Heavy glaze on a very grainy wood  prior to wiping

Glaze for Cabinet Finishing
Once you get tired of looking at plain old paint finishes you might want to think about adding glaze to your next painted cabinet job. Glaze is a mineral spirits based paint, a very thick paint at that, that is basically smeared around exterior parts of a cabinet and then wiped off to provide some color accents.

It is a bit more complicated than that. First you paint, sand , paint a 2nd coat, sand again to knock down any raised fibers, then add a coat of clear sanding sealer. The sealer does just what its name suggests; it seals off the paint so you can manipulate the glaze without contaminating the paint. Then scuff sand the sealer coat and add your glaze.

You can add the glaze sparingly or you can paint the entire part in glaze. Usually it does little good to put the glaze anywhere other than the cracks and crevices areas of the part, usually profiled edges and where the center panel meets the stiles and rails.

 

Glazing Provides Contrast

Why? Because most of the glaze has to be wiped off, leaving a thick layer will just cause problems because the top coat of finish cannot reach the sealer surface under the glaze, your finish will just peel off eventually. You can have a light haze, you can have quite heavy glazed areas that are in protected areas or deep in the grain.

Or you can allow the glaze to heavily coat the part, let it dry a few days, then start sanding with sanding sponges for a heavier look. Expensive....

And it looks expensive so there is value there if a project has that kind of budget.   Most of the things that look expensive do so because it indicates a lot of time and trouble went into the work, complicated, rich, with obvious quality and the best materials used.

Expect to spend around 5% extra on a finish with glaze.  So if you purchase $100 worth of cabinets, expect the finish to cost an extra 5% or $5.00 to add the glaze.  Generally a simple stain, seal, and pre cat lacquer job will cost 25% or $25.00 per $100 of cabinets.  Adding glaze ups that to 30% or $30.00 per $100 of cabinets.

But the heavy glaze that is literally painted on and left to dry and sand off?  Expect your finishing to start at $5000.00 for a medium sized kitchen as you are doubling, sometimes tripling  the time and materials to do the finishing. 

Next you need a coat of pre cat lacquer to lock down the glaze and provide a durable surface.

More info on finishing!

Oklahoma City’s Best Cabinetmaker and Countertop Shop

One victim’s record of Thumbtack robbing them blind

Are we on Thumbtack or Homeadvisor?
That is a bit old NO! These referral companies like Thumbtack, Yelp, Houzz, Angieslist.com, and Home Advisor are nothing more than scam artists forcing their way between consumers and tradesmen. Their ads sound great, the tradesmen are pre approved and background checked, the reality is that they will allow anyone that will give them access to their bank account to advertise and become one of their “trusted” tradespeople.

Read the horror stories from both consumers and tradespeople on Thumbtack on a site like consumeraffairs.com.   The scam works by the referral company setting up a website claiming to have a stable of tradesmen and vendors pre approved and waiting to come solve problems for you. Sometimes they did at one point, in the early days of organization they had low or even no fees to the tradesmen, some like Angieslist.com even charged the consumer. I was one of those consumers in the early days of Angieslist.com paying $20.00 a year to have a place with dependable reviews and it worked. Soon I saw my customers putting reviews on Angieslist and I had and still have an A rating. Then the bean counters take the company public, the consumer charge goes away and they start selling advertising and next your A rating as a business becomes only visible, in fact your company becomes visible, only if you pay thousands of dollars a year to Angieslist.com.

 

Money Corrupts Reviews and Ratings

Thumbtack walked the same road, vendors and tradespeople said it was great in the beginning and it slowly got worse. A “customer” would fill out a request for quotes and supposedly it would go out to the exact kind of tradesmen in the exact area the customer lived in or the business covered. The business would look at the request, if it was something they did and something they had the time to do they would contact the customer and be charged $20.00 to $50.00 usually as a finders fee. Say it was a cabinet job, well that is a bargain if it is a real customer wanting a bid. Thumbtack would call my business on a regular basis asking if we were interested in joining or claiming they had a customer that needed some work. In reality they were trolling for new tradespeople to handle work that they either made up or requests coming in for work that they had no one to bid on. I always told them not to call ever again and if a customer wanted a bid they could just call me.

It didn’t take too long for Thumbtack to learn or for human nature to take over. Soon those quotes were going to any vendor with a pulse that did anything remotely associated with the request. You want a drawer fixed on that $60.00 IKEA dresser that uncle Bob gave you? Surely this high end Kitchen Design company would love to bid on that. Along with the floor re finisher and the framing carpenter. Now Thumbtack is charging for the lead even if the vendor doesn’t contact the customer or even if they reply back saying they do not do that sort of work. And that one $20.00 repair job just generated $300 in lead costs to vendors in a 150 mile radius of the consumer that made the request. Many of the negative reviews from tradespeople claim that the majority of the “leads” on Thumbtack are fake, that the customer accounts will disappear or change erratically,

More info on quotes!

and that few of the leads ever respond back if contacted. Tradespeople find their bank accounts drained of hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars with zero actual jobs actually being bid much less completed.

