Scrap Wood Back of Face Frame Drawer

happsAugust 11, 2013

How often do you see "scrap wood" being used for the piece of wood that goes on the back of the drawer face frame? I am still puzzled at why what I consider to be scrap wood, even though the factory rep stated it's natural maple with wood grain variations are used for the back of the face frame to where the color doesn't match the other three sides of the cabinet. I have since seen Aristokraft, Kraftmaid and generic Chinese cabinets, and all the sides of the drawers match perfectly in color and the piece of wood on the back of the face frame has a nice coating and color to match the other sides and even the back. Why Cardell would do this perfectly on my bathroom cabinet drawers, but not my kitchen cabinet drawers is still a mystery to me. I wonder if the CEO and VP are aware of this? It's embarrassing to see lower priced cabinets have the piece of wood on the back of the drawer face frame look beautiful and match the other sides and back.

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I am not quite sure what you are referring to. Do you have a photo?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 5:18PM
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The two smaller cabinets are the bathroom ones which are perfect. The others don't match the rest of the cabinet sides.

I'll post a picture of the back of the face frames on my friend's Aristokraft cabinets which are all uniform, soon.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 12:43AM
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Drawer and face frame are two different componants. Are you talking about the back piece of the drawer box?

Sorry. Even the pics are confusing.
Are you referring to the front piece of the drawer box behind the drawer front?

Cabinet sides? "Cabinet" refers to the "carcass" of the whole thing.

I'm thinking it's not scrap, just another piece of wood. Tell me how this is a deal breaker, or a life changing disappointment? I just went into the kitchen to get a spoon and took note of how I looked at my drawer. I didn't. I looked at the contents. If it were painted a funny color, or broken in some way, I might. But...

IMHO, which doesn't matter to you and how you view your drawers, I think those boxes in your pictures look very nice. You haven't shown the cabinet for comparison.

I am thinking, though, if you could check your terminology and try to run with standard cabinet part descriptions, your question could be answered more accurately.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:25AM
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I'm interpreting this as the color of the front of the drawer box. The smaller drawers are the comparison.

I just looked at my Kraftmaid drawers and they all have the same "issue" to varying degrees. The front of the boxes are stained, though not a perfect match to the cabinet faces. I have two theories which are nothing more than guesses:

1) When the drawers are closed, there's a small reveal from the side view between the drawer face and the cabinet face frame where the natural maple "could" show through. Darkening the front piece avoids that, and it's not a perfect match because the boxes aren't custom made for your order.

2) The light stain appears darker on the end grain and emphasizes the dovetail joinery which people like to think of as a sign of quality construction.

Don't let this bother you. As CEF suggests, once you have stuff in the drawers that's where your eye will go. None of your pictures look "bad."

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:03AM
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The OP is talking about wood with sap streaks, mineral streaks, and small knots being used for drawer box material. Wood that is perfectly structurally sound, but that isn't exposed door or drawer front material. She wants cabinet grade wood used for the drawer boxes. Which would be an expensive custom upgrade.

Sorry, but there is nothing wrong with using that wood in a drawer box. As long as it's structurally sound, it's a perfectly acceptable choice.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:18AM
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Yes, but it would likely not be an issue to her if they used the same material and finish on the front as they did on the sides and back. It's a deliberate manufacturing process, whether for the reasons I stated or others. Every drawer box front I have looks this way, but not the other three sides.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:27AM
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Can you label those pictures so we can tell what's what?

I would expect a drawer box to be made of structurally sound wood, but I wouldn't expect the sort of matching that the visible parts have. Having the drawer box front stained to match the front panel is a nice touch, not a flaw.

What I see looks like maple or birch with a clear finish for the drawer sides and a stained piece for the front of the box. That would tend to make the drawer's box less visible of the the drawer were a tiny bit open.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 11:58AM
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Here is a picture of my friend's Aristokraft cabinets. Notice how the piece that attaches to the back of the face frame is smooth, beautiful looking wood that matches in color to the other sides of the drawers.

On these Aristokraft cabinets, the bottom drawer piece is another color and feels like cheaper quality material than the rest of the sides of the drawer but it's not noticeable because the drawers are filled with contents. However, the piece that attaches to the back of the face frame with the screws in it is always visible, each time the drawer is opened and it's important to me and future buyers of the house that it looks nice, especially after spending $7000.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 4:36PM
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What did they say about this when they fixed the other cabinet issues you had?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 4:48PM
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Your friend's cabinets are a much lighter, natural tone which negates the need for what I described in my first theory and what lazygardens was getting at. I can be picky, too, but in all honesty I don't think there's an issue here at all.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 4:53PM
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Sophie Wheeler

If it were 70K worth of cabinets, you might have correct expectations. That's the level where things get sorted for the interior to be as pretty as the exterior. But, for 7K, you get serviceable interiors, and that's all you can expect. They don't sort for pretty for the inside stuff on low cost cabinets. That would drive the price up. They just sort for structurally sound. If it doesn't have large knots falling out, it's structurally sound.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 6:15PM
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Drawers do not have face frames.

