fixing a bad built-in - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 12-24-2008, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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fixing a bad built-in

This is the 2nd time in 2 weeks I've been tasked with fixing somebody else's craftsmanship. Doesn't bother me one bit. As long as there are wannabe carpenters and woodworkers in my area they're making my business money.

Anyway, This is my project.

The contractor that started this built the boxes, installed the hinges, built 2 of the 4 doors, left his tools, and skipped town.

My plan of attack: Pull the mdf boxes out of the cubby and build face frames. Attach face frames with pocket screws. Get my cabinet maker to build 2 more doors or 4 new doors if he can't get them matched up. Attach doors. Adjust hinges. Collect my money, and leave the customer satisfied.

I was just wondering if this plan of attack is similar to somebody else or if anybody had a different point of view. Thanks!
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post #2 of 34 Old 12-24-2008, 10:45 AM
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I would modify with some shelves. The structure for the size of the TV and stero components is just too open.

Of course, charge them for the modifications

RLH
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post #3 of 34 Old 12-24-2008, 11:01 AM
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left his tools, and skipped town.
You are going to run into this more and more. With
the economy like it is, they are just one step ahead
of the bill collector. Some one is looking for the tools.
And the truck they were driving as they left town.

In one area here they tore down 28 new houses that
were framed and decked, no wall or roofing. The bank
didn't want to deal with it. The materials had been out
in the weather for over six months.

The emigrant workers here are leaving like rats on
a sinking ship.


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post #4 of 34 Old 12-24-2008, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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If I could I'd start from scratch and I would prefer too, but the woman has already spent 600 bucks to get this far. She's a single mom of 3 who I think has just recently lost her husband. She wants to do the job using what is already there. The last knucklehead even cut a hole in the back like it was a piece of furniture.

I would have left the back open completely to paint the drywall to match her living room and put a protruding ledge with a bullnose profile in between the boxes so it looked like a true built-in. The flipper door hinges the guy used are crap. i would have spent real money on them and bought the Accuride 1 2 3 flipper door hinges from Rockler. But I also would have charged a grand or more from start to finish.

I have to fix everything for 250 bucks plus materials.
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post #5 of 34 Old 12-24-2008, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BHOFM View Post
Some one is looking for the tools.
And the truck they were driving as they left town.
Funny you mention it because his F-150 is still in the driveway too.
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post #6 of 34 Old 12-24-2008, 11:12 AM
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I agree with RLHERRON about shelves

I would put an adjustable shelve up with the T.V. ..so all the electronics would be in the upper portion of the cabinet...this way all four doors would not need to be open for the remotes to work, just the upper doors. and less wires would need to be run thru to the upper and lower half of the cabinet.

and would put a few adjustable shelves in each of the bottom halves as well for media storage.

I would use the two doors already made for the lower part.
and go with a real nice pair of bi-fold raised panel doors for the top.
The two big solid doors in the top will have one heck of a swing into the room when open.

Last edited by Davet; 12-24-2008 at 11:30 AM.
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post #7 of 34 Old 12-24-2008, 12:00 PM
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I'd have walked away. The hinges seem to be fairly standard but not sure if they fit the application. Looks like he attached them to the slides so the doors would pull out then fold back into the cabinet?

Thats what the lady gets for hiring bootleggers. If he isnt a bootlegger he'll have a BOND in which case she should go after it.
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post #8 of 34 Old 12-24-2008, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by TheRecklessOne View Post
I have to fix everything for 250 bucks plus materials.

You may have underbid the work.