As you can imagine vendors start dropping like flies and getting out of the program. Worse, there are dozens of customer reviews stating that once you post a “job” you cannot modify or delete the job, it might be in the system for years so the “lead” can be sold to the next set of sucker businesses that sign up for Thumbtack. A single lead, even one that might be two years old, will be sold to fifteen or even twenty vendors.

Home Advisor also has a horrible review rating history  . Now think about that, a company that offers reviews on contractors and vendors itself has horrible reviews. Some of the over 7,000 negative reviews on reseller ratings shows that competitors actually turn in leads on their competition in order to drain their bank accounts and drive them off the program! And the same complaints from both consumer and tradespeople that have signed up, fake leads, out of state leads, leads that have nothing to do with what a company does, all charged out for as much as $90.00 per lead and each lead might be sold dozens of times.

 

Houzz has similar ratings on the independent rating sites . They tend to have a mix of angry tradespeople that got sucked into a year long contract for thousands of dollars with no leads to show for the marketing expense and angry customers complaining about poor work or poor customer service. It kind of stands to reason that if the company scams the businesses providing the service then the businesses need to scam the customers to make back what was scammed from them.

Houzz seems to depend upon a long contract that locks new businesses in for one year for thousands of dollars per year and as soon as the business realizes the leads are worthless they try to cancel and cannot. There are tons of angry consumers that have bought something off Houzz, the company itself, not an advertiser.

The bottom line is that these referral services are just not a good idea for either the consumer or the tradesman advertising on the service.  Google the services that you need, paying close attention to the suggested searches at the bottom of the search result and contact a local service or contractor, then leave a Google review as Google seems to be the only honest review site and it has its own problems.

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Oklahoma City’s Best Cabinetmaker and Countertop Shop

System holes are the basis of 32 mm European cabinets

 System Holes?
The European cabinet is built around a series of 5 mm holes that are placed 32 mm apart, or 1.25″ apart, set in so that these holes serve as the attachment points for hardware like hinges and drawer slides as well as adjustable shelves.

The front holes are set back for the hinge screws, the back screws handle the back drawer slide screws, usually a 5 mm diameter screw.  That is around 3/16″, much larger than what is used to secure a hinge in a face frame cabinet, normally a #6 x 5/8″, less than half the diameter.  Now with thickness of almost anything you compute the strength as if it was a beam.   A screw twice the diameter is four times stronger.  Plus the pre bored system holes are put in very precisely. This requires specialized equipment that few Oklahoma cabinet shops possess which is why most make the old fashioned and outdated face frame cabinets..

 

Precision, precision, precision

The system holes are set equal distance from the ends of the end panels which allows an end panel to be flipped over to use on the other end of the cabinet, no left or right hand end panels. 

The parts must be cut to the precise size and in return for all of this careful work you get a cabinet that has doors and drawers made to standard heights that can be produced and installed with no fitting, a huge time saver when assembling cabinets.

 The other benefit of system holes is that they make it easy to change out a cabinet from just a door and drawer to a bank of drawers or vice versa.  System holes are designed to hold up in cheap particle board so in good MDF or plywood they are much stronger.  

The other huge advantage of euro or frameless cabinets is that the cool pullouts and gizmos available are much easier to install and there is zero wasted space  taken up by face frames.  That will pick up an additional 4″ in most drawer widths.

There is one negative about using system holes and the 32 mm construction system, you save a lot of time but you are also limited to certain height cabinets and certain height doors and drawers.  Each is some multiple of 32 mm or 1.25″ plus a constant which allows for the reveal, the amount of space that a drawer or door sets back from the top, bottom, and sides of the cabinet.  That standardization does help in the speed of making the parts at the cost of requiring cabinets be certain heights.  The use of a different height toe kick helps bring the cabinet to the needed height.

If you are looking for European or frameless cabinets you are in the right place.

More info on quotes!

 

 

 

“Can you Touch up the Finish on that Door…”

How things are done series

Such a small request, right?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

The reality is that all finishes are different, some are easy to touch up, others are nearly impossible so at times you are best off living with imperfection.

