Down & Dirty Drawers Redux

New subject line because the original has gone way OT. :-)
So, I'm in the home of some new friends. Beautiful half-million dollar home in the affluent Brentwood TN area, outside Nashville. Lots of "McMansions" in the area, but this home is decidedly more traditional and sensible, architecturally.
I notice that the drawer front to the trash pull-out cabinet is loose. Then I see that one cabinet drawer front is missing and many others are loose or have been repaired with mending plates. I tell the home owner that I'd love to repair the drawer with the missing front and I take it home to fix. Here's where it gets fun.
These cabinets are all particle board. Not even MDF. Low density particle board, like those horrible shelving units you can buy at Walmart for $29. This is a $500,000 home in an area of the country where $149,000 gets you a 10 year old, 1700sqft ranch on a half acre. This is a luxury home for the market.
Upon further inspection, I realize they are not even gluesd together. The only glue on the drawer is a bead of what I'd describe as "hot glue" underneath, around the perimeter of the bottom panel. The box was constructed with (get this) NON-locking rabbet joints, STAPLED together! The false fronts then screwed to the front panel of the box. EVERY one of these drawers WILL fail and fall apart from repeated use.
I would be a little more forgiving if these drawers were made of solid wood, because staples hold pretty well in hardwood. But particle board!?! You can practically pull a 2" staple out of particle board with your fingers.
Boggles the mind. Half million dollar, 4-5,000sqft home, with mobile home qality kitchen cabinets.
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-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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On 11/8/2013 1:31 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

skin deep these days; perhaps for a long time.
Maybe twenty-five years ago a friend of mine was hired to do repairs all around a *brand new* house. The house had, among other things, a six-car garage with an office wing above it. Oh, and it had a *name* too: "Twelve Gables" or some such. So hardly a low-budget place.
In addition to whatever my friend was being paid for the job, the guy had a bunch of audio gear he didn't know how to use; I went along to help cart out whatever we thought we could use.
I took a tour. At a quick glance - at "Real Estate Photo Distance" - the place looked great. Just don't look too close. Here are just a couple of the things that needed fixing:
The holes in the sheetrock for the outlets and switches were so raggedly cut that most of them protruded out past the outlet covers, some as much as a half-inch. The builders just caulked the gaps and painted over them.
Not to be outdone, the electrician miswired several of the switches, presumably to make them a good match for the holes.
There were several staircases in the house, some of which had bends and curves. Each step made a different noise. Thunk-creeeak-CRACK!-wobble-groan-foomp-thud... One of the more trapezoidal steps in the curve actually rocked back and forth. It was not only loose, the stringers under it were cut badly.
Those are the ones that stand out in my mind, but there were repairs to be made everywhere. My friend was there for a couple of weeks, in a house no one had yet lived in. Worst of all, he was only there to fix the superficial stuff. I wonder what greater sins were covered in sheetrock. In fact, I wonder if it's still standing.
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Unfortunately, something junky can *look* pretty good. Very good AAMOF. And that's what most consumers go by; they have zero knowledge of materials or construction.
As to particle board itself, there are worse things...MDF for one (IMO, YMMV). Still, both have their place. And both conserve both lumber and money.
When I had an office I had a number of modular cabinets. Scandinavian type. They were all walnut veneer over particle board, edged with solid wood. They looked great and were not cheap; on the expensive side, actually. They were well constructed and I would buy them again in a heart beat.
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wrote:

lot better in many many ways than the MDF, or "highly compressed paper" - and a whole lot lighter. If kept dry, MDF IS a bit more stable, dimensionally, than partical board - and perhaps is a little stronger/harder.
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On 11/8/13, 2:59 PM, dadiOH wrote:

I'm guessing they had glued, locking joints, not stapled butt joints. :-)
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On 11/8/2013 12:31 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

