Video: Quality Cabinetry – My “Dime Test”

What can a dime teach you about quality cabinetry? I’m Nathan Harrison on site for Let me show you.

This is part of a series I’m doing called Cabinet Quality Indicators. And the premise of it is simply that it is very difficult for an ordinary person to tell the difference between a quality cabinet and a cheap cabinet. They all look pretty when you walk into a showroom. So, I’m intending to isolate some things that really are indicators of a quality cabinet that you can look for to know you’re on to something good.

In this case, I’m observing that there is a very strong correlation (although possible not in all cases but certainly in my experience) between the flushness of surfaces that get human contact. I’ll explain in a moment what I mean. There is a strong correlation between how close to flush certain surfaces as a cabinet is built and how high quality the cabinet is from other perspectives.

Here (see video) is where the floor of the cabinet meets the face frame. We’re looking at an inferior quality cabinet. It’s not terrible, but it’s not in the top half. I’ve set a mechanical pencil on the floor of this cabinet, and you can see that the point of the pencil is not higher than the face frame. So, it’s clear that there is 1/4 inch or more difference between the top of this face frame and the floor of the cabinet.

This is important from an aesthetic point of view. It is just more pleasing to have these 2 surfaces be very close to the same level so that there is not a bumper if you’re trying to slide something out of a cabinet.

But it’s even more important, I believe, from a quality point of view because time and time again as I’ve worked with many different manufactured cabinet lines, I’ve noticed that the higher the quality of the cabinet, the closer these 2 surfaces are to being flush.

Some people get them completely flush. It’s difficult from a shop perspective because you have to have a very high level of precision when you are building it.

But that same high level of precision and exactness will also go into the rest of the structure and should result in a high quality product.

Check this out (see video.) Here we’re looking at the very same location of a different cabinet line – a line I know to be extremely well-made and I’d love to have them in my home. I’ve got a dime sitting right at that point of the edge of the floor of the cabinet where the floor meets the face frame.

You can see these surfaces are very close to flush. A dime is about 1/16 of an inch thick. So this a about 1/64 inch difference between the 2 surfaces. Pretty impressive.