Some finishes are like paint, easy to touch up, the fixed door matches perfectly.  You have an impervious base like MDF or veneer, no grain showing through, so you just scrub the door down a bit with sandpaper and re shoot the color coat, allow it to dry, sand, then shoot it with sealer, a bit of glaze if needed, and a top coat of pre cat lacquer.  But this needs done fairly quickly after the set of cabinets has been painted because paint settles out a bit after a few weeks. 

Other finishes such as a simple stain, sealer, and top coat on natural wood is also easy to touch up.  Especially if it is an oil based stain that doesn’t dissolve the sealer and top coat when you touch up the defect or damage.  The down side is that oil based stains aren’t used much because they create fire hazards in finishing shops, the rags can self combust, the overspray requires a lot of clean up and resulting wasted solvents and cleaning rags.  Lacquer based stains hit the floor as powder and can be swept up with the other overspray and recycled into low quality paint.

Learn more Here at this link

Finishes are either Simple or Complex

  • Simple finishes have a small number of layers
  • Complex finishes have many layers and are harder to replicate or repair
  • Glazes depend upon grain, cracks, or crevices
  • Sometimes that slight imperfection will require a new door to fix

 

The toughest touch ups are the glazed natural wood jobs where the grain has been filled with several layers of paint or sealers, filling them in and making it harder for the glaze to catch hold.  Repairing some finishes requires stripping the old finish but even after stripping much of the grain is going to be plugged so the glaze coat is likely to not catch like the original finish.

One thing that I am sure of after decades of cabinet building, God hates perfection. It is not uncommon to have that one door that just refuses to finish perfectly and there is a limit as to how many coats can be sprayed on most cabinet parts before problems come up.

In the end sometimes it is better to live with that one door that isn’t quite perfect rather than attempt to touch it up and make it more noticeable.   But if you are picky be sure and point out these small things during the post finishing inspection when the spray guns are still set up and the materials are fresh to make touch up easier.

 

What are you giving up with Okies compared to custom cabinets ?

Hardwood doors machine very smooth on profiled edges

MDF does have limitations

 The carcass on an Okie cabinet is as good as the carcasses on our custom made cabinets.  Same 3/4″ mdf carcass material, same 3/16″ thick back, same hardwood rails, nearly the same hardware holds the doors and drawers in place. Same legs, same hanging rail system, same shelf pins, same construction methods, same fasteners are used in the Okies as are used in the custom cabinet jobs.

 

Hardwood door rails and drawer fronts are the biggest difference between the Okies and our custom cabinets

The one largest difference on cost is using MDF for the door stiles, rails, and drawer fronts.  Not only is hardwood much more expensive, it is unavailable at a reasonable cost at our overseas shop, it takes a lot more work to cut, machine, and sand the finished doors, and with the natural defects there is about a 35% waste factor using hardwood.

The MDF stiles and rails and drawer fronts will have a bit more “fuzz” to the finished product in the areas that were machined with a detail.  That can be mitigated by doing your own finishing and doing extra sanding and extra coats of paint.  The MDF holds paint really well, even in our most expensive styles we will use an MDF panel for the painted raised panels simply because it is superior over a solid wood raised panel for painting.

Durability does suffer, even with European hinges that are designed to work with particle board an MDF door isn’t going to last 40 or 50 years like a hardwood door, but who keeps a kitchen that long without doing a makeover anyway?  The MDF is more prone to denting or crushing if you dropped a door but again the hardwood door is going to have enough crushing from a drop to require some bondo and repainting too.  Once installed there is little to damage the door other than forgetting the doors only open 110 degrees and some ape ripping the hinges out.   Once again bondo and paint will fix it like new.  We expect to see MDF doors last 15 to 20 years if used with normal care.  Then you replace the doors,  drawer fronts, and end panels for a brand new looking kitchen for a fraction of the cost of tear out and replacing the cabinets.

More info on quotes!

You are giving up on custom widths, heights, and depths

MDF is a bit “fuzzy” where it is profiled
Camera is five or six inches from the door

Standard sizes only in Okies

 The Okies come in 24″ and 12″ depths, with 34.5″ lowers and 31.75″ uppers.  There are some odd ones like a cabinet that goes over an oven or broom closet, or an oven drawer base designed to make a single or double oven work out.  Widths start at 6″, then jump to 10″, then to 12″, and on up to 36″ wide.  There are specialty cabinets like go over cooktops or fridges and a few common sized vanity cabinets.

 

 

Drawer bank widths are limited

Drawer bank cabinets are limited to three drawer and four drawer stacks, with standard widths like 16″ and 24″.

The Okies will work in the average home for the most part for a basic kitchen.  We do not customize the sizes as all the parts are pre cut to width and length, ready to assemble.  That saves about three days of shop time versus building custom kitchen cabinets out of our raw MDF components we stock.

