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Looking for a talented cabinet maker!

2274 Views 15 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  fge
Hi! I came upon this site while looking for someone that could build a custom cabinet for me! Here's the deal…We ar building a screened-in porch attached to our home…it will have a brick fireplace on which we want to mount a flat screen TV. Now, since it's outdoors we are looking for a cabinet (similiar in design to a dart board cabinet) that would completely enclose a flat screen TV, could be mounted above the fireplace and has two doors that would open up to expose the TV and would be able to be locked (and keep out as much moisture as possible - mostly humidity - we live in Houston). As a bonus we'd like our college logos to be etched (probably not the correct term) on the inside of the doors. So basically, I'm looking for a big box with 2 doors that can survive the humidity! Anyone out there care to tell me your thoughts on this project and if you might be interested in this project?? Hard to find folks onthe web that do this type of work! Thanks!
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Hi there:
Where are you located? ( in Houston)
What is your projected budget for this project?
Do you have plans and or pictures of your rintended installation area.
Would there be any pipes, chimneys, etc that would have to be considered with the build?
What time frame are you looking at for a finish?

Hi! Thanks for responding!
We're in the Heights - a restored bungalow….
Ya know - that's a gret question…not ever having had custom woodwork done before I honestly hvae no idea - but I can say I don't think we'd want to spend more than $1000 - how's that for leaving myself open?? :)
I don't have plans yet - should have them in two weeks. The firebox will be 36" (that's about 33" w x 22" h)with a brick face floor to ceiling (flush mount with chase - I think) so I'm guessing it will be at least 5'-6' wide and 9' tall. We're thinking either gas woodburning or natural gas B-vent (most likely the B-vent). There is a 2nd floor overhead. The TV will probably be a 40" flat panel (mounted, that will probably be a depth of at least 5"?
We're JUST starting the arch dwgs for this addition so we're looking at 6-8 months befor completion….
hope that helps!
We assume that there are no surprises in the structure so I will use the $1000.00 budget to give you a rough idea of what you can expect.
Generally one half of the budget goes for materials.

That leaves us $500.00 to do the build and installation.
Most cabinet makers charge $45.- 50.00 per hour for tools shop and man.
I will assume at least 3 hours travel time ($150.00)
Lets assume about 2 hours for the install and final trim up ($100.00)
That leaves around $250.00 for shop time to build your cabinet and and apply the finish of your choice.
I'm not sure I could do this for that budget but, when you have some plans finalized maybe you could give us more information?
You may want to discuss this with some of your friends and see what they are paying for this type of work.

Bob if you can drive from your place to Houston in 3 hours I want your pick up truck…lol. But I agree with you on the quote.
Waparker, you mentioned humidity a few times, how humid is it? If you think it will go over 80% you may need to look at. Moisture Resistant & Boiling Water Resistant Plywood with a Spar varnish which will increase the moisture resistance but will also increase your material cost. Try your local high schools and see if there is a shop teacher willing to take on the project. The workmanship may be a bit less refined (not always) but it is within your budget.
Another option is store bought (I can not believe I am writing this) pre fabricated perhaps Plexiglas or something? Good luck.
TJ, I was not thinking of driving down to the site but it probably a cabinetmaker living next door to him either. <g>
ShopGuryl, you overlooked the matching college logos or where you just going to throw those in?
I also don't see where you addressed the problem with humidity?
In my experience it can be quite tricky mounting a box over an object like a TV set and will probably take several fitting attempts with probably lifting the TV set up and down eachtime until the unit is fastened to the wall.
I hope you are a strong cabinetmaker cause that's where you'll earn that $250.00 you want to charge.

Thanks for that. <g>
I wanted to address that when the fellow had given me exact specs thats why I estimated $500.00 for the "sealed cabinet".
-people hate surprises.
I agree with Bob, by the time some one spends an hour or two measuring, researching etc. time to purchase materials, pick up and or recieve, stain colours and approvals, engineer drawings, more approvals, fabricate, sand, stain finish and deliver, cough out some change for hydro, gas, maybe pay the tax man… can part with a grand in a heart beat. Anything less and one risks having both maker and reciever of cabinet, dissappointed.

that said. I'm not sure that you want that TV to be sealed up tight as that could have the reverse affect of what you want. Trapped air, high in humidity tends to condensate in cool night temperatures. It might? be better to let the TV breath…....or have a fan installed to keep air moving.
You know she'll find a friend on campus who'll whoop it up at his Dad's shop for cost of materials and a beer, after you've spent several hours figuring up the bid. When you see what beat you on price it'll be just a converted Sauder cabinet from Lowes.

Just sayin… all due respect.
how true
I'm still polite but I just dont bid on these types of deals anymore where they don't know what they want but are pretty much on an imagineery budget.
That what Wally Mart and Ikea are for.

The last job I went to bid was a bit like this. The client stated her needs and as I was measuring what seemed to be a $8000 plus job she informs me she has a $3000 budget. They would have more to spend but the Big TV and new stereo equipment was running more than they expected. I asked what they were spending for the equipment and she said close to $10,000, they could get the bigger TV but that depended on my price.

I thanked her and said I couldn't build what she wanted on that budget and wished her good luck. What ticks me off is a client basing my cost by what they have left. Call me first then go shop for the rest.
I try to qualify potential customers as much as I can over the phone before the actual estimate. I utilize a base linear foot price for cabinet, I am attempting to perfect a formula that seems to work well for us and keeps me from wasting gas running around town. If my potential customer is still on the phone after the first 2 minutes of our conversation and I end up getting an invite to the home, then my chances of closing a sale gets fairly high. I figure I field probably 4 calls a week or so and probably only go to a person's house one time every 3 weeks, give or take. My goal is to get the customer to understand my price and let them decide if my price is within their budget while on the phone, this eliminates wasted time and gas for me. Two recent calls, one fella, I began talking about my base price, he says he has been quoted 80.00 a foot and wondered what sort of stuff was in my cabinets???? Another fella calls and I thought he might be in my budget based on the first minute, so instead of me driving to the north side of town, which is the right area for money, I asked him, "is this kitchen remodel for a home you live in or is this for an investment property you have invested in?". He tells me it is for an investment property. So you can probably guess how that conversation ended. The main thing is I did not waste my gas running to the north side or the south side of town this last week and I spent that time finishing the kitchen I already have on my plate.

A side note to consider, we do a lot of advertising on CL which I hope to get away from soon. CL is good and has blessed us with a lot of good customers, or I should say God has blessed us. But CL tends to have tire kickers and people trying to stay inside a tight budget. I grew tired of chasing tight budgets long ago.
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Interesting thread.
Shopguryl, I just am just chuckling right now, but not in a mean way. Your post, are you looking at Barry cross eyed right now? lol
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