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post #9 of 34 Old 12-24-2008, 06:00 PM
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Reckless,
I understand you are trying to help this lady out, so do what you can and move on, and also learn from this experience. I spent 25 years in the fire service, where our whole job was helping people, so it took awhile for me to learn to say no once in awhile.
Back in the spring I bid a kitchen remodel for my son's boss. He ended up giving the job to his brother's company, which I understand. However, he told me up front his brother was bringing in a bunch of union carpenters (read:commercial work). Because he was my son's boss and I realized up front I wasn't going to get the job, I still spent a couple of hours trying to coach him on how the job should be done and what he could expect from his brothers guys. Nothing against the union guys, but around here, they don't do residential work, and don't work in places where people are still living. To make a long story short, they did a terrible job installing chinese knock down cabinets. They also installed two new anderson casement windows and two sliding doors. Didn't do a good job on those either. He called me back over to his house in Novemeber to show me he still didn't have a working kitchen. The job was only about half done, he through them off the job. He begged me to fix all their mistakes and finish the job. Money was not an issue. I told him I couldn't help him unless I gutted the kitchen and started over with Kraftmaid cabinets like I originally bid. I don't like to go in where the customer is upset already and try to fix someone else's screwups. It's usually a no-win situation. Best to walk and not get caught in between the crossfire.
Mike Hawkins
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post #10 of 34 Old 12-24-2008, 06:27 PM
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Ouch, I think the $250 part is going to sting. I would pull the MDF cases forward till the front edge of it was flush with the sheetrock and fasten, then case the opening with square stock and let that be your face frame. This way you don't have to rely on the chance of his boxes being out of square. Add the needed cross members and overlay doors, and hopefully be done with it.

Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.
-Albert Einstein :http://armandj.com
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post #11 of 34 Old 12-24-2008, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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I have no doubt I underbid the job. I did this for 2 reasons. One, She needs other carpentry work done that was part of the original deal with her crappy contractor, but wants this finished first. I'm assuming its to see if she can trust me. Two, I do feel for her situation.

Anyway, I guess I'm going to stick with my original plan. Unless anybody sees any glaring problems.
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post #12 of 34 Old 12-25-2008, 09:21 AM
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Reckless,
Be careful on underbidding the initial job in hopes of getting future work. That's an old jewish trick from where I came from. (no offense to the jews.) I used to do work for a jewish developer years ago. His favorite trick was to tell you, "give me a real good price on the first job and I'll give you the rest of the jobs after you do the first one." Needless to say you didn't get the rest of the work. Or if you did, he wanted it for the same price as the first one. You have to establish a cost per day of what you need to make and stick to it. Consistency is better and easier to keep track of in the long run. If you get every job you bid, it usually means you are not charging enough. Sell yourself, but don't sell yourself short. Good luck,
Mike Hawkins
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post #13 of 34 Old 12-25-2008, 10:18 AM
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Wow I thought that was an old Irish trick...or was it Baptist?
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post #14 of 34 Old 12-25-2008, 10:32 AM
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I seen this with (India) Indians, Portuguese, and Good Ole Boy Rednecks as well!

Must really be kind of a universal thing !
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post #15 of 34 Old 12-25-2008, 11:00 AM
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Hey hombre, es mexicano!

Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.
-Albert Einstein :http://armandj.com
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post #16 of 34 Old 12-25-2008, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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Couldn't be the Irish...We do everything ourselves! Merry Christmas all!!!
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post #17 of 34 Old 12-25-2008, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firehawkmph View Post
Reckless,
Be careful on underbidding the initial job in hopes of getting future work. That's an old jewish trick from where I came from. (no offense to the jews.) I used to do work for a jewish developer years ago. His favorite trick was to tell you, "give me a real good price on the first job and I'll give you the rest of the jobs after you do the first one." Needless to say you didn't get the rest of the work. Or if you did, he wanted it for the same price as the first one.
Mike Hawkins
Are you suggesting having the perspective client fill out a religious affiliation form before bidding the job?






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post #18 of 34 Old 12-25-2008, 12:30 PM
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Are you suggesting having the perspective client fill out a religious affiliation form before bidding the job?
A bit off topic, but..

We went looking at new trucks some time ago and
they would not give us a cash price unless we filled
out a credit ap. I tried to explain that I would write
them a check if the price was right, but, no, you
have to fill out their paper work and wait for it to
be processed. We are still driving the 30 year old
Toyota.

Sorry to get off track a little.


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post #19 of 34 Old 12-25-2008, 09:36 PM
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Reckless; All the above advice is solid and correct; May I just add this caveat: YOU TOUCH IT YOU OWN IT, YOU MARRIED IT. This is a nightmare waiting for you to take it.The job is screwed up, the owner is pissed off, I guess you didnt see that BIG ASS sign on the front :}:}:}
SCAPEGOAT WANTED!!!!!!!!! Contractor required to work for FREE for as long as customer wants; Will be responsible for everything that has happened before, Now and forever in the future.
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post #20 of 34 Old 12-26-2008, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
You may have underbid the work.
No doubt about that!
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