The door styles are limited as well, we have slab fronts, five part fronts, and a shaker front where the door is turned around and the inside perimeter profile (cope and stick) is facing inside the cabinet.  The standard shaper edge is used at all times, no exceptions.  Making true shaker doors is time consuming and expensive in labor and overhead as they are either perfect or they look bad.  Plus the simple act of lining up the edges of the doors and drawer fronts is a major time eater on the job site.  The shaper edge prevents this from being an issue with reasonable installation time.

You can still use the neat organizational items like trash can pullouts, lazy susans, and pot storage racks.  The average visitor will not know that you paid $3000 or $5000 for your kitchen instead of  $10,000 to $20,000 for a fully custom cabinet job.

The warranty is the standard one year warranty instead of our lifetime warranty on our custom cabinet jobs.  Yet it is rare that something fails, more common that someone abuses the cabinets or has an accident, something outside any warranty coverage. But we will still be here to help fix any damage and keep your cabinets looking like new.

More info on quotes!

How About Drawers?

Drawer boxes need good slides, not dovetail joints

 What About Drawers?
Dovetailed drawers are pushed as the ultimate drawer for a kitchen when the reality is that they are as useful and needed as screen doors on a submarine.
There was a time a hundred years ago that a dovetail drawer made sense as there were no proper drawer slides, merely waxed wood rails that would swell up just like the drawer box in damp weather and you could pull the drawer front off a drawer in time

 

Good Slides Make Good Drawers

These days we have epoxy coated or powder coated slides with ball bearing mechanisms or nylon rollers coupled with sufficient clearance that a drawer simply isn’t going to stick. Or metal side drawer systems that stay flat and square with zero warpage and zero problems for the life of the home.
Many of the dovetail drawers being sold on the less expensive pre made cabinets are dovetail indeed, on a veneered MDF or particle board panel. Something that no decent cabinetmaker would consider using as a drawer side. MDF coupled with a metal drawer side is a much different animal, with steel ledges under and behind the MDF panel. One tough drawer, impossible to rack out of square when pulling the drawer open.

I can make dovetail drawers but dovetail drawers are notorious for being difficult to size accurately in width, something that is not good for a modern drawer slide. In fact, the old factories kept a half dozen huge sanders that could sand the sides of the drawers to hand fit each drawer.
Dovetail drawers are a waste of time and money!  What does work well is a hardwood box, either popular or soft maple, planned down to 5/8″, with a 1/4″ plywood bottom dadoed into all four sides, with glued and nailed joints.  These need undermount slides which are a little more forgiving than the old KV side mount ball bearing slides that also tend to drop ball bearings over the years and require replacing in five to ten years with constant use.  Or stick with the metal side drawer box system with the 3/4″ thick bottom that has steel wrapped around three sides of the drawer.

More info on quotes!

 

Kitchen Design Principles


A lot of people put a lot of thought and design time into a kitchen, sometimes to the point they overthink the design and wind up frozen in fear. Others find a picture or design and say “That’s it.” There are some basic rules to keep in mind with a kitchen to keep your costs down and still get the changes your heart is set on.

#1. Thou Shalt Have Balance and Symmetry

Humans are used to things being in balance and symmetry. Something that is oversize in a small room or a jumble of sizes and heights seems untidy and un-orderly. A well balanced space makes people feel welcome and safe. People just know when something is off.

To balance a room pick the spot that appears to be the center of the room. Put one of your major items in the room in that spot, like a stove and hood and attempt to build outward with similar sized cabinets or appliances on either side. Or if you have a large fridge and a large built in oven put one on either side of the run of cabinets so the visual weight of the large items are at either end. Of course that can also close in a kitchen so that needs taken into account as well.

 

Learn more Here at this link

Design Principles

  • Balance and Symmetry.
  • Focal point on the main wall
  • Avoid moving walls or major utility lines
  • Scale and proportion are important

 

Pure symmetry isn’t required, sometimes color can help balance out a run of cabinets if the tyranny of geometry force you into limitations on where things go.

#2. Thou Shalt Have a Focal Point

Walk into a room and see what draws your attention at first glance. That is the focal point of a room. First impressions count, so an item that jumps out sets the tone on how you look at the space. Kitchens generally will use a focal point hood, a somewhat generous sized hood with either ornamentation or a bold color to draw the eye and tell visitors the story you wish to tell. If there isn’t room for a large hood a very bold countertop or backsplash will do. Make that the dominating feature of the room and don’t let other areas compete for attention.

#3. Thou Shalt Not Move Walls or Major Utility Lines

Moving walls isn’t cheap. Many times these walls might not be carrying any roof load but might be carrying the ceiling joists that carry the weight of the ceiling and insulation. Generally any wall that runs across the ridge line of the house is going to be a non load bearing wall and the walls that run in line with the ridge line are likely to be load bearing.