I'm gathering you are talking about the drawer BOX and the panel of the BOX that faces out, to which one would attach a drawer front.

Holly Springs is right. Plus, your pics look like nice drawer boxes.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:06AM
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The Cardell catalog shows a nice piece of smooth wood with a matching color on the top piece for the piece of wood that attaches to the back of the drawer box. What I got doesn't match. Yes, it does bother me because I will have to look at it everyday for the next 10 years. My neighbor's Kraftmaid look like my Aristokraft and not like the Kraftmaid in the picture. If I were to go to a Cardell dealer's showroom, I bet they would have pieces of wood for the back of the drawer box that would match the rest of the sides of the box.

I as a consumer do not know terminology. So if I were to email the president and customer service of Cardell to explain my disappointment and ask their policy regarding this piece of wood and why my bathroom cabinets from Cardell are beautiful whereas my kitchen ones aren't, even though they have the name of the same inspector stamped on them, how should I describe this piece that we have been talking about in this thread?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 7:50PM
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They do look bad, regardless of what you paid. Are you talking about only 6 or 7 small drawers? I can't believe they wouldn't just replace that little bit of wood in the interest of customer service.

I know a lot of people post their complaints on the Kraftmaid page on Facebook and customer service jumps to take care of them. They don't want that sitting unresolved on their FB page. Try posting your photos on Cardell's page. Or call the factory in Texas directly. Don't let this bother you for the next 10 years.

This post was edited by may_flowers on Wed, Aug 14, 13 at 20:37

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 8:35PM
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You would call it the front panel of the drawer BOX.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:47PM
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Bad news for me on the likelihood of getting a straight answer from the company or drawer box fronts that match in color to the rest of the sides of the drawer after reading this big news from San Antonio.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 3:37PM
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I called another showroom today and the person working there told me his Cardell cabinets in the showroom had all the drawer box sides matching and that it's clearly odd why mine aren't matching. I'm not buying the fact that there are variations when my bathroom ones are perfect. The factory rep and dealer claim there are variations. That's not what was promoted or advertised. At this point I am frustrated and confused on what to do because I have not received a response from the company about this issue. The factory rep ordered replacement drawer boxes that had rough fronts but now if the replacement ones are also rough and have crap pieces of wood, how am I going to get a replacement? I don't know whether to keep emailing Cardell or file a claim with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors or get another dealer or independent people in the industry to write a statement that the color not matching is a defect.

If the replacement drawers that the factory rep ordered are bad, what recovery do I have? Do I have any warranty on the cabinets? if the company doesn't respond to my requests and the dealer doesn't agree with my on the color variations of the drawer box fronts, how should I pursue this case?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 1:27AM
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Help with terminology:

There is a drawer box. It has 2 sides, a front, back, and bottom.

Then there is an applied (sometimes called false) drawer front.

What you seem to be saying is that the front of the drawer box is finished to match the applied front, rather than the rest of the drawer box. Correct?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 3:09AM
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With the company out of business, you're not going to get any manufacturer's resolution to your cosmetic complaints. No one's making drawer boxes, or paying the reps, or doing anything other than throwing employees off the property who showed up to work. Defunct is defunct. Just be glad that you don't have any structural issues. There's probably plenty of people much worse off as in they were waiting on defective cabinets to be replaced and now they'll never get them.

So, what's left unresolved?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 7:59AM
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Clarion: The front of the drawer box does not match the other two sides, back and bottom (which are all uniform and identical). Please see pictures here. On a lot of them it looks like scarp pieces of wood and not what I saw a picture of in the catalog.

GreenDesigns: The factory rep replaced ordered some new drawers where he thought the front drawer box part was rough. To him, rough feeling and chewed looking qualified for replacement not a different color. They are in transit. He also ordered a replacement door because the first one wasn't cut right. When the drawers arrive, I am hoping that the boxes are at least smooth and not chewed looking and that the door is cut right. If not, then I don't know what to do since Cardell is closed and the dealer can't get replacement parts. I will then have a valid claim, but I wouldn't know what agency to pursue it with. I contend I have a valid claim even just with the drawer box front colors being off, since my bathroom one is perfect, but the factory rep and dealer don't take my side and Cardell hasn't replied to my email. The only way that issue will get resolved in my opinion is to get a panel of "expert witnesses" to look at it or video myself going into a competitor's Cardell showroom and filming beautiful matching drawer boxes and then forwarding it to the Registrar of Contractors.

