Skinny hanging strips on cheap cabinets

Suspension Blocks and Steel Hang Rail

Almost all of our competitors depend upon a skinny  strip of scrap wood running along the top of the cabinet to hang the cabinet. As you can imagine, this isn’t the best way to hang a cabinet.  I have seen homes with the slender wood strip still attached to the wall, with the rest of the cabinet laying on the floor in pieces.


A better way is to use suspension blocks and a steel hanging rail, the suspension blocks have fittings that hammer into two 10 mm holes in the side of the cabinet.  You are  actually hanging the side of the cabinet  which supports the rest of the cabinet. Then the steel hanging rail is screwed to the studs and  large molly bolts used if the rail ends before the next stud.  The suspension block protrudes past  the back of the cabinet and hooks onto the steel hanging rail. Two screws handle any minor adjustments needed for the height and leveling of the cabinet..

  In addition to having the cabinets hung much more strongly the rails makes installing and removal fast and secure.  After the cabinets are leveled and lined up fasteners are installed so that the cabinet’s weight is spread all across the line of cabinets.  After a wet spring or dry summer your


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Suspension Block on one of our Okie cabinets.

home might sink or  the swelling soil might raise your home walls, with our cabinets removing the crown molding is easy and then the cabinets are unbolted and either adjusted back level or removed by pulling them p and out for repairs. d after unscrewing the cabinet from the others, you just lift it up and away for repair.

Using these suspension blocks and steel rail  costs a quite bit more than using up table saw scrap but the end result is cabinets that are much easier to install and much more sturdy cabinets.

This is just one example of how we just do things better when we build cabinets.It is a lot cheaper to just make things right than come back later to fix the cabinets or lose a customer over poor quality work.

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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.

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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,, 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   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 even charged the consumer. I was one of those consumers in the early days of 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


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,

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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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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.

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“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.

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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.