 

 

 


Why? Because ceiling joists are usually used to prevent the ridge line and rafters from pushing the walls of the house out and falling down. These joists are used in tension to prevent the walls from spreading. The best way is to grab a flashlight and get up in the attic and investigate.

Moving a load bearing wall means substituting a beam to carry the load, either above the ceiling or below. Below is best and the deeper that beam the longer the span you can bridge without causing problems with sheet rock cracking years down the line. Running a beam above is possible with a steel beam and plenty of steel strapping but they are far more prone to settling and cracking as time goes by. Plus the cost of fixing the drywall and flooring after moving a wall. Sometimes there is no choice but try to avoid moving walls.
 

Learn more Here at this link

 

Utility lines like stove gas lines or heavy gauge wire cables for a stove or oven are likewise expensive to move. If there is enough slack in the lines you can move the stove location toward the breaker box but moving it further away means replacing the entire run of cables and thick copper cables are expensive. Avoid the idea of using a junction box in the attic, the connections do heat up and loosen up with time and use. You could put a disconnect but a direct un-interrupted line is best. Gas lines are a bit more forgiving as you can thread on more joints of pipes easily enough as long as a plumber does the work and a pressure test is done on the completed work before trusting it not to leak. Consider the exhaust fan too before moving a stove.

#4. Thou Shalt Have Scale and Proportion

Six inch crown molding looks great in large rooms but not so much in a cramped kitchen. Cabinets and appliances ought to be scaled to fit the room. A 48” Sub Zero fridge looks amazing in a large kitchen but completely out of proportion in an apartment sized galley kitchen. If you want that monster 12′ long island make sure you have a monster sized kitchen so you have enough walk way room.

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#5 Thou Shalt Not Ignore the Kitchen Triangle

The kitchen triangle is the distance between the fridge, the sink, and the stove. You want the three measurements to be more than16 feet if at all possible and less than 24 feet. Why? Because you use all three appliances for preparing food. Too close and only one person can work in safety without bumping into others. Too far and you wear yourself out traveling back and forth. The prep area, clean up area, and serving area ought to be separate areas if possible. Try not to have people doing clean up chores competing with space with the cook or have the dirty dishes and food waste disposal crossing over into the serving area.

#6. Thou Shalt Not Allow Civilians Into the Work Areas

Visitors and kids like to hang around a kitchen but they need to have their own place out of the way of the cook for safety and sanitation. Give them a place to gather and watch the cooking but be able to be out of the way of the cook.

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#7. Thou Shalt Have Landing Spaces

Landing spaces are areas, usually countertops, where items can be set while in use or before storing away. Every cooktop or stove needs a small countertop on either side for pot handles to stick out over or for placing a spatula or bag of fries about to be dumped into a pot. One cardinal sin is to allow a pot handle to jut out past a stove or countertop, just waiting for a kid to grab on to or bump into. The fridge needs a space to set a bag of groceries before unloading them into the fridge. As you with draw items from a fridge you need a place to set the items as you assemble the ingredients for your meal.

#9. Thou Shall Be Able to Get the Refrigerator Into the Kitchen

And yes, this has actually been known to happen. A lot of fridges are over 36” deep and houses have been built with 32” doors leading from a hallway or garage with an island hogging up the space on the other side to the point a fridge can’t be wheeled into place. And many older homes have front and back doors that are less than 36” wide so check before you purchase that huge fridge.

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#10. Thou Shalt Not Mix Appliance colors.

Consistent colors and brands in a kitchen make it look planned and neat. It is penny wise and pound foolish to re use an old cooktop that might not have a lot of years left in it and have a major problem with the cut out not being the right size when the old cooktop dies on you. And a piecemeal look to the appliances screams cutting corners when you go to sell a home.

#11. Thou Shalt Not Stint on Electric Outlets or Lighting

Modern kitchens have loads of gadget and small appliances. At least two 20 amp circuits are needed for a kitchen just for the lighting and outlets alone. Run the garbage disposal and dishwasher and the fridge on their own circuits. The oven or cooktop will have its own circuits, usually 220 volts. There are under-cabinet strip lighting that is reasonably priced if you only have a few outlets and they can be wired directly into the side of the existing outlets if you have enough power coming from the breaker box.

Learn more Here at this link

Lighting is crucial too for a bright kitchen that is a pleasure to work in. Modern LED lights are a lot better than the old incandescent can lights that put out a lot of waste heat. Get some task lighting over the sink and island if you have one. Lighter colored countertops and cabinets help bounce the light around and lighten up a room. Some inexpensive rope lights can be tossed up above the crown molding for a nice look and LED under cabinet lighting will help show off that gorgeous back-splash.