I am a reasonable person and a lot of my persistence is based on frustration and feeling like I didn't get what was advertised. If the bad drawer box was the rear one, I would be less upset, but everyday I will be opening these drawers and will have to look at a mismatching color.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 12:13PM
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I am really surprised that you are making such a fuss about something that is really looks to be very minor from your photos. It doesn't affect the structural integrity of the drawer and isn't something that is out for all to see. I bet the majority of people would not even notice that issue, if they were to use that bathroom.

Since you likely are not going to get resolution from that company, and if it really bothers you that much, then find some other company that can build you some drawer boxes to replace those with. Sure it will cost you some extra money, but if it really bothers you that much, then it is money well spent.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 1:10PM
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Though, you could always pull off the drawer fronts from those drawers and mount them to the back end of the drawer box and flip the drawer glides around. Then you will be less likely to even see that issue, since the front will now be the back of the drawer box.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 1:13PM
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Rather than spend time and money and emotional expense on fighting to get recourse from a closed company that probably left workers' salaries unpaid, why don't you get some matching edge banding and cover the areas that bother you. It wouldn't take much effort. You would be very low on the list of financial priority of that bankruptcy court.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 1:16PM
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Sources cite the economy and mounting debts for the closure. Cardell Cabinetry had debts of $45 million and had been put in receivership late last month. According to Spector, the appointed receiver, "the company owed its unsecured creditors more than $15 million and its lenders in excess of $30 million, and it did not have sufficient liquidity to manufacture products to meet outstanding orders.

You're not going to get anything from Cardell, so i'd respectfully suggest that you find another solution. Even if you had a panel of expert witnesses who agree with you, Cardell can neither produce new drawer boxes for you, nor do they have any money to pay your 'claim' (in addition to the fact, stated above, that you would be way down the totem pole in terms of creditor priority).

Years ago, friends ordered a custom sofa. Between the time they paid the substantial deposit and the delivery, the company went bankrupt, with their deposit. They never saw a dime. Time to order a new sofa from someone else and chalk it up to "stuff happens" (annoying as hell when it does, but that doesn't stop it from happening).

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 1:53PM
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scrappy25 has the best solution - get some edge banding. Most people don't worry about what the inside edges of drawers look like. You're way over-obsessing about this. The company is out of business but you at least got structurally sound cabinets that look fine on the outside. Move on.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 2:25PM
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We also lost money to a builder who declared bankruptcy after we placed a hold on a lot in a neighborhood. We were thankful that we had not yet put the 10% down to start construction and that we had not actually had the house completed. There were many others who lost their entire downpayment (30k+) or had moved into their house and had unpaid subcontractors putting liens on the house left & right. We always say it was the best $1,000 we ever lost.

In regards to the drawers, I agree they do not match. And they do not look as good as the bathroom drawers you received or as good as foodonastump's Kraftmaid drawers.

However, they really do not look that bad. It is likely a thing that you will not notice or think about after a little bit of time has passed. (I know from experience with our new build 2 years ago!) The idea to flip the drawer boxes around is also a good idea. But honestly, I would not even go to that much trouble.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 2:47PM
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Where can I buy "edge banding" that will match the color of the rest of the drawer box sides?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 4:45AM
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I thought you said new drawers are in transit?

What happened with your peeling finish? That's where I'd be focusing my efforts and frustration.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 10:57AM
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Yes they are, but just in case they are also in bad shape due to poor inspectors/quality control and since the company is out of business and there will be no more replacements, I just want to plan ahead.

The factory rep came out and authorized a new upper cabinet for the one that had a peeling finish. He had no explanation for the peeling. When it was time to put it in, the installer looked at the peeling and said something to the effect of wishing he would have noticed it on the day of install and that it's a part of the covering/coating that didn't get spray painted at the factory. He took some instrument that looked like a razor bade to shave it off and then used touch up pens to blend in the color. So ultimately, that saved me and the dealer extra time, labor and frustration of removing the old cabinet, the vent hood, etc and reinstalling. It looks fine with me.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Here are better pictures which illustrate my complaint with the drawer box fronts. Why are the ones in the kitchen so different that the ones in the bathroom? Both from the same company, Cardell with the same inspector's name stamped on them. Where can I buy edge banding and who could install it?

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 5:15PM
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Here is an search on the Rockler site for edge banding but any woodworking store should have it.

You can easily diy it. There are lots of tutorials on youtube. You may have to unscrew off the door front to apply it. However it will only cover the edge of the wood so if the flat side on the inside of the drawer bothers you it will not help that.

Most edgebanding comes unfiinished so you will probably want a small container of rub on gel varnish to seal it afterwards and have the same texture as your drawer sides.

It wouldn't be something that would be worth doing to me but easier than the other options if it really bothers you.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 1:33PM
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