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Forum topic by rhett posted 09-14-2009 10:42 PM 2630 views 0 times favorited 48 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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742 posts in 3631 days

09-14-2009 10:42 PM

I don’t mean to start any fights or make anyone upset, but if you are a PT/hobby woodworker who tries to make extra money, building things on the side, please take heed. If you don’t have a firm grasp of what you are doing, you do not have the right to take peoples money for services rendered. Yes, its great to make money doing what you love, but the customer should not be your “school of woodworking”. The reason I am ranting a bit is due to the built-in I am fixing for a client. Here are a few pointers to the neighborhood woodworker who built this POS.
If you cannot make a square door opening, you should not build inset door cabinets.
If you think exterior grade plywood is suitable for cabinets, you should not be building cabinets.
If you are unaware of the weight and lack of screw holding ability of MDF, you should not use MDF for doors. If you think that a 1”x1” brass hinge is the proper hardware for 15”x24” MDF doors, well then you are just an idiot.
As my old mentor used to tell me “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

48 replies so far

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3850 days

#1 posted 09-14-2009 10:47 PM

Good post!!!! Thanks!!

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3786 days

#2 posted 09-14-2009 11:07 PM

Rhett, I agree with everything that you have said. To tell the truth from your description I am not sure this piece can be saved. It really sounds like something similar to what is always shown on the show Holmes on Homes where you are looking at a complete tear-out and rebuild of the built-in and your client is going to have to pay for it twice.

That is tough.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1305 posts in 3737 days

#3 posted 09-14-2009 11:36 PM


-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View Ryan Brown's profile

Ryan Brown

72 posts in 3154 days

#4 posted 09-15-2009 12:23 AM

By the sound of it, the original installer was probably just a general contractor/framer. I feel bad for the homeowner! Of course they should have asked for photos and references for past projects. I can’t imagine doing poor work like that for even someone I don’t like!

I for one would love to see some before and after photos!

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem. Roanoke, VA

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3554 days

#5 posted 09-15-2009 01:51 AM

for the record I’ve seen “pros” do work as bad. I’ve seen hobbiests blow the pros out of the water. It all depends really. The homeowners get what they pay for.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3522 days

#6 posted 09-15-2009 02:00 AM

DIDO…...DIDO…....DIDO. I have to totally agree with this post.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Innovator's profile


3584 posts in 3378 days

#7 posted 09-15-2009 02:09 AM

Just another horror story out there.


-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View a1Jim's profile


117062 posts in 3541 days

#8 posted 09-15-2009 03:03 AM

It sucks repairing other peoples mistakes

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3491 days

#9 posted 09-15-2009 04:26 AM

Even pros have difficult days. Novices have to start somewhere and home owners have to beware of who they are dealing with. ...but, When I worked as a handyman fixing everything you could imagine, I thanked all the poor workers before me for doing poor work because their poor work gave me a job. I will gladly still do this sort of work that I am physically able to and still thank those that messed it up before me. With that said, yes, everyone should be as near perfect as they can be with what they do…

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18246 posts in 3640 days

#10 posted 09-15-2009 07:06 AM

As long as “cheapest is best” in most people’s minds, this will be a problem. I could go on about electricial work too. I have seen some that borders on arson!! :-(( At least shoddy cabinets won’t kill someone unless the whole thing falls on their head!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View KnickKnack's profile


1088 posts in 3531 days

#11 posted 09-15-2009 02:11 PM

“If you think exterior grade plywood is suitable for cabinets, you should not be building cabinets.”

Please forgive my ignorance – I’ve not yet made a cabinet, but some are on the list.
Aside from the potential look of the stuff, what’s fundamentally wrong with exterior grade plywood? It would be OK for an “invisible” back? Drawer bottoms?

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3490 days

#12 posted 09-15-2009 02:25 PM

Rhett, it sounds like whoever built the bookcase watches too much diy network. Many of those shows make sub par furniture and pass it off as great stuff while making sure to not show any close ups of the finished work.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3858 days

#13 posted 09-15-2009 02:29 PM

Experience is the greatest teacher ever

It gives the test first and the lesson later

I just fixed (removed) a huge deck for one of my brothers. The posts (concrete) were only 3’ into the ground and the frost goes down 5’ causing the deck to heav, almost taking the house walls with it. Parts were canti-levered but nothing holding the deck down by the folcrum…................and the guy who did is a busy contractor (deck was built prior to brother buying the house).........even the unistone around the pool had to be ripped up…..............a freaking nightmare…..............

A lot of kitchen cabinet companies (pros) make crap. Just look at the line up at IKEA, or Wal-Mart. At costco I saw a black lacquered vanity wioth granite counter, undermount sink and taps for 600 bucks and it looked “Pro”............I cant even buy the granite for 600…..............makes me think that the “wannabe woodworker” is the least of your worries?

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3631 days

#14 posted 09-15-2009 04:22 PM

kolwdwkr: I too have seen “hobby” woodworkers that are masters of the craft. Being a professional is not a title substitute for being a craftsman. Ofcourse if you have unlimited time restraints and find solice in the craft, everything you make can be a masterpiece.
knickknack: You can build cabinets out of anything you like, if that is your price point, so be it. It is a matter of quality. Personally I don’t want any unsander mystery wood plywood in my cabinets. I’m not sheathing a house.
roman: There is no competing with slave labor and I never worry about weekend warriors.

Woodworking is like anything else, the more you do it, the better and more efficient you become. Heck, if someone actually invests the time necessary to become proficent, I would be more surprised if they weren’t good at what they do. I just get irked when people claim skills and abilities they have yet to aquire, and then expect people to spend their hard earned money on it. I have infinate knowledge still to learn and I also know my limits. If someone wanted to commision me to build some of the cabinets I have seen Les make, I am smart enough to tell them no thanks. Yes, you can only learn new skills by doing new skills, but you can’t charge people for work you cannot do. Just because you have an expensive table saw and can impress your wife and family with your woodwork. That is no indication that you should be a professional.

If it costs you money its a hobby, if it pays the bills then its a profession.

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3428 days

#15 posted 09-15-2009 05:31 PM

I agree rhett. You make a great point about charging for what should be a learning hobby. BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

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