Irvine White Shaker (BOC): Painted drawer box, thick door finish but warped panels
From Best Online Cabinets today we have on our docket the Irvine White Shaker. After some questionable kinks and quirks, the unit appears to be a clear choice. But in order to get to the end product, we have to work through the obstacles the Irvine presents to us along the course of its assembly.
As you can see in the picture above, the issues with the Irvine present themselves only over the course of assembly. But, best Online Cabinets did deliver the unit within the allotted time advertised on their website. So without further ado, we present to your our review of the Irvine White Shaker…
Wood and Finish
Door, Cabinet Frame, and Drawer Face
Immediately we notice that the door of the Irvine White Shaker is shrink wrapped separately from the rest of the cabinet pieces to keep it protected. Once unwrapping the door, the quality can then be inspected with a closer eye. Solid hardwood composition and a traditional 5-piece construction make up the door of the unit, with a reversible middle panel that protrudes out rather than the flat panel that is most frequently exhibited by white shaker units (Picture 2). Vertical routings are seen embedded between the rails and stiles on both the door as well
as the cabinet face (Picture 3), a simple yet stylish characteristic that maintains the conservative aesthetic for which white shakers are best known. The cabinet frame is solid in construction, although it did arrive with some minor damage along the interior face.
Grade: 3.5/ 5.0
A thick finish that is evenly applied across the entire surface of the door face is found once the plastic wrapping is removed. This finish is very impressive, especially considering the vertical routings between the rails and stiles are widely acknowledged to be difficult to evenly apply paint or finish (Picture 4). Typically we would see clumps of paint or missing gaps in the routings, but with the Irvine White Shaker neither of these qualities are evident with a close inspection. Only on the backside of the door frame do we notice any semblance of uneven application in the paint, and since this is on the inside of the unit it will very rarely be visible.
Grade: 4.5/ 5.0
Cabinet Box Interior and Exterior
Both the interior as well as the exterior of the Irvine’s cabinet box are painted to match the face of the unit, which is a mild but crisp white hue that catches light easily and cleans up without issue. Although the grains can be seen on both sides of the side panels, the paint and finish are evenly spread across the surfaces of both panels (Picture 5). Once a counter is installed on top of the unit, these grains will not be noticeable unless an LED light is shown directly into the interior of the cabinet. The exterior of the side panels will only be an issue for a unit that is on the end of a row once an entire collection is installed in a kitchen.
Only when we take a look at the interior of the drawer box do we notice significant discrepancies in the paint. It is unquestionably impressive that this drawer box is painted to match the rest of the cabinet, only the second one to come across our workbench; the first being the Vanilla Shaker from the RTA Cabinet Store. Unfortunately, the paint is unevenly applied and this will be obvious whenever the door is pulled out and light hits the paint (Picture 6). Of course, the drawer will be filled with items so that may remedy the issue
Grade: 3.5/ 5.0
Box and Storage
Composing the box of the Irvine White Shaker are four plywood panels: two sides, a back, and a bottom panel. The plywood composing the side and bottom panels is well pressed and 7-ply thick, measuring out at 1/2 an inch in total thickness (Picture 7 and 8). Ideally, we like to see 5/8 inches thick or more with the box panels as that would ensure the stability of the cabinet as well as decrease the likelihood of warping occurring. As seen in Picture 1 at the top of this review, the side panels of the Irvine White Shaker, unfortunately, were subject to warping at some point. This makes the assembly process significantly more difficult as we much force the panels to fit together appropriately before tacking in our wood screws.
Once again we find a picture-frame recess back panel standing tall at the back of the Irvine White Shaker. While this measures at the top and sides to be 5/8 of an inch thick, the main body of this back panel is in reality 3/8 of an inch thick (Picture 9). Rather than investing in a solid piece of wood for the back panel, the manufacturer chose to save expenses and simply fit 4 pieces around the exterior edges of the back panel to give it a bit more
stability. We won’t sell the stability of this method short as the plywood is known to split on some models, but it decreases the overall integrity of the unit. One major issue that is possible to run into is boring straight through the thin body piece of the back panel when fixing the pilot holes for the drawer slide anchors, which is exactly what happened with this unit (Picture 10). Luckily, the borings just barely still hit the framing on the exterior of the back panel, so the drawer slide anchors will still bite and hold onto the back panel, providing support to the drawer (hopefully) without fallout out of place.