#12. Thou Shalt Not Leave Out a Hood

Vent hoods are a necessity to get odors, smoke, and grease out of the house. If there is no way to get a 4” duct (solid pipe, not spiral pipe!) out of the top consider a down draft cooktop and run the vent out below the cabinets. Modern cabinets will have 4” tall feet and you can go taller if needed with the appropriate length feet.

#13. Thou Shall Think About Cleaning Bead board…. years ago and put bead board panel doors in my kitchen and found out that it was heck to keep clean and every time a dust rag or sponge looked toward the bead board fibers magically appeared stuck in the bead board splinters and cracks. Tough to keep clean, tough to keep a finish on the panels due to moisture seeping into the cracks.

 

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#14 Thou Shalt Not Forget the Trash

Fact of life, we throw away lots of waste and a kitchen needs to plan for the disposal. The trash can needs to be close to the sink so waste can be scraped but also easy to get to by others than the cook. You don’t want people constantly coming into the kitchen triangle to use the trash can so put it out near the edge of the triangle if possible.

Double bins are nice, one for trash and one for recyclables. They make huge honking four bin units but not that many people have enough recyclables to sort at the trash, better to assign that chore to the garage.

Garbage bins need to be sized to the size of the family and frequency of dumping the trash. Too large of a bin means old stinky garbage piling up. Too small means too many trips to the outside trash bin. It isn’t a good idea to put a drawer over a trash can either due to the smell that can build up.Finally, top mounted slide out trash cans are more stable and stay aligned instead of the bottom mount which tend to look crooked after a few months of use.

 

Learn more Here at this link

#15. Thou Shalt Not Succumb to Kitchen Porn

Yes, kitchen porn, those exciting and glamorous ideas that look great in the air brushed and carefully curated photos and videos but in real life show a seamy side to things.

We are talking glittering granite that soon becomes cracked and stained, gorgeous slate backsplash that tends to fall off the wall as it de-laminates.

Or that beautiful butcher block top that is really truck flooring that quickly turns into a splinter generating monster that warps and twists and stains with little Timmy’s first dumped Kool-aid pitcher.

 

Open shelving is sexy till you figure out you don’t have a lot of stuff that is pretty enough to leave out in the open or how long it lasts unprotected or how much time it takes to keep it dusted and the grease off the surfaces. You will tire of the visual clutter and bemoan the lack of storage space that would have been available had you avoided those open shelves.

 

 

How about that gorgeous copper sink with the beautiful patina that quickly goes away with scrubbing or toothpaste? Or that lovely “granite” composite sink that soon looks like a battle ground with dings and scratches and etching not to mention the chipped corners if you use a negative reveal edge or mud ugly silicone caulk that molds or turns white after a few month

Such things sure are exciting and breathtaking to think about but won’t last, aren’t real, and won’t be around for long.

 

 

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Is the Carpenter Shop a Better Business Bureau Member?

How things are done series

Absolutely not! The BBB like many review companies has degenerated into an extortion racket aimed at businesses at best and a way to lull consumers into ignorance and compliance. The best story done on the BBB was ten years ago in 2010  by the ABC 20/20 investigative news show. The story had small businesses wear hidden camera and visit the BBB office where they were told they could trade their C rating for an A rating by paying $425.00. The businesses had a C rating due to old, resolved customer complaints. A local business group gathered the $425.00 from a few members and listed a new non existent business called “Hamas” and received a A rating the next day.  Yes, a terror organization received an A rating from the BBB.

But if you do file a complaint against a business with the BBB what happens? Well here is a good link to one good description. What happens is that the local BBB sends a generic letter with the customer’s complaint asking for a repy and offering the chance to join the BBB for the regular fee. All a business has to do is send back a generic letter in reply, without even addressing the issue and the complaint is marked responded to and resolved. At least that is how it worked 15 years ago. These days that still works for BBB member companies but not for non BBB companies. Instead you will be deluged with BBB letters and emails and phone calls offering to sell membership to resolve the complaint.

