dovetailed drawer boxes: cost?

Greetings:
I'm in the process of pricing out cabinets for a new house. For a number of reasons, I'm probably going to go with a local cabinet shop that does especially good quality work and is very picky about the lumber it uses.
However, as with many small shops that don't have CNC machines, their "standard" drawer boxes are Baltic birch plywood, rabbeted / glued / nailed. To upgrade to dovetailed solid wood (poplar or equivalent sides, with plywood bottoms in a dado), they want an additional $15 / box. As there would be about 160 boxes on this project, I'm looking into whether it might make sense to have the cabinet shop omit drawer boxes entirely from their bid, outsource the drawer boxes to one of the companies that supply CNC'd DT'd boxes, and then just have the local cabinet shop attach the drawer fronts and drawer slide hardware.
What's the approximate cost these places charge for a typical box (e.g., for a 24"W x 4"H x 20"D, in an inexpensive hardwood like poplar, soft maple, cherry, etc.), in quantity?
Thanks!
LKB in Houston
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I cannot give you prices for boxes, but to move up to 160 dovetailed solid wood drawers from glued and nailed plywood for another $900 seems like a bargain... Is the shop buying the dovetailed boxes or making them for the up-charge?
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John Grossbohlin wrote:

..
Sure a bargain compared to an extra $2400 :)
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Guess I shouldn't do math in my head after getting up at 5 and still hunting for deer for 6 hours. ;~) Best I can figure is I based that on 60 units!
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It's a secret supplier... ;~)
For 160 units I might buy myself a router and template. Even if I can do fine handcut dovetails relatively quickly that is a LOT of dovetailing -- I'd starve at $15 per unit doing them with my L-N saw and Marple's chisels. ;~)
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Since I don't live in the Houston area I couldn't comment on what it would cost to have someone do the drawers. But I also don't think the $15.00 is all that high. Look at it this way. The cost of poplar at $2.00 bf will cost him about $5.00 of that $15.00. If it takes someone in the shop 2 hours to cut and assemble the drawer he would have to be paying them $5.00 an hour. To do the same job in 1 hour he would have to be paying them $10.00 an hours. Do you see where his profit is in the job. Now I know there is a trade off he is getting in the plywood costs compared to the poplar costs. And, with his standard drawer there is labor to put them together. He is clearly not trying to get rich on these drawers.
If you get a good price for the drawers at a CNC shop who is responsible for getting the drawers installed in the cabinets? If you have to transport the cabinets to the CNC shop to have them installed where is the cost savings. And even if you have to transport the 60 drawers to the original cabinet guy there will be costs. Do you see where this is going?
And in the end. Both places will be pointing fingers at the other guy if something doesn't work out.
Good Luck
Roy
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Good point. When you get right down to it, using two people for the one job is asking for problems. The first guy certainly wouldn't be getting rich on this and his pricing seems fair. It's only a recipe for disaster trying to part it out.
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A couple of thoughts...
I made 28 drawers for our kitchen and dovetailed all four courners on each one. I would not do it again for $15 each. Way too much work, even using a template.
Also, even if the shop has a cnc the shear materials handling to do dovetails is worth the extra $15 imoho. If they are good quality, that is a great price.
Skip www.ShopFileR.com

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Skip Williams wrote:

Thinking about it I'm not sure a CNC would really be the most efficient way to do that kind of volume anyway.
I hadn't really thought about using an Incra jig for that kind of volume but perhaps it makes sense. Do the setup, do test cuts, tune if needed, then stack and clamp the pieces in bundles of manageable size and it will pretty much be zip, zip, zip.

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"Skip Williams" wrote...

I agree that a 15 dollar upcharge is a very good price.
$2400 seems like a lot of money, but should be considered in the context of the project. I mean, we're talking 160 drawers here - that's 40 four drawer cab bases; I've never seen or even heard of a kitchen with that many drawers. How many square feet is this kitchen, anyway? With a project as large as this kitchen would seem to have to be to have 160 drawers in it, it seems a bit off to be crying over 2400 bucks.
-- Timothy Juvenal www.tjwoodworking.com
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"LKB" wrote in message: | Greetings: <snip> I'm looking | into whether it might make sense to have the cabinet shop omit drawer | boxes entirely from their bid, outsource the drawer boxes to one of | the companies that supply CNC'd DT'd boxes, and then just have the | local cabinet shop attach the drawer fronts and drawer slide | hardware.
I would not be willing to install someone else's boxes in this case. nuff said,
woodstuff
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woodstuff wrote:

Not even if you charged for your time and took no responsibility for the boxes? Why not?
Chris
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All posters please take note he said an "additional" $15 per box.
In all the woodwoorking magazines you can find box makers advertsiements or do a google search. Western Dovetail is one of the biggies that comes to mind. On a buy that size they will typically give their typical wholesale price. If the biggest guys won't do it the smaller gusy will. I'm sure your cabinet shop is just buying the boxes like that and I doubt he is making a killing, just passing along the cost.
You'll be amazed how much of a flat rate some ofd these guys charge. Sometimes it is just a square foot charge regardless of the depth (within, reason). You'll also have a shipping charge, so if you can find someone in drive distance, you can save a lot.
Honestly, I doubt you'll get much value out of buying these direct and managing all the logistics to get them to your cabinet guy, etc.
If you know the cost of the typical boxea from your cabinet maker maybe get a good price for dovetail boxes from one of the vendors and use it as a bargining chip to have they guy give you a better price, if it's possible. I doubt he is making much and he probably gets a better price than you can.
BW

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So is it 16, 60 or 160 drawers? It's hard to believe it would be 160 drawers in a residential kitchen but no matter - at $15 each for the upgrade, go with him.
Bob S.
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