The only practical way to offer stable, real wood, unframed kitchen door panels is to use veneers. There are different processes available for veneering and they vary dramatically in terms of cost and aesthetic quality.
Pre-veneered panels are mass produced ‘off the shelf’ boards that tend to have a reasonable appearance. Once the panels are cut to size they need to be edge lipped with thin strips of solid wood to match. This hides the MDF core but as they can only be post-lipped you will always see where the edges have been applied.
In contrast, hand veneered panels provide a higher quality finish with an endless choice of veneers and total control over the way each leaf is laid and matched to the next. The hardwood edges can be pre-lipped so they appear seamless. Furthermore, the grain can be aligned to continue through multiple panels - something that is never seen with mass produced kitchens.
The final consideration is that hand veneered panels usually consist of a grain pattern that repeats across a panel, with either ‘book matched’ or ‘slip matched’ leaves of veneer. We tend to think this looks somewhat unnatural and so we prefer ‘random matching’ for a variety of grain pattern across the panel. In order to achieve this we select the veneer leaves from different batches (logs) and even use a mix of crown cut (characterful grain) and quarter cut (straight grain). The 0.7mm thick leaves of veneer are then carefully arranged, stitched together, bonded and pressed to the substrate, before being sanded and finished. The process is more labour intensive and expensive, but offers optimum quality and control.
We are able to manufacture veneered panels using any of these techniques outlined as we understand you may consider the cost of one process out-weighs its visual benefits.