Have you ever asked a friend after a remodel or new project, "Hey, where did you get your kitchen cabinets?"  The friend replies with a hint of arrogance, "We went with custom cabinets." Custom cabinets sound expensive and good don't they?

By definition most of the cabinetry sold in the United States is custom made for each buyer.  Custom made cabinetry is made by companies of all sizes with buildings ranging from small shops to large manufacturing facilities.  Shop size in itself does not indicate a level of quality or ability to personalize to great detail.  Quality and personalization reach their highest levels in companies that have the financial resources to acquire the finest wood-working equipment coupled with a work force that has a significant percentage of the work force experienced in creating furniture grade cabinetry.

Those companies also purchase their raw hardwood from select mills that will provide them hardwood graded above industry standards vs. “off the shelf” lumber purchases from a distributor.  From there, frames and panels are made internally rather than out-sourced to random suppliers.  Upon build completion of the cabinet components, the parts are moved into a highly regulated finishing area.  Applications of high solids industrial finishes are then applied that fulfill each customer’s paint or stain selection.  Finally, hinges and drawer glides complementing the quality built into the wood components are installed.

Because of consumers’ varying preferences in personalization and budgets, Freeborn Lumber has developed long term relationships with custom cabinet suppliers that can meet and / or exceed the desires of their customers.  This allows each client to invest in cabinetry that reflects their needs and desires.

  • Price is all relative to what options are chosen.  Before rushing to the total amount of the estimate and making your decision solely on price, stop and think why is this so cheap or why is it expensive.  Ask the dealer. Some dealers will price to get the job and surprise you later with extras, others will price actual options that will be used with your job.  Think about comparing these estimates side by side and how easily a person can be led astray by price alone.  Here are just some of the factors determining price: hardware, door style, drawer boxes, the actual cabinet box, wood species, grade of wood.
  • Finish is everything!  If there is a place where a cabinet manufacturer leaves a custom shop in the dust it's in the finish.  The best comparison is using a spray can to paint your car versus going to an auto body shop.  Lacquer is primarily used in custom shops.  A catalyzing finish is used by cabinet manufacturers.  Lacquer cures by air, a catalyzed finish cures by chemical reaction and heat.  Catalyzed finishes are applied in technologically controlled environment, while lacquer is applied in a spray booth.  A catalyzed finish is your automotive finish and lacquer is the spray can from the hardware store.
  • Hardware: A great place to get caught when choosing the low bid.  Hardware can vary from a $5 set of drawer glides to a $50 set.  The $5 set is no different than what comes with the DIY furniture from any box store.  Imagine paying top dollar for Rustic Cherry cabinets, only to find the drawers and doors were fitted with cheap hardware to beat out another competitor. Beautiful cabinets that operate like a 9th grade shop project.  It Happens!!
  • Little things  Look at the drawer boxes, are they dovetailed hardwood or white particle board screwed together? It is another corner that is easy to cut and that means less money.   
  • Time frame:  What is the time frame?  Being without a kitchen especially when remodeling is crippling