Am I'm being fleeced?

athomesewingMarch 29, 2014

With custom cabinets, when all else is equal, which costs more?

Raised-Panel, Solid Wood


Modified Shaker, Veener Panel

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ALL else being equal, that means both with 5 piece drawer fronts and both using the SAME specie of wood, then the raised panel should cost more based on both materials and labor. It's more labor to route panels and fit them into a door than to fit a flat veneer panel into a door.

That said, shaker cabinets are the bees knees right now, so supply and DEMAND rule the market. Same with painted cabinet finishes, so MDF cabinets are costing in some cases MORE than hardwood cabinets.

Insane, if you ask me.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 3:43PM
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I heard the same thing about shaker costing more (demand) by SOME cabinet makers. Others just laughed at that notion. And in my case the ones who charged more for the shaker style were not REAL custom shops, they were glorified semi-custom.

The REAL custom shop I ended up going with is the kind where they make the cabinets right there on the premises and your cabinets are made a couple of weeks before the install date. I was making changes right up to the last minute. I wish I had a nickel for every time I said 'thank goodness' that we didn't go with the shops that had you order 6 to 12 weeks in advance. Yikes, our kitchen wouldn't look anything like it does now.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 5:38PM
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Sophie Wheeler

''Modified'' shaker is the key. Modified how? A mitered door instead of stick and cope? Applied molding? Glazed finish?

You need to show the doors in question.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 5:46PM
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Thanks for your replies....

Dealing with a total custom cabinet shop.


Routering the inside edge of the stiles and rails with a simple a 3/8" detail. (I believe technically this would be a recessed panel door rather than shaker) If it matters, the "modifed shaker" design had stiles and rails that are wide, at 3"

Both types, the raised panel and modified shaker, were stick and cope. Also, both designs have all slab drawer fronts, except the lowest drawer in each bank is 5-piece.

Thanks for your thoughts.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 6:04PM
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I'm a custom cabinet maker. You can search "rightwise" on if you need to validate my expertise.

Like many shops, we outsource our doors to a "door supplier" for larger projects. As a general rule, (in the same wood species) raised panel doors will cost more than a flat panel door. options like odd sizes rails and stiles and applied molding will increase the price.

It sounds like your "modified shaker" is a cope and stick door with a basic inside profile and a 1/4" venered panel. One of my suppliers would up charge for the 3" stock, another would not. Even with the up charge, the price would still be below a raised panel option.

The only possibility I could envision for an increase going to the flat panel door is that the inside profile is "non standard". I've seen some factory cabinet doors with profiles only on the rails (with square stiles), that would require most shops to purchase new tooling to provide that door. Please post a pic and I may be able to tell if it's a standard profile.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 3:38PM
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Your work displayed at Houzz is gorgeous!

I thought I was doing some relatively simple cabinets. Here is a photo of a corner of the door detail. Their doors are made in house, this example is from their display.

Moving from solid wood, raised panel doors, to this design which is 3-3/8â stiles and rails (including the 3/8â routered inner edge) along with a 1/4-inch veneer panel.

They quoted apx. 25% more.

No stain for either quote, just conversion varnish.

I'm feeling like they just don't like us... ):

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 12:46AM
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If you are already having bad feelings, run! Run fast! It will only get worse and you will be stressed and unhappy the whole time. Life is too short for that! And there are lots of other cabinet makers/companies that need work and are happy to treat you with respect.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 3:22PM
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Could it be that their door supplier charges more for the door you really want ???

I'll bet it is, and that cost is passed on to you.

It's not that they are fleecing you, or surcharging you for the latest fad. It's most likely the door you want just costs more in THEIR supply chain. Which, is all that matters in your project.

What if I told my supplier is 31.6% cheaper for that exact same door ? You'd jump right ?????

Except my carcasses, drawers, and shelving systems are waaaaaay more costly than his, and I'm not local to you so you'll have to bear the shipping costs of getting access to MY supply chain !

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 8:20PM
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They make the doors right in their shop.

I did the math today. My cabinets are not remarkable -- few extras at all -- but it seems that the price is (at least to me).

Averaged, the cost PER each cabinet is $1268 (installed).

I'm tired in this process, but doesn't that seem high?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 12:36AM
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wow, over $1000 per cab? that seems off to me. my kitchen has 19 cabs/ drawers and was $8000 total but they don't plywood sides. after doing much research on this site and elsewhere, i decided that i was fine without them and it helped keep my budget lower. why don't you get some more quotes and compare.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 1:26AM
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Go with your gut and get more quotes. No way would I pay that much for a cabinet but ymmv, as it seems to on GW.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 1:38AM
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Not sure anyone can comment on what you are paying based on average price of cabinet...there is so much more that goes into the pricing

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:31AM
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For a good mid grade line , or even custom, with extras, like door finished sides, matching interior, some glass, and other upgrades, no, that's not a crazy price at all. I've done plenty of kitchens in that price range. The important thing isn't so much the average price per cabinet, but what you get for that price.

And the finishing. A custom shop's greatest variable is their finish quality. Lots of woodworkers out there that can do decent work. But, a true finish craftsman is hard to find.

In a shop, the finishing costs almost as much as the construction of the cabinets, if it's done well, with the proper prep stages, and the proper equipment. The finish quality makes or breaks "custom". It's where the consistency and durability of a factory brand can make a big difference to many people in a quote. No shop brand will be KCMA certified, and most wouldn't even pass the tests.

Here is a link that might be useful: KCMA Testing

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:44AM
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LWO I am curious how you come to this conclusion?

"No shop brand will be KCMA certified, and most wouldn't even pass the tests"

I have purchased many cabinets from both local shops and the large manufacturers and have had good and bad experience with both in terms of finish quality at certain times.

I don't think anyone can make a blanket statement like that, it is really not fair to the local shops that their finish is across the board not as good as a factory brand...that is my two cents anyhow

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 11:55AM
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