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Thread: Talk to me about non-wood kitchen cabinets

  1. #1
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    Talk to me about non-wood kitchen cabinets

    I saw a cabinet the other day that was made out of what I call Starboard, but maybe something similar- PVC based wood substitute. I like this idea because termites are a big issue here. These, unfortunately, were pretty much the bottom of the line- flimsy construction. Is this stuff available in top-end cabinets? I love the idea of not having to worry about termites in my cabinets.

  2. #2
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    I think that the challenge will be to find material that is structurally stiff and strong enough for this application without being "molded as a cabinet" from the start. The old-time metal cabinets would be ideal, but then again, that brings the corrosion challenge for you Island dwellers. LOL But along those lines, I wonder if you could adapt one of the metal garage cabinet systems to your needs and gussy it up accordingly? The metal cabinets on the wall/floor could be equipped with wood or composite doors to look nice while not putting wood or wood products directly in contact with the walls/floors where the little buggers tend to come from.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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    Malcolm you could try looking at those panels they make for aircraft cabinetry. It’s a open cell thing that acts like a torsion box. It reminds me of those greenhouse panels. You may even find it around your marine suppliers. I have never used it so don’t know particulars. It is lightweight and strong and used all over aircraft. Just a thought.
    Jim

  4. #4
    A few years back, I remodeled the kitchen in a small rental house we owned. It had metal kitchen cabinets. I heard of such things, but never saw them before. I put them out in the barn and we keep our vet supplies in them.

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    I grew up with steel cabinets, they were pretty heavy duty and held up well except that they rusted when scratched. These dated from the '30s. No idea if anyone makes such a thing now.

    You can certainly get plastic drawers from Ikea or Blum. The Ikea cabinets are still made of termite food, as far as I know.

    My experience with cPVC (eg Azek) suggests that it is not rigid enough for openings that need to stay square, it tends to sag over time. That can be solved with strategic placement of steel or aluminum reinforcement with angle iron or square tube.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perry Hilbert Jr View Post
    A few years back, I remodeled the kitchen in a small rental house we owned. It had metal kitchen cabinets. I heard of such things, but never saw them before. I put them out in the barn and we keep our vet supplies in them.
    Most, if not all the houses in Levittown PA were equipped with the metal cabinets in the original builds, AFAIK. Many folks never replaced them because they just worked, although there were probably many layers of paint on them over the years.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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    I wouldn’t want metal. My kitchen is open air- shutters only- no window glass. Rain occasionally gets in if we aren’t diligent with closing the shutters.

    Ikea is at least covered in plastic skin of some sort. That’s at least better. I was hoping maybe some advancement has been made in non-wood cabinets.

    Aircraft panels are made with a very expensive honeycomb. I’m not at that income bracket! I did consider getting regular cabinets and coating them in epoxy before installing.

  8. #8
    Oh yeah, they make metal cabinets. They were a sure sign of being modern from 1920's to in the 1950s

  9. #9
    I can't help with non-wood, non-metal kitchen cabinets. OTOH, you're a maker and if you're willing to build your own cabinets and need to find suitable materials for the project, you could take a look at https://www.corelitecomposites.com/sandwich-panels.html who offer, among other things, fiberglass on several core materials in sheets sized to your project. Don't know the prices and the web site doesn't say either, but I do know one builder who uses fiberglass on PVC foam core panels from these guys for bulkheads and the like on boats. He adds wood veneer over the fiberglass most of the time, but he's also faired and painted/gel-coated the panels as well. I think he gets some solid inserts for fastenings set into the panels when they are made (which means carefully planned and detailed plans).
    Fair winds and following seas,
    Jim Waldron

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Waldron View Post
    I can't help with non-wood, non-metal kitchen cabinets. OTOH, you're a maker and if you're willing to build your own cabinets and need to find suitable materials for the project, you could take a look at https://www.corelitecomposites.com/sandwich-panels.html who offer, among other things, fiberglass on several core materials in sheets sized to your project. Don't know the prices and the web site doesn't say either, but I do know one builder who uses fiberglass on PVC foam core panels from these guys for bulkheads and the like on boats. He adds wood veneer over the fiberglass most of the time, but he's also faired and painted/gel-coated the panels as well. I think he gets some solid inserts for fastenings set into the panels when they are made (which means carefully planned and detailed plans).
    I’m pretty sure that stuff ain’t cheap- especially the carbon fiber. That would be a sturdy cabinet.

  11. #11
    Malcolm,
    Probably also in the not-cheap category - but you might look into the offerings from Trex https://www.trex.com/ who seems to be the dominant player in composite decking material. Their website talks about weather resistant outdoor kitchens available under a licensing agreement with a third party called NatureKast https://www.naturekast.com/

    Being a woodworker, maybe you're looking for the materials to build the cabinets yourself, so it might take an inquiry to find out if that option is available. OTOH the cabinets themselves may be affordable if these people have figured out a way to make a market in this price sensitive world of end users we live in.
    So maybe you can buy the components and put together what you want and skin/face as you please. Similar to what many people do with IKEA boxes.

    As a PVC/Resin product I would expect it to be termite proof, but you'd need to confirm.
    This reminds me, I've been meaning to try making an outdoor table top from the Trex fence slats you can buy at Home Depot.

    Please report back if you pursue any of this. I think there is a market for outdoor cabinetry that can resist termites, harsh elements, UV, etc. Maybe especially the case in the environment where you live.
    Edwin
    Last edited by Edwin Santos; 12-11-2018 at 8:32 PM.

  12. #12
    Another thought - you might look into MDO (medium density overlay).
    Since it's engineered for outdoor signs, it might meet your performance criteria. Plus you could cut/join it just like regular MDF. I see it used a lot on jobsites for soffits and fascias. The coating is resin so the little buggers would have to be pretty determined to make their way through it, so long as you make sure you take care with exposed edges.

    While we're at it, you might also ask your lumber supplier about phenolic plywood which could also be a good solution for you.

  13. #13
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    My boss purchased a jointer from a shop a couple states away. I went with him to check the machine and help move it. The shop was very large much like a small factory. Automated everything....

    We noticed what looked like a slab style door made of corian. I can’t remeber what he said the product was but he confirmed it to be a door and said it taped well and held screws no problem.

    The material was very rigid quite nice and almost reminded me of a Italian laquer cab.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the replies- The cabinet I saw was at Home Depot, and was a low-end option, so I thought maybe higher end manufacturers might be going the same route with non-wood options like PVC or similar. I'm not interested in metal. I am not planning to build them myself right now- too many irons in the fire. I would like to get semi-custom prefab and install them myself and build the counter top myself, but not the whole cabinet.

  15. #15
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    I have been disappointed all the stainless steel tool cabinets I see are regular steel insides. How about cast concrete cabinets with some kind of plastic drawers and doors. I have seen picnic tables built of trex decking type materials.
    Bill D.

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