Grade: 2.5/ 5.0
Perhaps the most striking feature of the Irvine White Shaker is the drawer box painted white the match the rest of the unit. This is a very rare characteristic, only observed in a single instance prior to the writing of this review with the drawer box of the Vanilla White Shaker from the RTA Cabinet Store. As we mentioned in the section above covering the interior finish, the paint found along the inside side panels of the drawer box is not thick or evenly applied. Despite these discrepancies, the 1/2 inch thick side panels are still very sturdy and composed of quality hardwood
(Picture 11). Not nearly as thick is the bottom panel, measuring 1/4 inch and warped length-wise (Picture 12). This inconveniently causes the assembly process to be more challenging than if the panel were even an eighth of an inch thicker, thus less likely to face warping. The thinness of the bottom panel is also an issue for the wood screws provided with the cabinet utilized in attaching the drawer glide clips to the bottom of the box (Picture 13). The smallest screws provided, 3/8 of an inch, protrude through the bottom panel and create a safety risk; we highly urge you to use 1/4 inch (or as small as you can find) wood screws to attach these clips. Otherwise, the risk of cutting oneself on the sharp ends of the screws is an inevitability; and at that, one which could have been easily avoided were the manufacturer to implement the industry standard 3/8 inch thick pressed plywood for the construction of the bottom panel of this drawer box. Safety hazards are never good for the ultimate grade…
While assembling the drawer box of the Irvine White Shaker, several issues present themselves as we mediate the balance between positive and negative attributes. Without a doubt, the drawer box holds together with a stability that cannot be argued once it is quite literally pounded into place with the aid of a rubber mallet. The main issue here is that the dovetailing does not fit flush: the male cuts are too large to fit appropriately into the receiving
ends and therefore splinter and crack when forced into the joints with a rubber mallet (Pictures 13 and 14). If this process is not carried out with care, the builder runs the risk of breaking off one of the teeth on the dovetailing, a mistake which will require a new panel to be sent out. Placing a cut of cardboard between the dovetailing and the wood will help prevent this from occurring and protect the wood of the drawer box during the assembly process.
We cannot help but admit our pleasant surprise when discovering that this drawer box is painted throughout its interior to match the remainder of the cabinet. Only upon closer inspection did we come to the realization that not only is the paint job itself flawed in the application on the panel surfaces, but the dovetailing does not fit together correctly and the wood screws provided to attach the drawer glide clips protrude up through the thin bottom panel. These major issues cannot be overlooked and unfortunately take a drawer box initially assumed to be of high quality down to being considered by our standards of a lower-medium quality. Yes, the matching painted drawer box is a positive characteristic and the drawer box is stable when carefully assembled, but the process to get this vital component of the unit to this point categorizes the Irvine White Shaker’s drawer box among the lower echelon of those we have reviewed on RTA Cabinet Reviews.
Grade: 2.5/ 5.0
A key standout feature the drawer box of the Irvine White Shaker from Best Online Cabinets is able to tout is the deep nature of its storage capabilities. Measuring an impressive 3 1/4 inches deep, this drawer is over 1/4 inch deeper than the majority of industry standard drawer boxes thus allowing for it to store more ladles, spatulas, knives, and an assortment of other kitchen utensils (Picture 17). These items will undoubtedly scrape against the white paint and finish of the drawer box until it is marred with paint chipping away, but the demarcations can be wiped away with cleaning product and the paint can be touched up until little difference is noticed. A deeper drawer also keeps items stored within the drawer from banging against the cabinet frame when opening and closing the drawer box, protecting the paint on the cabinet face as well as the integrity of the interior frame’s finish.
Another impressive storage feature the Irvine White Shaker has going for it is the full-body box shelf that is finished on three sides. The shelf measures 3/4 of an inch thick, composed of neatly pressed plywood, cut clean along each edge and surface (Picture 18). Being finished on 3 sides, the shelf can be flipped after a period of use to prolong the life of the paint and keep the surface as fresh as possible. It is the length of the shelf that has us most impressed: at 22 inches long, this makes the third cabinet from Best Online Cabinets featuring a full-body box shelf
(Picture 19). Most every other cabinet we have reviewed maxes out on a floating half shelf, with the exception of the Southport White Shaker, manufactured by Jarlin and purchased by us from the RTA Store. The Irvine’s shelf reaches from the back panel of the box to the cabinet frame at the front, utilizing every inch of available space for optimum storage ability.
