What are reasonable expectations for cabinet craftsmanship?

Hi,
We are getting custom made cabinets at about $1200/linear foot. Plywood cabinets with stained oak faces. Mission style with inset doors.
1. The first picture shows the gap between two cabinet doors that close towards each other:
http://freeboundaries.com/Gap1.jpg
I think that the gap is too big. Or should I expect a 1/4" gap?
2. The second picture shows the gap between the box and the face. It's on the left of the picture:
http://freeboundaries.com/Gap2.jpg
There are some strange nail-looking things in that gap as if it was intentional. But I'm not sure what its purpose might be.
Thank you in advance for all the input!
Sam
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On 11/5/2011 11:08 PM, Sam Takoy wrote:

I'd be (politely at first) inviting the owner of the cabinet company over for a look-see. Looks like sub-standard work to me, especially the second picture. Those shelf-peg holes aren't even deburred, and they didn't draw the face frame up to the box during assembly- that is a glue biscuit showing in the gap. They MAY be able to do a field repair, but if the side panel is out of square, the base cabinet may need to be rebuilt.
--
aem sends...

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You'd be better off buying Kraft-maid at Home Depot than what you showed in those pictures.
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We are very satisfied with the KraftMaid cabinets we bought 10 years ago. We had them installed by people supervised by the contractor in charge of our remodeling. We paid $8250 for all the cabinets in a small kitchen makeover. I would to really have to go and measure everything to see how much cabinet that is, and of course, today's prices will be different. I'll post a picture in abpw of one of the top cabinets.
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Best regards
Han
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Sorry for the little pull string from the ceiling light that looks strange in the picture.
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Best regards
Han
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wrote:

I would expect 1/8", or so. You can't adjust the doors? Modern hardware makes this easy. If they didn't use decent hardware, you got taken.

The gap should be adjustable, too. The job they did on the shelf pin holes is crappy, too. I like the wood, but those pin holes should *not* be split out. It looks like the plywood delaminated when they drilled it (with a dull nail?). Very bad!

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On 11/5/2011 10:08 PM, Sam Takoy wrote:

Sam your cabinets are ALREADY falling apart!!!!!
Demand a refund.
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Thank you for all the responses so far. I'm disappointed in the quality but feel relieved that it's not just me being unreasonable. I'll post an update.
Thanks again,
Sam
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I went through the same crap with mine a few years back more at the $20K mark. Most of the broken units and wrong size units were replaced. They don't take things back. The $50 to build a cabinet isn't worth the shipping to the manufacturer. (Kitchen Craft - Winnipeg area)
This is all stuff the installer fixes/hides on the job and gets no credit for the "irregularities". Some of he people advising you are manufacturers and installers. They may not know the difference in process with mass produced stuff.
Next time I will install them myself. Would have save some legal fees and a lot of time and headaches. I will find out this winter.
Good luck with any of that.
------ "Sam Takoy" wrote in message
Thank you for all the responses so far. I'm disappointed in the quality but feel relieved that it's not just me being unreasonable. I'll post an update.
Thanks again,
Sam
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On Sun, 06 Nov 2011 07:49:40 -0800, Sam Takoy wrote:

If you can't get a full refund on that mess you should take them to court. And even if it were a perfect job, the price is way too high.
Where are you located? Maybe someone here could put you in touch with a reputable custom cabinet maker. Even if only to serve as an expert witness.
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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Sam Takoy wrote:

Man, did *THAT* shop make out! I wouldn't pay $1200 per running foot for cabinets if Jesus Christ himself were making them. But you did so regarding your questions...
1. DOOR GAP Way too much. If the doors were solid wood instead of frame and panel which they appear to be, 1/8" - even less - should be plenty especially if the door edges where they meet were beveled inward slightly as they should be.
You need a gap between the doors for two reasons: the first is so that the doors will open...the distance from the hinge pivot point to the back edge of the door at the opening is greater than it is to the front of the opening (that is the reason for a bevel on the opening edge - to reduce the radius thereby reducing the gap needed). The second is to accomodate seasonal expansion/contraction of the wood in the doors. If the doors are solid wood, that seasonal change is much greater then for doors that are made of a frame with a panel inset into the frame (as yours appear to be). With frame and panel, the gap between doors can be quite small...I live in Central Florida (wet summers, dry winters) and the gap between frame & panel doors of a cabinet I made for our screen porch is less than 1/16.
BTW, what *IS* the panel? And what are the two vertical, black bars over your tape?
The existing gap can be mitigated in several ways... a) adjustment of hinges (if possible) to move doors b) a central vertical stile in the cabinet for the foors to close against. That changes the cabinet interior from one space into two c) rabbeting the backs of both doors along the full length of the opening edge and insetting a piece in one for the other to close against. You still have a gap but there is wood behind it. Doing this means that the door without the inset has to be opened in order to open the other.
2. GAP BETWEEN FRAME & BOX
Totally unacceptable regardless of price. A sloppy, "I don't care a rat's ass" job.
There should be NO gap there...the frame should be tight against the box. The holes for shelf pins are butchered...the ply veneer has been torn and I can think of no way to fix it other than ripping out a 1/2 - 3/4" dado, insetting a piece of wood flush with the ply surface and then drilling new holes.
--

dadiOH
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Sam, it sucks to get taken in by those so-called cabinet makers, so I feel your pain. The word 'substandard' is a compliment for that work. Don't even let them fix that mess, get you money back, one way or another.
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1/16" or less.
Would look much better if the doors were rabbeted to mesh with each other, but that's an extra step that not many cabinetmakers would offer standard.

Biscuits, look to be #20s. You should have no open joint.
Plywood looks to be cheap Home Depot birch face, paper thin veneer. For $1200 / ft, you should have gotten better grade.
Shelf pin holes are ragged, probably from deburring with a worn drill. Details are crucial to good finish.
Finish itself is poor. Brush-on poly, should have been at least steel wooled and waxed. Grain filler would have made it look 500% better. If you like an open-grained finish, oil would have looked better.

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On 11/5/2011 10:08 PM, Sam Takoy wrote:

Judging from the two photographs, that particular work is indeed substandard and would not live up to the standard of quality expected for your stated price.
Was a contract involved?
Even if not, don't go off half cocked ... document the entire installation with photographs of every single instance where you do not feel you received fair value.
Send them, along with a letter to the contractor, by registered mail, cc'ing your attorney (even you don't yet have one), outlining, and requesting a meeting onsite to discuss what you perceive as problem areas.
Regarding the price you paid ... there are damn few, even here, who are qualified to make a judgement in that regard, particularly based on a couple of photographs ... opinions don't count, so don't take them into account.
I can guarantee that most do not have a clue as to what a "custom kitchen" costs, on average, these days. The price you stated is on the low end of a "Tier 1" custom job in most areas of the country.
To assist you with whether you deserve some peace of mind for what you paid, use the link below, inputting the specifications of what you actually got in all the different categories:
http://www.finehomebuilding.com/pages/calculators/kitchen-cabinets-countertops /
As a home builder, and cabinetmaker with quite a few kitchens under his belt, I can assure you that the results of that particular calculator will be in line with most areas of the US, and will give you an _accurate_ estimation of what your kitchen should have cost you.
This exercise will also be of benefit to your legal adviser should you eventually require one.
Let us know how it goes ...
--
www.eWoodShop.com
Last update: 4/15/2010
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On Sun, 06 Nov 2011 11:49:54 -0600, Swingman wrote:

Interesting site. Thanks. Quite the price gap between tier 1 and tier 2. I didn't see any reference to the type of wood. Would tier 1 include exotics or would that further raise the price?
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Sam Takoy wrote:

Wretched looking holes in that second pic and looks like the oak hasn't seen any paste filler before the finish step. Cabinetmakers are supposed to "finish" the wood - and this was stained handyman style without filling the pores.
I don't see anything that here that's a step up from the cheapest Home Depot cabinet.
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