not the stain. If you are looking for a rustic cabin look or a southwest theme, rustic alder is a great option. Keep the stain colors toward the lighter side, and maybe consider adding a dark glaze. This look is absolutely amazing in the right application.

However, rustic alder is not for everybody. It is very rustic. It may have knots that go all the way through the door. It may also have some very crazy and unique grain. It is a custom look and used in the right setting it will be fantastic. Just make sure that you are looking for that rustic look before selecting this wood species.

cherry raw door


Cherry is a timeless wood species that never goes out of style. Many believe that the natural color of cherry wood is red but natural cherry is not actually red. This idea is perpetuated by furniture manufacturers using  dark red stains. That is just the stain color, not the wood. Cherry is naturally fairly light brown in color.  It takes stain with a very warm tone and gives an extremely regal look when finished properly.

Cherry has lots of grain and variation in the grain. If you are looking for a very warm and elegant look for your kitchen, natural cherry can be a great option. Understand that cherry has a lot of movement and color variation. Cherry also is extremely susceptible to natural light and will change color quickly, depending on how much natural light it gets. Because of this, we do not recommend our natural finish on cherry, as it will change color too quickly and at different rates depending on where it sits in the kitchen. Stick with a darker stain choice on cherry, and you will be very happy with the look.

maple raw door

Select and Paint-Grade Maple

Maple is a very hard and nearly grainless wood used for door construction. Select maple wood doors are our hand selected wood door made from the very finest options of hard maple. These are perfect for any of our custom stain applications. The biggest difference between select maple and other wood species is that select maple has very little grain.

Our select maple is a very light yellow and is consistent in color. It is an ideal choice if you are looking for a beautiful subtle wood species that will not over power your custom stain choice. When you choose select maple, you are giving us the perfect pallet to put our custom stains and glazes on without taking away from the subtle, natural beauty of maple wood.

We only offer our painted finished on maple doors; other woods are either too soft or have too much grain for the high end, fine painted finishes that you are looking for on your kitchen cabinets. The tinted lacquers lay smoothly due to the maple grain and the door itself will be solid and durable.

The difference between our paint grade and select grade is that paint-grade may have sap marks in the wood before finishing. These sap marks are dark lines caused during the growth cycle of the tree but do not affect the wood in any way.  Sap marks would show through our stains but once the paint-grade maple doors are finished in our primers and tinted lacquers, they are completely invisible. If you are looking for the very best in painted finishes on wood doors, you want to always go with a paint grade maple.

Natural Stain Hickory


Our hickory wood species is a very wild and grainy option for that unique, custom kitchen look. The color of hickory ranges between white and dark brown all on the same door. Hickory is a very hard wood as well as a very dense and heavy wood. Hickory, like its counterpart rustic alder, is a very custom look. We recommend hickory to be finished in a light natural color, with a dark glaze.

Hickory looks great in a mountain cabin or a country home. Hickory is by far the most inconsistent wood species that we offer at Outside the Box. You want to make very sure that you understand exactly what hickory wood looks like before you order it. In the right setting, hickory will look amazing. Do your research, double check your samples, and make sure that hickory is going to look good in your entire kitchen before you start.

natural stain sapele shaker cabinet door


Sapele is our answer to the mahogany cabinets of the past. Sapele wood comes from a large, native African tree and is a very warm tone wood with a ribbon type grain. This is a hard wood that looks very nice in anything from natural to a darker stain. This ribbon-like grain is a very fine and small grain all going in one very direct pattern.

Sapele is a very sophisticated look and is perfect in a modern setting. In a natural finish, Sapele will look very much like Mahogany wood cabinets of the mid nineteenth century, with very warm lighter red and brown tone. As you get into darker stain colors, it begins to look very contemporary, and have a ultra-modern look to it.

We recommend this wood species if you choose a slab door or a shaker style door. We don’t recommend this wood species to be used if you are looking for a traditional raised panel or high-end door style, or warm look in your traditional home. Our Sapele is the perfect answer to your high rise down town condo or your modern bungalow. Remember, the ribbon-like grain will show through any of our custom stains. It is a unique look that lends itself very well to that certain style some homes are looking for.

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