Arriving in separate packaging from the door and cabinet frame, these DTC soft-close hinges require assembly into the borings found on the inside of the cabinet door. DTC soft-close hinges are good quality, just beneath the BLUM grade quality sought after for their life expectancy and consistent functionality (Picture 20). Affixing the hinges to the door is quick and easy, accomplished by tacking wood screws directly through pilot holes
on the door first and then holding in place while attaching to the cabinet frame (Picture 21). Hand tightening the wood screws after starting them with the power drill ensures you won’t split the wood with the strength of the drill.
Grade: 4.0/ 5.0
DTC soft-close hinges attach to the cabinet frame at the front of the unit by wood screws tacked into pilot holes on either side of the undermount glide (Picture 22). Again, although DTC isn’t considered the top-shelf quality of Hardware we still list it just beneath the BLUM-grade that sets the bar so high. Full-extension capabilities allow for the drawer box itself to be pulled out to the furthest length, utilizing the maximum amount of storage space in the cabinet. The back ends of the drawer slides are supported by hard grey plastic anchors attached to the back panel and are of a higher quality than many of the soft-white anchors we’ve seen in past units.
Grade: 4.0/ 5.0
A cabinet’s overall stability and integrity are defined by the hardware connecting the panels, either making or (sometimes literally) breaking under the stress of daily use. Concerning the connecting hardware of the Irvine White Shaker, metal cleats stained white to match the interior paint hold the side panels to both the frame as well as the back panel (Picture 23). These cleats snap into place easily once the builder understands the process of
attaching them to their respective panels, which we will discuss in greater detail in the “Ease of Assembly” section. Found in each of the four corners, soft plastic braces give added support for the side panels to the frame and back panels (Picture 23). These braces are relatively useless, and while they add some minor extra support overall they are not essential for the unit. Additional points are docked to the score since the cam-locks, which are stabilize the structure, can break when overtightened.
Grade: 2.5/ 5.0
Assembly and Support
Protecting the Irvine White Shaker around the outside of the parcel is single-corrugated cardboard, taped around the middle seam as well as along the top and bottom edges (Picture 25). Single corrugated cardboard is the industry standard and is effective enough to maintain the paint and quality of the Irvine’s pieces. Upon opening the exterior packaging, the arrangement of the panels is found to be well-organized and accessible with the side panels lining the top and bottom, sandwiching the remainder of the unit between these two largest pieces of the Irvine (Picture 26). A single styrofoam sheet is wrapped throughout the inner packaging to keep the panels and frame from rubbing against one another, with hard cardboard corner pieces in each corner to keep the shape of the package intact and make the parcel as a whole easier to handle (Picture 27).
The drawer slides are contained in their own smaller single-corrugated cardboard box, along with the glide clips, anchors, cleats, and corner braces (Picture 28). Unpackaging these items and keeping them organized assists a great deal in expediting the assembly process (Picture 29). The most disappointing aspect of the Irvine White Shaker’s packaging and assembly, however, is the complete lack of instructions or a picture guide. These guides typically offer a step-by-step engagement on how to fix together all the panels to the cabinet frame, the
toe-kick, and the drawer box for a finished product. Without one, it is up to the builder to piece together the cabinet and without prior experience, this can prove to be a bit challenging.
Shrink-wrapping protects the door of the Irvine White Shaker from being scraped or rubbed by the loose panel pieces in the rest of the parcel. Although the plastic wrapping is a bit thin, it is quite effective in preserving the integrity of the paint on the surface of the door (Picture 30). The fact that the manufacturer has gone the extra mile to protect the door is a testament to the value placed on the Irvine’s aesthetic appearance. So while the door still requires assembly to the frame by means of DTC soft-close hinges and there are no instructions included, the packaging is still industry-standard with some nice surprising perks to be found along the course of assembly.
Grade: 3.5/ 5.0
Ease of Assembly
As we previously mentioned, no instructions are included with the Irvine White Shaker which presents a set of challenges and obstacles when piecing together this unit. The key to overcoming the most challenging step is to loosen the sleeves of the cleats found on the inside edges of both side panels, then sliding the “L” shaped mountings of the cleats into place before tightening the sleeves back down (Pictures 31 and 32). Once the sleeves are tightened down, the side panels fit into the tongue-and-groove cuts on either side of the interior of the cabinet frame and are then able to be tacked in with wood screws on all four cleats (Picture 33). The same process is repeated for the back panel after the bottom panel is slid into place (Picture 34), repeated again for the toe-kick until the body of the cabinet box is fully assembled.
