Cross grain refers to a woodworking technique where the growth lines in a wooden board are not parallel to the long edge of the board. Instead, the grain lines run diagonally or cross the board. Plywood is a common example of cross grain wood used in kitchen cabinetry construction. Surprisingly, cross grain wood is considered stronger and more durable than solid wood.
Solid wood tends to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity, even after it has been painted or finished. As a result, newly constructed cabinets made of solid wood may change in dimension and shape as they settle and dry. This can lead to weak spots, broken joints, splitting, and cracking. In contrast, cross grain wood minimizes the stress caused by moisture fluctuations and temperature changes, resulting in fewer structural changes.