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Old 09-21-2016, 07:55 AM   #16
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Re: Cabinets - Custom vs High Quality Prefab?


For those considering building their own cabinets. I built my own kitchen cabinets, ten of them. I used 3/4 inch double maple veneered plywood, high end blum hinges and slides, and I made rail and style doors with walnut inlay. They came out very nice, which is the good news. It took me several years to finish them all, that is the bad news. I am not a cabinet maker by trade, making cabinets is far more difficult than it looks when a skilled cabinet maker is working, since they make it look easy (Norm on This Old House).

By the time I got done throwing out pieces I cut incorrectly, or templated wrong, I probably wasted 25 percent of my lumber, which I suppose is par for the course for an amateur. And I had to build a router table to do the rails and styles, and several jigs for specialized work. I suppose I "saved" some money over buying custom cabinets, but only if I value my time at zero. Mostly I enjoyed the process, I like working with wood, gets me to the basement where I belong. And I got exactly what I wanted, except for the enormous time lag between start and finish.

Conclusion: Unless you really enjoy the work, and have lots of time, better off allowing a professional cabinet maker to build your kitchen than DIY. If time is no obstacle, and you want to learn, consider building your own.
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Old 09-25-2016, 06:56 AM   #17
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Re: Cabinets - Custom vs High Quality Prefab?


As a layman or even amateur diy, apple to apple comparison is a bit of illusion. It is about the same as buying a car. We can't even begin to know the hidden costs. Factory made has many middleman costs that add up and oneman business would have that less cost. Seems the op made the decision best suited. All we can do is look at the finish product and trust we can see the difference between good build and a garbage.
Use of staples, missing, rough or inconsistent finish, glue marks, misaligned joints, loose hardware, difficult installation, material too thin (drawer bottoms, eg) or missing - signs of cheap products.
I'm adding that this may be the sign of our times, that as middle class income stayed as it is, not many can afford to search for quality. Not even the japanese can afford to do this anymore.
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