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Ready made file cabinets vs. custom?

Posted by Texasgal47 (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 14, 12 at 17:32

I have purchased a small 1500 sq. ft. patio home where every inch count is important. My project is adding white painted cabinets to a tiny bedroom/home office. The headboard of my double (platform) bed is already centered on a wall. There is just enough room to install a 24"w x 42"h wall cabinet on either side of the bed. A bridge will connect the two cabinets above the bed, and crown molding will span the entire width. I plan to have this portion custom made by a RTA company or a local carpenter. My problem is the bids for the two mobile file cabinets (one beneath each wall cabinet) are coming in higher than I would like ($550 - $600 each). My research shows that Broyhill makes a birch veneered, cherry stained file cabinet in the dimensions I need (Mission Nuevo line). Walmart sells this cabinet for $111 and reviews on all websites are favorable regarding performance and quality. To use this cabinet the following would have to be changed:
1. paint to match the upper cabinets. Can these file cabinets be spray painted with a catalyzed conversion varnish, as the uppers will, and come out looking like a match?
2. cut off the legs to be flush with the bottom of the cabinet so I can attach a file caddy with wheels to the bottom of each cabinet.
3. prevent tipping, with the file drawer extended, by attaching an anti-tipping device to the cabinet or use some type of hardware to lock the cabinet to the wall
4. have a utility drawer made for the open space which currently exists above the file drawer.
5. perhaps replace the file drawer hardware with full-extension.

Would I be crazy to ask a carpenter to deal with these modifications, trying to stay within my available funds? Are these changes a reasonable consideration? I would hand over the parts, unassembled. Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated. I should add that the carpenter will also paint and modify 6 free standing wall units I already own in my living area, and build two new units for it, so this will not be his only job for me.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Ready made file cabinets vs. custom?

do not spend any money on a file cabinet that does not have full-extension slides. What a pain in the patootie!

I think all the stuff you're asking is a lot, and it might cost that much by the time you're done.

Especially the paint job. And I'm not sure that I'd be willing to modify that particular cabinet--I know he's already modifying existing units, so maybe he's braver than I. But I'd worry more w/ a store-bought finish.

Have you asked him why the cabinets are THAT expensive? And asked him to come down in price?

You might look into using those cabinets in some way that doesn't require as much modification of them.


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RE: Ready made file cabinets vs. custom?

talley sue, thank you for taking the time to respond. I agree with your recommendation to go custom now that I have had time to reflect further. Your thoughts confirm my concerns. I already own a small steel file cabinet that doesn't have full extension glides, and it is a PIA. The $600 per file cabinet quote came from an online store that retails Conestoga cabinets. That price is unassembled but the parts would have a factory paint finish. I think that the quote is high due to my request for a completely custom piece. My next step is to check with several local carpenters. Any other options for custom?


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RE: Ready made file cabinets vs. custom?

You might ask your carpenter what it would take to make them less expensively. You've got a lot of functionality (mobile, full extension, lovely looking, etc.). That will have its price.

If you have a carpenter, is there a reason he's not making them? What would he charge?

And you might consider a place like CabParts.com--they're wholesale only and sell to businesses, but your carpenter might qualify.

Or there's a company that sells ready-to-assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets (Scherr's) that's very popular over on the Kitchens forum--ask around there. They were pretty cheap.

And definitely check out a local cabinet maker! In some areas, those guys don't have as much work as they once did, and they may be able to come through for less.

Here is a link that might be useful: review of Scherr's and CabParts.com


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