How We Build Cabinets

The BBB is a pay to play review company

  • “accredited” BBB members pay $425.00 up to thousands of dollars to join
  • Customer complaints by “accredited” members can be “resolved” and removed with a generic “Din do nuffin” letter
  • Non BBB member businesses get bombarded with phone calls and emails trying to sell “accreditation”.
  • Companies will be held hostage till they pay for “accreditation” upon after paying the complaints are removed from the company’s BBB profile

 

Most business groups give poor ratings to the BBB  due to their pay to play practices. The Carpenter Shop has one complaint on the BBB, from a customer that purchased almost $500.00 in chicken feeders, then the husband of the customer called complaining about the length of the lids (standard length, all are the same) and the fact that he had to assemble them. Of course he wanted a complete refund including shipping and when that was confused he filed a “not as described” complaint with PayPal and when that didn’t work he had his credit card company reverse the payment claiming he didn’t order the feeders. And kept the feeders of course. Then filed the BBB complaint saying he had been cheated.

The BBB rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars per year running this protection scheme. The money comes

  

 

 

 

How things are done series

mostly from their “members” who pay between $425.00 and $10,000 per year for the coveted BBB “approval”. They can also purchase plaques to hang on the wall in their businesses and door stickers and preferential placement for ads placed on the BBB website. To bring in new businesses the BBB hires commission salespeople, paying up to one third the “accreditation fee” to the salesmen. Marketing companies run call centers packed with aggressive salespeople, using filed customer complaints to extort the businesses into paying for membership in the BBB. Many of the BBB companies are using marketing agencies that have F ratings on the BBB’s own website!

The BBB itself is an umbrella organization that sells independent bureaus across the U.S.. It collects a few thousand dollars a year from small BBB offices up to $200,000 a year from the larger city BBB offices.

Many of the rating services like the BBB and Yelp have sordid reputations for pay to play schemes so businesses have begun simply ignoring the ratings. Both companies remain in business simply by providing safe harbor and polished reputations to businesses willing to pay handsomely for those reputations.


 

How We Build Cabinets

Luckily Google and Facebook appear to have refrained from becoming so blatant and while Angieslist.com appears to still provide reasonably accurate reviews from customers they did start burying company reviews behind paid advertisers even if the paid advertisers have lower ratings on Angieslist.com. Generally you can still look up a company on Angieslist.com but non ad buying companies do not show up on their list of recommended businesses.

The Carpenter Shop has an A rating on Angieslist.com and a 4.7 star rating on Google (five stars is the maximum rating on Google.). We have a single five star review on Yelp but it is hidden and accessible only if you click on a greyed out link. It seems one customer placed the review twice and despite her sixteen total reviews Yelp won’t show the review because we refuse to “advertise” with them.

 

So with the review companies it is a mixed bag but the BBB is only for crooked companies willing to pay to play.

 

 

 

Will You Come to My House for a Free Estimate?

How things are done series

Free?  Nothing is free except trouble and it has costs that you just haven’t seen yet.  All services including shipping is either built into the product or added to the final selling price.

If a cabinetmaker comes out to visit your job site or home he either includes his labor and overhead costs into your job price or he hires a salesman or kitchen designer and pays their labor, insurance, payroll taxes, and business overhead into the price of the cabinets. 

The shops or stores that offer “free” estimates are adding plenty for sales acquisitions and the time and expense of visiting job sites to acquire the job.   Many times the salesman or kitchen designer is on commission, usually 20% mark up of anything they sell to the customer.  A designer might add some value, especially for a customer that believes they have poor taste or judgement.  But you know, most people like what they like and most tradesmen are going to look out for you and talk you out of flying pig ceramic tile backsplash or other choices that will either date your home or lower the resale value.  Higher end homes are usually an exception as they are marketed to very picky homeowners.  For the average person, a designer isn’t needed and the profit motive is removed from recommendations for products.  After all, salesmen will want to sell you a $500 faucet and make $100 commission than a $100 faucet that nets them $20.00, just human nature.

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Costs involved in bidding or selling a job

  • Time and overhead burned up walking customers through options
  • Travel costs and time and overhead visiting job sites
  • Time and overhead spent producing drawings and changes to the specifications and drawings
  • Research time on items such as appliance specs
  • And the actual bidding of the job once the specs are nailed down and any changes afterward.

 

There is no escaping these costs and yes, they will be passed along.  So the better prepared the customer is the final cost of the cabinet job.

The commissioned salesmen will travel out to your home at the drop of a hat and might make twenty bids before they land a sale.  Why?  Because they spend so much money on selling a job and have to recover all the costs of bidding, traveling, and selling the nineteen jobs they failed to land.   We believe this is not fair.

So we ask customers to bring in their crude drawings and measurements, tour the showroom while we talk about options and costs.  The more sure the customer is about what they actually want the lower their final cost will be. Once we have an estimate based upon the specifications (specs) we can quote a price and visit the job site to confirm all measurements so that any mistake past that point is our mistake and our cost to make right. In the end the customer saves money and gets better cabinets.

 

Flooded Home? Can you Save the Cabinets?

