What makes Handmade Kitchens Direct cabinets better than the rest? Please study our cabinet construction to understand how we make our cabinets and see the quality details and fitments we incorporate into every one of our cabinets. Then compare with our competitors. When we say with Handmade Kitchens Direct you get “The Best For Less”, we really do mean it!


Our cabinets are made from 19mm solid wood veneered medium density fibreboard that is jointed then glued and screwed together.  These are normally offered in a White Oak veneer for painted fronts with the option to have Maple, Walnut or Cherry interiors as well.  Most manufacturers simply butt joint their cabinets together, but we go the extra mile and make use of a machined joint for increased strength and durability.

Whereas other in-frame manufacturers give you a thinner 10mm back on bases and walls, we build our cabinets with a full 19mm thickness throughout.  This gives the cabinet much more strength and rigidity with only a small increase in weight.  A worthy upgrade we are sure you agree!

Also, all our adjustable shelving holes have a metal insert in your choice of either a nickel finish or a brass finish. This gives a beautiful look to the interior of the cabinet and allows for a larger 7mm diameter metal shelf support in a matching finish to the inserts. They also have a 100kg weight rating, so you can be rest assured they will never break!



Janka Hardness Ratings
Janka Hardness Rating Table Of Wood
Nearly every manufacturer of in-frame painted cabinets in the UK uses Tulipwood(Poplar) for their doors and frames. This is very different to the USA where they would never use Tulipwood for fine cabinetry. We know from experience that Tulipwood, despite it being classed as a hardwood, is actually a very soft wood that you can even mark with your fingernail! It’s Janka hardness at 540 is hardly above Pine(Janka 380) and we all know how soft that is.  If you do an online review of in-frame kitchens made with Tulipwood, you’ll soon see how it is easily damaged within the working environment of a kitchen.  Handmade Kitchens Direct use only Hard Maple (Janka 1450) for the frames of our painted ranges because we know durability matters to our customers who want their kitchen to stay looking good for years to come. It also provides a very smooth and stable surface ready for hand finishing on site. Unfortunately, Hard Maple as a lumber is much more expensive than Tulipwood, hence it’s unpopularity with other manufacturers. However, we will not compromise on this important detail.

All of our front frames are made from 25mm thick solid hardwood of your choice from our offering of 6 different species that includes Hard Maple Paint Grade, Hard Maple, American White Oak, Hickory, Cherry and American Black Walnut. These are jointed under pressure and glued to create a square frame.  This is then glued and screwed to the cabinet using hidden pocket screws that are invisible once the cabinet has been installed.



Our cabinet doors are made in the long standing traditional method by mortise and tenon joints. The door frame consists of 2 x stiles and 2 x rails that are jointed together with either an mdf centre panel for painted doors or a veneered centre panel for doors to be in a natural finish. The door frames are made from 25mm thick solid hardwood of your choice to match the cabinet front frame.

Our drawer fronts are also available in exactly the same construction, including the top drawer that other manufacturers usually only offer as a flat slab front. We also maintain our drawer front thickness at 25mm, the same as our doors, for a consistent look. Other manufacturers reduce the drawer front thickness down to 18mm due to cost, but we think it’s worth it!



How your door is attached to the cabinet front frame is of vital importance to how the door stands up to the test of time. Our standard cabinet incorporates solid brass butt hinges in four different finishes as we believe this is the strongest form of hinging available as we mortise these into the door. We only use high quality solid brass butt hinges in a choice of 4 finishes (polished chrome, polished brass, brushed satin chrome and antique brass). This is a very time consuming way for us to hang the doors, but it means they will not sag over time. 

However, we also recognize that some customers want a sleeker contemporary design where you do not see the hinges and so we also offer a concealed door hinge for this look as an option. Again, durability is paramount and therefore we only use the German ranges of concealed hinges that have a built in soft close action. This option is not normally offered by many in-frame manufacturers.



Our drawer boxes are only manufactured with traditional joinery dovetail  joints front and back. These are as standard produced out of White Oak, with options to have Maple or Walnut depending on your choice of cabinet interior. The drawer sides are made out of 15mm thick solid lumber, with 10mm thick veneered bottoms for extra strength.



Another key area of vital importance as to how the drawer stands up to the test of time is the type of drawer runner used. We only use the most durable engineered drawer systems available today, which are always the German manufactured brands.  These full extension soft close drawer runners with a smooth action are built to last, unlike the Chinese runner systems. They also have 3D adjustability to ensure perfect drawer fitment and alignment.