A couple of years ago, I was seriously considering moving on from my then employer. I had been Drafting and CNC Programming Commercial Casework for a little over ten-years and felt like it was time for a change.
I was put in touch with the Production Manager of a Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer here in Pennsylvania. After my initial interview, I asked for a Shop Tour so that I could see first hand what I would be getting myself into.
While walking around, I noticed a small group of guys that appeared to be grinding away on cabinet doors with a wire wheel. While I’ve used a wire wheel to clean up surface rust a number of times, I had never used one on wood.
I was curious and felt compelled to ask what was going on. The Production Manager looked at me quizzically and said “Oh, we do that fairly regularly – let me show you our Wire Brushed Finish”.
The process involved using what looked like an Angle Grinder fitted with a standard Wire Wheel. The tool would be used to grind the wood – with great care being taken to ensure that the texture was distributed evenly throughout the part.
That was my first time seeing such a finish and, to be completely honest, I was dumbfounded at what I saw. Someone actually wanted to pay a premium for Butternut Cabinets and then pay even more for the beautiful wood to be marred?
In my time with the company, I learned that Wire Brushing was one of many Non-Traditional finishes that were being applied to modern Kitchen Cabinetry. Over time, seeing the finish applied to a variety of woods, it began to grow on me.
While I don’t know that I would ever have such a finish in my modest kitchen, it is impressive in a large setting where the cabinets are spread out.
The finish seems to be fairly popular and is available on select door styles from a number of Cabinet Door Manufacturers. Most often the finish is applied to Shaker Style Doors (Flat Panel with a Square Framing Bead).
Just in case you were curious what the back of the door looks like (without wire brushing), that photo is down below.