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Thread: staples, glue and particle board

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Plano, TX
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    staples, glue and particle board

    I'm having the counter tops replaced with granite in my kitchen. When the installers removed the old counters I got access to the guts of the cabinets. I was surprised/shocked to see the sloppy workmanship and the excessive used of staples, particle board and glue. It's obvious the assembly/manufacture got done in a factory like environment where the so called cabinet makers snapped together parts hastily to create a shell. They made the face frame (attached by pocket holes) and cabinet doors out of solid oak, all else is particle board. The first thought that came to my mind was "I can easily do this". On the flip side the cabinets are almost 18 yrs old and still holding tough, and we all know how much of a beating kitchen cabinets take.
    I guess the point I am trying to make is there is room for all kind of workmanship in our lives, cheap lumber and sloppy technique can still produce beautiful and durable products if you know what you are doing.
    The means by which an end is reached must exemplify the value of the end itself.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    walnut creek, california
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    yup, and the next time you walk through home depot, check out some of the returned kraftmaid cabinets which are probably one of the more popular brands out there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Boston
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    1,740
    We have Kraftmaid and the insides and side panels are all particle board. The doors and face frames are solid wood but you can see some slop in the joints. This is how they can keep costs low and offer the cabinets at a reasonable price.

    My BIL just got new cabinets and I didn't even offer to make them because I couldn't match the cost. I'd end up losing money because I would use Cabinet grade plywood and no particle board.
    Don

  4. #4
    Kitchen cabinets have a fairly defined, short life. They're not heirloom furniture. And they have to be inexpensive because the market is competitive. I don't see anything wrong with staples, glue and particle board if it does the job. I assume your cabinets did their job since you didn't decide to change them.

    I think the major differences in kitchen cabinets are in the hardware (like self closing drawers and knobs), in the extra features, such as pullouts instead of shelves, and in the facing (stained wood instead of painted).

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    walnut creek, california
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    i am still struggling to match the finishes that the cabinet door manufacturers supply to kraftmaid and other popular lines.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2003
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    Mike, exactly. The WWer in me woke up and said what sloppy craftsmanship, but then I thought the cabinets have survived over 18 yrs across three owners and are still in pretty good shape. All the visible areas are made visually pleasing with good material and nice tight joints. Sometimes us hobbyists make too much of craftsmanship, i.e. try to make everything of heirloom quality, and it doesn't necessarily have to be that way all the times. The cabinets look good and are durable, which essentially serves the first two requirements of kitchen cabinets.
    The means by which an end is reached must exemplify the value of the end itself.

  7. #7
    The most difficult part of a kitchen cabinet's life is the shipping. The torsion involved in moving a cabinet is what really stresses the joints, especially materials like PB. Once installed, the majority of the stresses disappear.

  8. #8
    Zahid,

    I was pleased to read your post and follow-up reply. I'm one of those that gets caught up in trying to make heirloom quality stuff, but when I realize it, I step back, take a deep breath, and remember Sergey Gorshkov, who said, "Better is the enemy of good enough." I use that philosophy in much of what I do - including tool collecting (although I admit to a high standard for "good enough"). It's nice to be reminded of it occasionally by others, as well.


    daniel
    Not all chemicals are bad. Without hydrogen or oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Belden, Mississippi
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    2,737
    Don't get me started. I've seen some stuff that I wouldn't put in a dog house.
    Bill
    On the other hand, I still have five fingers.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    walnut creek, california
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill White View Post
    Don't get me started. I've seen some stuff that I wouldn't put in a dog house.
    Bill
    awooooooooooo

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwestern Connecticut
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    I've seen some cabinets that really need the house for support. They bang them out fast and dirty in the factories, but as you noted they get the job done at a price people can afford. Not what I would make for myself because of what I am capable of, but no shame either. The cabs I've made at work start at $800/Lf for basic paint grade, unfinished, and are much closer to furniture grade in construction. In fact they are pretty much bullet proof. But most people of average income can't spend $40k on cabinets for a kitchen, or at least don't consider it money well spent. Those that can get what I think of as a high luxury approach to cabinetry, way more than is required. When I make cabs for my own home they fall some where between the industry minimum's and the full custom luxury approach. When my mother needed cabs for her new house, I sent her to Lowes because her whole kitchen was cheaper than what it cost me for plywood and hardware, and she loves her stapled particle board boxes!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
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    I enjoy making the heirloom quality stuff, though. Is it price effective - No. Is it time effective - heck no!! But it's enjoyable.
    - When God closes a door, he opens a window. Our heating bill is outrageous & six raccoons got in last night. Please God, this has to stop!
    - Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Shorewood, WI
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    Some of the stuff that everyone can afford will serve its needed purpose as long as is needed. That frees me up to make things that are nicer, and that I want to make.

  14. #14
    Zahid = It is refreshing to have a thread started that everybody is chiming in with logic rather than with emotion. What I like about the factory built cabinets I get to replace them once in awhile.
    Thanks John
    Don't take life too seriously. No one gets out alive anyway!

  15. #15
    Remember, all most see of a cabinet is the face frame and doors. I'm pricing a redo of some cabinets for local "Y". They are located on the inside of a curve. When they drawers are pulled out, they hit each other. (Think of a piece of pie being drawn towards the center of the pan. The space gets smaller as the drawer is extended.) To add insult to injury, they are on 3/4 extension rollers. But the drawer is only made 3/4 depth, so they look like full extension. File drawers are mounted on 3/4 extension 75# rated slides. Care to guess how they held up? Last year the BOD went with another company to build a set of cubbies, because they were 33% cheaper than my price. I didn't even get a chance to discuss the difference in materials and methods of construction. In the adjorning hall were sets of cubbies that we built in 1998, and refinished two years ago. Other than an end panel that had come loose from kids running down the hall and grabbing it to make the door, and one piece of broken nosing, they were no other repairs required. Just a lot of cleaning, light sanding, and spraying. I have already had to work on new cubbies (not mine.) Installers didn't cut recepticals in back, nor did they securely fasten backs on. Only eight #4 nails per sheet of plywood. We glue and staple every 6" both ways. SKU tags on backs were left on facing out inside cubbies. Instead of 1/4" hardwood nosing, they used iron on edge banding, some of which is already coming off. To fix this, we will have to lay cabinets down, take a router and bridge to support it, and remove approx1/16" from fronts so we can glue and brad hardwood nosing on. I reminded building manager that quality is like buying oats. "If you want nice fresh clean oats they will cost you, but if you don't mind if they have already been through the horse, then they can be had cheaper."

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