Blue Man Blog

What is Custom Cabinetry?

Posted on June 29, 2013

Drexel - Norcraft Terrance

Drexel - Norcraft Terrance

What does Custom Really Mean...

Custom and quality are both the two most mis-used and mis-understood words in the world of cabinetry.

Let's all agree that ALL cabinetry is made by hand and therefore could be considered custom, even cabinets constructed on massive production lines. It's “custom built” to the customers requirements.

The term “box” or “semi-custom” cabinetry was coined when manufactures developed assembly lines and product catalogs in order to lower costs and reduce lead times. The infamous 3” increments were required to establish build-able and price-able sizing for mass markets and dealers. This is how the average consumer could afford “custom built” cabinetry without the large price associated with slower methods. As computer aided manufacturing continues to develop, the 3” increment is becoming less important and modifications are acceptable.

There really is no difference between a 36” and a 36.75” cabinet in quality other than it jumps from being standard in the industry to “custom”.   The quality of a cabinet comes from the material used, the assembly, the finish, and the labor.

To put this in another perspective, let's think about the auto industry. The first steam car was built in 1769. By 1900, gas powered cars were built by thousands of small “hand-made/custom” car companies throughout the world. (Just like cabinet shops today) A fine hand-made custom car, built for the uber rich in 1900 could cost $30,000.00 or over 100 thousand dollars today. Then Henry came along and invented the assembly line. Instantly a car cost only $300.00. This is the exact same economic strategy that we are using today. The Model T was not junk, it just had fewer options.

Options:  Different production methods, different qualities available to consumers - it allows customers to have choices - A Great Thing!

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