Placing the hard grey plastic drawer slide anchors into their designated peg holes on the back panel is a straightforward and easy process. As soon as they snap into these peg holes, the drawer slide is placed into the bites (Picture 35) and can then be tacked into the cabinet frame at the front with wood screws. The soft-plastic corner-joint braces that are intended to add support to the box and bring together the side and back panels, as well as the cabinet frame, unfortunately, do little to remedy the gaps caused by the warped panels (Picture 36). Only when fitting the side panels into the cabinet frame do we notice some damage to the inside frame’s wood (Picture 37); this damage, however, cannot be seen when the unit is fully assembled.
Grade: 3.0/ 5.0
The customer service offered by BOC is above and beyond. Their team sets the bar high with quick responses to live chats, emails, and immediately picking up the phone. Any and all questions I had concerning the unit were answered with punctuality, clarity, and efficiency. With a quick shipping time and an online store that is easy to navigate, we cannot recommend seeking the assistance of the BOC team in designing your kitchen. With quality products and a clear goal to make the process as easy as possible for their clients, Best Online Cabinets brings levity to an otherwise stressful and daunting project.
Grade: 5.0/ 5.0
Houzz = 2 Service Awards, a Knowledge Award, Professionalism Award, 250 client “Saves,” and an astounding 16 5-Star Reviews
The reviews for Best Online Cabinets on Houzz are consistently five star write-ups among the 16 individuals who have taken the time to recall his and her experiences working with the company. From 2015 to as recently as last week before this review has been written, clients cannot say enough positive things about BOC, the products, the customer service, and the affordability offered. In particular, “Ed” is referenced as being essential to the completion of several kitchens in the reviews. With 250 Houzz saves and two awards from the website (Best Service 2017 and 2018), our confidence in BOC is solidified from this reputable home renovation review website.
BBB = A+ Grade, 3 Positive Reviews, 0 Neutral, 0 Negative; 3 Total Reviews with 100% positive feedback and 0 complaints filed against the company
Although there are only 3 Reviews, the length and detail each review goes into (coupled with the pure positive tone of all 3), illustrates a client base that is beyond satisfied with his and her experiences in working with Best Online Cabinets. One individual, a contactor with 8 years of cabinet installation experience, regales the solid rubberwood door approach the BOC white shaker touts as it is resistant to the shrinkage and expansion of wood typically seen in conventional 5-piece white shaker cabinet doors.
TrustPilot = 4/5 stars with a TrustScore of 8.7 out of 10; 98 Reviews: 71% 5-stars, 15% 4-stars, 7% 3-stars, 3% 2-stars, 3% 2-stars
Overwhelmingly positive reviews give BOC one of the highest scores on TrustPilot we have yet seen from all the online cabinet stores from whom we have ordered products. The negative reviews concern damage during shipping, warped panels on larger vanity cabinets, and the longest negative review written up reads as if the builder made multiple mistakes during assembly. With so much positive feedback and so many reviews espousing the quality of the product and reliable customer service, we here at RTA cabinet Reviews go with the quantifiable numbers, which logically lead us to the conclusion that Best Online Cabinets truly lives up to its name.
Another unit from BOC with no shortage of pleasant surprises and shortcomings on which to review, the Irvine White Shaker gave us plenty to think as well as write about. For the positive characteristics, the following truly impressed us:
- Thick, clean, evenly applied finish filled into the vertical routings
- Quality DTC soft close hinges and full extension drawer glides
- Drawer box painted to match the rest of the cabinet
- Full-body box shelf, utilizing as much storage space as possible
- Shrink-wrapped plastic protecting the cabinet door in packaging
The negative features of the Irvine are what set this unit in an unfavorable seat compared to the rest of the BOC units:
- Drawer box is unevenly painted on the side, back, and bottom panels
- Dovetail cuts at corner joints of drawer box must be forced into place, thus splitting the wood and splintering the joints
- Screws intended to fasten drawer slide clips are too long to be tacked into bottom panel, thus protruding through
- Hinges and cleats that must be attached separately and add time to the assembly as well as room for mistakes by the builder
Best Online Cabinets delivers another unit that utilizes the storage space within the box of the unit better than the cabinets we have reviewed from other distributors. Unfortunately, the Irvine lacks ANY instructions and has warped side panels, which make for a messy look and place the overall quality of the unit into a questionable place. Parts that are breaking do not inspire confidence in this product. So while we do find several positive aspects of the Irvine White Shaker, the overall quality is sub-par and we would recommend going with another unit from BOC.