Barker Cabinet - clear coat finish

pseudochefMarch 2, 2013

I just started looking at Barker Cabinets online and they look quite promising. Has anyone used their cabinets with the clear coat finish? We want stained cabinets as opposed to painted. I think it would be nice to have them prefinished at the factory with the heated finish but I'm wondering if the cabinets would look good with just the clear coat and not a stain. The cherry in particular looks promising as it's a darker wood. Has anyone done this? Any pictures? Any reviews of the Barker cabinets?

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I'll add that the Walnut with clear coat also looks really nice. Does anyone have pictures of that?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 11:35PM
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My memory stinks, so I can't remember the poster's name, but someone just ordered either the cherry or walnut in the clearcoat finish a week or two ago, and they promised to post as soon as they got their cabinets - should be about 2-3 more weeks before they post maybe? I'm trying to wait patiently... : )

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 11:41PM
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Here's a pic that has a walnut door - and another Barker kitchen from a GW'er that used a stain on-site.

There's actually quite a few of these threads floating around. You might want to do a google search using "Gardenweb Barker" as key words.

I just ordered sample doors and sample cabinet in both whites and clearcoat walnut from Barker a week or two ago. But, someone else on the thread KBSpider is talking about had ordered the walnut prior to me and they are en route.

Here is a link that might be useful: One of my Barker threads - this one with some pics

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 12:06AM
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I have a finished sample walnut door and it's beautiful and the finish is perfect. However DH doesn't care for the color of walnut so we ordered cherry. We took a bit of a leap of faith there because the cherry sample door we got was unfinished as we were considering finishing them ourselves. Decided against that and figured that since the finish is clear we'd still like it on the cherry.

We just talked to Chad on Friday, our cabs are due to ship on March 8 so by mid-month I'll hopefully be able to post pics at least of the unassembled doors.

Obviously, the jury is still out since we don't yet have the cabs but so far our journey with Barker has been wonderful. By the time we got the order done, DH was rolling his eyes.."Don't e-mail and ask him any more questions" but of course I did, and Chad always answers promptly and goes out of his way to give you good information, not just stock answers that don't really answer your question.

Fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:44AM
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I'm glad you posted, lucas_tx - you're the one Steph and I were thinking of, and my brain just wasn't working! Can't wait to see your cabinets! As we discussed before, it's hard going just by the finish pics on Barker's website and most of the customer pics are of painted cabinets.

Steph, I don't recall seeing prior GW threads with clearcoat Barker cabinets, just painted ones - but I'm off to search again!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 3:58PM
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Thanks everyone, please post pictures when you can. The cabinets almost seem too good to be true, am I missing something? You save money, support American businesses, get the all wood box and other upgrades standard...I guess the big drawback is the finishes. Or is there something else? I'm thinking if we went this route we would put the boxes together ourselves and either have the doors prefinished at Barker or send them out here to be stained and coated. Then we would hire someone to install them in the house. For those of you who have the cabinets did you install them yourself or pay someone else to do it? I'm pretty comfortable with the idea of putting the box together, but install is a bit out of our league.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 4:40PM
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Steph2000: I ordered sample doors in both whites as well. I'm anxious to see how they look. I ordered hard maple but Chad told me that they recommend the paint finish alder with mdf center panel. What did you get? I didn't really know what to get at the time I ordered the samples but I want to be sure when I order the doors :)


    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 9:22PM
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I got Barker cabinets for my ktchen in walnut. I think the quality is quite good. There are a couple of other RTA cabinet places that many on GW also speak very highly of, Scherr's and Cabinet Joint, if you want to check those out also.

I chose to go with Barker because the assembly seemed easier (just use screws for assembly versus having to use any glue). I also liked that I could see all the prices and order everything through their website. Chad Barker was super-responsive with questions.

I think the downside is that there are not a lot of options for trim pieces and end pieces. And you have to finish everything yourself if you do not just want the clear-coat finish or Sherwin williams white. I felt the downsides were outweighed by the significant cost savings.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 2:10PM
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Hm.... I got the paint grade alder with MDF panels, rkb21. I suppose I might regret that? I know alder is softer than maple. Bleh, I hope I didn't make a mistake in ordering the alder for the samples! If only we could get together in person and compare!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 11:13PM
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We just received our cherry cabinets with the clear coat from Barker last week and have been in the process of putting them together and installing them. To echo everyone else's comments Chad couldn't have been more helpful or patient with all my questions and concerns and he handled a slight flub on their part quickly and with no issue.

The doors are absolutely gorgeous, even the mother-in-law; who has extremely high standards, can't stop saying how nice they are.