Don't get me started. This is the absolute very reason I started building the kitchens in the homes I build ten years ago.
Not a month goes by that I don't get a call from someone in my neighborhood, where the average home price is closer to $1M (a house I built and sold for $925k three years ago just went back on the market for $1.2M last week, and it will sell in a week) to repair kitchen and home office cabinets in million dollar homes that are less than ten to fifteen years old and built during the last boom that ended in 2008.
Big factors: built-in, instead of shop built cabinets; cheapest possible material; a work force/culture doing the work that really doesn't give a shit if the cabinets fall apart after they get paid; and builders who simply will not put money where it can't be seen.
In short, the price of a home has no bearing WHATSOEVER on the quality of workmanship of ANY aspect of construction, and hasn't for some time ... it is skin deep cosmetics and location ONLY.
It is what it is ...
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On Fri, 08 Nov 2013 16:24:46 -0600, Swingman wrote:

We moved into a new (old) house last year and it has an alcove in the basement family room that would be just right for a library (we have lots of books). I went looking and found some in the $100 to $250 range. They were all particle board or MDF. The only difference was the cheap ones were covered with a printed paper wood grain and the expensive ones were covered with very thin veneer. For about $150 each I can build some using hardwood plywood and solid wood face frames and shelf edges. OK, it'll be a fair amount of work (I need 7 of them) but at least I won't be ashamed to show the result.
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On Friday, November 8, 2013 4:24:46 PM UTC-6, Swingman wrote: .

That fits it to a "T" here as well. Extra emphasis on location.
And I hate to see some of the buyers get screwed these days, but most buyer s don't seem to know what to look for in a quality home these days. They a re like me with my truck; if something goes wrong with it, I don't know wha t to do. I can build a house, but I can't diagnose a sputter in my truck e ngine, or know how to fix it when it over-revs. One can't know everything.
Sadly, the location buyers spend many, many thousands more than they should for the product they get just to be in a certain area. If it makes them h appy, good for them. I like working on their houses when things go wrong. But I am sad for those that think they are buying a truly well built home.
Ironically, there are a couple of small tract home builders here that actua lly build a better home that some of the custom guys. All walls on 16" cen ters, blocking on all cabinets areas, blocking on all tub enclosures and to wel/toilet roll holders. They use over sized headers on openings, better g rade trims, better grade tiles, better grade cabinets, better paint, etc.
A few of the custom builders I have seen lately are slopping through their project any way they can and rely on excellent layout and decorating design work done with the latest fad of materials to carry the day. Strip away t he cosmetics and you don't have much at all.
Robert
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On 11/9/2013 12:43 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I think location might be a bigger over priced expense than a cheaply built kitchen. You know the areas, the house is about 4 times more expensive than a similar sized home located elsewhere. You could take those expensive homes, put $100,000.00 into the kitchens and they would still be 2~3 times more expensive and only better built in the kitchen.
Location, location, location!
There are 5~7 houses in Swingmans neighborhood that give you more quality for your money than the house next door and Swingman built all of those. :~)
Then there is Kalifornia where $500,000 might get you 1,000 SF in certain areas and those homes are dumps.
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Makes you wonder what else may be cheaped out in this $500,000 home. I'm guessing you won't be ready to offer your repair services as quick again at this home.
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FWIW I live in a new neighborhood where the homes reach half the price of the one you describe. A neighbor living in a home built by a different builder than mine was having problems with the kitchen drawers back breaking out. I repaired it for him but the back were attached with staples shot in line with the direction that the drawer traveled. There was no mystery as to what the problem was. Additionally the drawer bottoms seemed to be of less quality than MDF or particle board. They appeared to be just over 1/8" thick and made of some type reinforced card board.
I have added 6, half inch Baltic birch drawers under our kitchen island and replaced the 2 upper kitchen island drawers with the same. I'm hoping the rest of the cabinets will hold up.
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wrote:

I had heard how great IKEA was so we visited a store in Atlanta. What absolute junk. OK, I can understand termite vomit furniture; it's throw-away, but termite vomit and plastic kitchens? The stuff looked OK but 25 years? What's the average kitchen remodel? 30k? 50K? We just laughed. I did buy a butcher block slab for my shop, though.
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