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quality hardware versus second best9/4/15
I have read many threads on this forum over the years and one subject comes up constantly. Cabinetmakers trying to save pennies on hardware that cost them serious bucks in lost production time or call backs.
Because it cuts into the profit margin. And usually you can find a cheaper version that is still quality.
I subscribe to your thinking. Saving $100 or less on an entire kitchen to downgrade hardware seems silly most of the time.
But there are times where people are shopping price and not quality. That's when you go for 2nd or 3rd best.
Features do not equal quality. To acknowledge Dennis Bean's contributions over the years, I will state I used Salice's Logica series of hinges for years. Being able to insert and snap lock hinges on site as Harold describes was well worth the extra dollar per hinge. I cannot imagine transporting doors with mounted hinges. But closets are different in that assembly is done on site compared to cabinetry. The quality of Salice hinges were fine, but I used them for their features.
In 1997 I traveled 1000 miles to install closet systems for a client up in the Colorado mountains in Telluride. I never forgot the client telling me she never bought the best, because the huge price differential between best and second best was not worth the incremental difference in quality. Most people buy the absolute best for bragging rights.
On a daily basis I meet with cabinet shop owners, large and small, some production oriented and some highly custom. Likewise, I am also involved in meetings with some of the largest cabinet and furniture manufacturers in the U.S. The attitude towards the selection of functional hardware varies but the common thread I see is a desire for quality.
There are different market sectors in our industry and each views the importance of quality hardware slightly differently depending on the product they manufacture and the client they are on serving.
If you look at the largest kitchen manufactures in the U.S. you will see very little off brand hardware used.
The use of low cost hardware is most evident with manufacturers who produce what I might call “disposable” cabinetry. This would include cabinetry for multi-family housing, kitchenettes for the hotel/motel industry and low cost office furniture. These are all market segments where the cabinetry is expected to be replaced every few years.
Here is a snapshot of the overall market as I see it. This is not a scientific study, only my own assessment based on personal observation.
Leo said it best, it is all about the amount of money you put in your jeans. Sure one kitchen has only $100-200 difference in using Blum hardware compared to some cheaper stuff, so what you say makes perfect sense. But what about the guy that does say 20 schools and all commercial work in a year, the hardware savings is in the thousands. I agree that the residential customers want Blum hinges and soft close slides, but really how much better is the quality than Salice hinges and accuride drawer slides.
I agree that for commercial work and super economy jobs or those doing large volumes, that the dollars add up., but slit of small shops ignore the time saved over the cost of the hardware not realizing it really costs more in shipping , damages and installation to use better hardware. You can save a lot of real money by using clip on hinges and slides with multiple adjustments in manufacturing and installing your product. And there will be less callbacks with cam adjustment hinges and plates that do not lose their spacing a over time.