Here are a couple of pictures I grabbed with the iphone while we were putting them up, once we are finished we will pull out the good camera and post some before and afters.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 10:44AM
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Sevngang thanks so much for the pictures. The cabinets look really nice. Could you take a few more pictures of the cabinets with the doors open so I could see what the insides look like? Also, on your second picture it looks like there is some type of panel on the right side of the cabinet. Is that a panel you purchased separately or is that a finished end that came with that cabinet? Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 1:25PM
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Sevngang what do you think of the drawer boxes? What type did you order? It says online they are unfinished. Will you be coating them with anything?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 1:32PM
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Svengang, thanks for posting! I've been set on getting the maple, but hmmm....

pseudochef, Svengang's cabinets have the clearcoat finish. Barker has options of unfinished, clearcoat finish, and two shades of white painted finish. They have pics on their site of unfinished vs. clearcoat finish, but it's always nice to see them in "real life"...

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 5:18PM
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They use conversion varnish, which is the best for protecting the wood. It's baked on and will stand up to cleaning better than a spray-on lacquer. You can't do this at home, so that's another advantage of having Barker apply the finish.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 5:27PM
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I have Barker Cabinets. I site finished mine - both the drawer/door fronts and the drawer boxes. I used polycrylic semi gloss (three coats) on the drawer boxes with a sanding between coats and an ultra fine sanding on the finish coat. I wouldn't want to use the drawerboxes without some sort of finish. It was the hardest part of the process (mainly because I am lazy and didn't particularly want to spend a lot of time on the inside of my drawers LOL)

The drawers are fabulous - sturdy and they glide like a dream - even full. The one drawer I was worried about (my spice/oil/vinegar pullout) is smooth as silk. By its very nature its not a solid design, but this drawer works flawlessly.

If you have any questions about the cabinets, email Chad. We also had a small glitch because of a screw up by the shipper and Chad is the one who stepped up and got it handled immediately and efficiently. Never once did he waste time blaming someone else - even though it wasn't his fault *at all* he owned it.

My construction is just finishing on Thursday and I'll be doing my initial post construction reveal Friday. I love my Barker Cabinets! I have one run of expensive Shiloh inset cabinets and there's no difference in quality between my Shiloh cabinets and Barker Cabinets to me.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 5:36PM
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Grlwprls thank you so much! And I'm so excited you can compare the Shiloh cabinets to the Barker. We've been quoted Shiloh by our contractor but the price is quite high and we wouldn't be able to get full extension/soft close etc so we could save money. If we did Barker cabinets we could do cherry with the clear coat and save several thousand dollars which would enable me to get a better granite or quartz countertop as opposed to prefab granite of which I have not been able to find anything I was very excited about. I'll be looking forward to seeing your pictures on Friday. I wonder how expensive it would be to hire someone to finish the drawer boxes for me. It sounds like you did a lot of work on those drawer boxes and I don't have that much spare time.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 6:18PM
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It is hard to get a good representation of what the insides look like with the lighting in my kitchen but here is what I was able to get with my iphone of the only cabinet left empty:

The inside is their standard maple finished plywood and the shelves and cabinet box are banded in whatever wood you get for the doors

The right side of the cabinet in the second picture is one of Barker's finished end pieces. They have them in the slab style that we bought as well as a style that looks like a cabinet door. On the left side of that cabinet is one of their filler strips and under it is their light valance.

If you are going to use their valance make sure you order too much, I ordered just enough and now have to wait for another piece to finish my last cabinet

like grlwprls said the drawers boxes are top notch. The dove tail is tight and sanded smooth and the blum glides are awesome. So easy to put in and I can't stop playing with the soft close. According to their site they just recently upgraded the drawer glides to blum's top of the line.
We got the standard baltic plywood drawer boxes. If you get the clear coat, like we did, they will come coated like the rest of the cabinet.

Definitely don't hesitate to email Chad, he is great, I must have sent him 30 emails over the last two months and he never seem to get annoyed.

KBSpider; we were going to do maple as well and that is the sample cabinet we ordered, but decided to go a bit darker. Definitely don't regret the decision.

This post was edited by sevngang on Tue, Mar 5, 13 at 20:47

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 6:47PM
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Any chance you kept that sample maple cabinet and could take a pic? If not, no worries! Once I get closer to decision time, I'll probably get at least sample doors anyway...

The cabinets look VERY nice BTW - you must be excited!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 9:43PM
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Here you go.
We ordered the sample unfinished because we were going to stain it, so the clear coated will be slightly more golden in color.

The great thing about the sample, besides showing off the quality of Barker's cabinets, is they are a full function cabinet complete with slow close hinges. We will be putting this one in the laundry as a little storage hutch.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 6:07AM
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Sevngang thanks for clearing up that the drawer boxes are actually finished with a clear coat if you get the clear coat finish. That makes a big difference to me. And how cute is that little tiny cabinet!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 4:08PM
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Thanks for posting the sample maple cabinet, sevngang!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 9:15PM
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Our Barker cabinets just arrived and they are fabulous. I am getting ready to finish them but you can ask them to varnish the drawers which saves a big step. The wood is beautiful and construction is flawless.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 6:56AM
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