How things are done series

Kitchens flood, we count on it happening at least once in a kitchen’s life and we design so that a broken water line, fridge water line, or washer water hose doesn’t ruin all of the cabinets. The cabinets are set up on 4” tall feet so at most the toe kicks and end panels will take the brunt of the damage and they are easily replaced by design in our cabinets, not at all for face frame style cabinets where the doors are an integral part of the cabinet carcass.

We have had only one case to deal with, where a 3/8” copper prep sink water line broke loose after seven years. it sprayed two doors for hours till the customer woke up and was greeted with a half inch of water in the home. The wood floors were ruined and needed replaced but the cabinets cost a bit over $500.00 to put back in first class condition thanks to our construction methods.

But with Oklahoma flooding in May of 2019, we need to talk about flood water damage versus clean tap water that is a half inch deep at most. When homes are built the studs are 92 5/8” tall and three layers of 2 x 4 plate are added, bottom plate, top plate, and an extra top plate to give the proper height. That puts the height of the actual wall or ceiling at 97.125” tall before the sheetrock goes on. Then you are down to 96 5/8” from floor to sheet rocked ceiling. Two 48” wide x 96” long sheet rock sheets are added leaving a 5/8” gap at the bottom and that saves your bacon. 

How We Build Cabinets

Flooded Cabinets Will Have Finish Problems Down the Road

  • The wood will never be as dry as it was before after kiln drying
  • Water will eventually escape and blister or flake the finish or cause blush
  • Blush is a white looking semi transparent effect under the finish
  • Floors and walls behind cabinets will mold if the old cabinets are not taken out

 

But in a flood all sorts of stuff is in storm water runoff. Animal excrement, human excrement, lots of mud, oil, and chemicals. And the water is high so it soaks into the sheetrock, is wicked up into the insulation and wood framing, leaving behind all of the contaminates when it does dry. Including fungus, bacteria, mold spores, and of course the mud and oil.

If you have a clean water flood you might be able to salvage the cabinets IF they were built up off the floor on nylon legs and you get the water out quickly. Particle board of course isn’t going to survive. First, empty your cabinets and remove as much excess water as possible inside the cabinet using towels or sponges. Pull the doors off and lay them around so both sides are exposed to the drier air, might not warp as much. Get fans going in the house and a good dehumidifier going if it is humid outside and close off the house so you can dry out the air inside the home quickly. A wood stove puts off lots of dry heat, not so much for a vent-less propane or natural gas space heater, water is formed with propane and natural gas is burned.

How things are done series

 

 

 

If you can find the original cabinetmaker some cabinets can be repaired and the ones damaged beyond repair can be replaced. The finish might need stripped and water stains removed using oxalic acid, then treat for mold using bleach and water. If you do not do this the cabinets will begin to stink. After the cabinets have dried thoroughly for several days refinish the cabinets.

Now whether or not the cabinets will come through this process as good as new depends upon how much water and how long it soaked in and how quick you get the water out. Wood will never return to its kiln dried moisture content after being flooded. Water will cause finishing problems on down the line as the home heats up or the air dries out and the wood attempts to stabilize moisture content with the surrounding air. That causes finishes to flake off.

How about the Professional Restoration Companies?
They will have better fans and dehumidifiers but in the end they sell a service to insurance companies to try to limit the cost of a claim. The insurance company wants them to try to salvage the cabinets, even paying half of the cost of the ruined cabinets to clean them up and refinish will save the insurance company millions of dollars each year.  And a year later when the finish flakes off it isn’t their problem. Even on the Edmond kitchen with little water damage, we did replace the doors that took the direct spray of water for six hours.

 

How We Build Cabinets

Repairing and Replacing Part of the  Cabinets is Problematic

  • Finding the original cabinet maker or one that has the tooling to match doors and cabinets is tough
  • A stripped finish will stain out totally different than new wood on the replacement cabinets
  • Bleach and water and oxalic acid and water adds more moisture to the already wet wood
  • Insurance saves a lot, you get sub par cabinets with a portion of the lifetime use used up already

 And have never had a call back saying anything bad happened with the kitchen. But sanding and striping those doors for re finishing, well, that would be ill advised given the cost of the new doors and finishing was close to the cost for slap dash work to save a few dollars for the insurance company.

If you Google flooded cabinets the restoration companies will talk about using wood glue to fix delaminated plywood and adding braces to strengthen weakened cabinets. Not good long term, you know that. And the floor and drywall behind the cabinets is likely to mold unless the cabinets are removed for drying the wall and even replacing the sheetrock. A month of drying and dehumidifying will help if you have the time.

But is it better to save the insurance company a few thousand dollars or you be made whole with cabinets that will return your home to its previous value?