make or buy kitchen cabinets? - Page 3 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #41 of 41 Old 05-23-2011, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Leo G View Post
The line I get often is "I went out to HD or Lowe's and was looking at cabinets and I found something I liked but it (was this that or the other thing wrong) and I was wondering if you could build me the same design but in my size (or whatever). The price I give them is likely to be 3-4 times as much as the box store version. I can't compete with a manufacture who buys 1000's of sheets and hinges and slides, who employ workers at low wages and use CNC machines to make parts. While I'm paying $90 sheet for plywood they are paying $40, I have to charge my shop[ rate and for that they have 4-6 guys on the floor.

Custom costs.

If you don't include your time in the equation you might be able to make them for about the same cost as you can buy them. Once you put a value on your time you might as well just go buy them.

But you will get the satisfaction of knowing you built your kitchen and it will be made of cabinets that are the right size and not something with a lot of filler pcs.
Absolutely the truth. Clients think that a shop can build less than a big store that has all that overhead. What's true, is that it's more than buying the plywood and a gallon (or 2) of finish. Back in the 70's & 80's there were about a half dozen mega shops here making kitchens and baths for multi dwelling condos and apartments. They could spit out 50-60 kitchens a day. These were mostly automated. Hands touched very little of the work.

Around the same time I did a bid for one of the local chain restaurants. I saw a film of a company in California that was almost totally automated. Their sheet stock sat on pallets, that got lifted and fed through a series of automatic panel saws cutting all the parts. It was amazing to watch. I was thinkin' to myself...how nice not to have to lift those sheets.

The table tops had two colors with an inlaid border, done with a series of automated routers. I will say, when the field was fitted, it was a perfect fit...no gaps whatsoever. There's no way a small shop with men doing all the functions can compete with that kind of fabrication.

What doesn't show is the personal touch, that is quite evident with the work you see here that the members are doing.








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