Custom Kitchen Cabinets vs. Stock Cabinets

Q: What is the difference between CUSTOM CABINETS and STOCK Cabinets
A: The differences can be many.  Here is a closer look…


Width – Take a look at a set of our Custom Cabinets by KC Wood and you will see that everything fits (Wall to Wall) It simply looks like it is ‘supposed to’. Stock Cabinets use fillers because they are built in increments of 2 to 3 inches to fill in the gaps between Cabinets and the Wall.
Height – The height of the upper cabinets built by KC Wood is determined by the following formula: UpperHgt = Cht + CrnGp – UpOv – 54″ What this means to the consumer is that you can have a designated height from your countertop to your uppers. You can also have Cabinets that look appropriated at the ceiling level where the Crown Moulding meets the Upper Cabinets. Stock Cabinets have locked in heights so if your Ceiling height is less than 8′ then your gap between the uppers and countertop will be less by that same amount.
Depth – More and more consumers are requesting custom depth cabinets for a variety of reasons ranging from the ability to fit oversized plates/pans to decorative depth differences. At KC Wood, we built the cabinets to fit an desired depth the customer wants.
General Appearance – One of the most significant differences is that when the job is done.Custom Cabinets have a built-in look – they simply look like they were built for the space available – which is the optimal goal. Stock Cabinets, conversely, have the appearance that a bunch of boxes have been ‘pieced’ together.

Specifications – The most common mistake I’ve seen when people choose their kitchen cabinets are that they focus on price and assume the specifications are the same or close. In fact, there is a vast difference. At KC Wood our cabinets have the following minimum specifications (as a general rule)*

Finished Ends are 3/4″ Thick with wood veneers
Unfinished Ends & Case Parts are 3/4″ thick with veneer core plywood
Shelving – Minimum Thickness for all shelving is 3/4″ and nosed with 1.25″ hardwood edge.
Drawer Boxes are built with 9-ply Baltic Birch Plywood 1/2″ thick including a 1/2″ bottom – see below
Finish – Quality Stain and 2 heavy coats of Pre-Catalyzed Lacquer
Installation – Installed by KC Wood’s Professional Installers – Not SubContractors

Hinges – Whether concealed hinges or exposed hinges, KC Wood’s hinges offer full adjustability.

Relationship with your Cabinet Maker – KC Wood repairs cabinets for anyone. But with previous customers, we can’t help ourselves from giving extra special attention and service. From repairing broken doors & drawers, installing new kitchen accessories like rollout shelves, to the more extreme cabinet modifications to accept larger or smaller appliances, KC Wood is available to service you – our customer. Stock cabinet companies simply cannot compete!!!

Drawer Boxes

Strong drawersOur Drawer boxes are strong.  Our Premium grade drawers have thick bottoms which give our drawers incredible strength.  In the photo below we show a drawer box inverted while supporting the weight of three people!



Proportions – Combination Cabinets are another area where Custom Cabinets trot into 1st Place. Let’s say that a wall is 89.5″ long and your kitchen designer for Stock Cabinets needs to fill this wall with uppers. The designer picks from Stock Cabinet inventory two 30″ cabinets and one 27″ Cabinet (assuming these are available in your finish & style & in-stock & height) … you’ll end up with two identical cabinets and another cabinet that is 3″ shorter on a wall that screams for symmetry. Custom Cabinets to the rescue … we can not only divide the 89.5″ perfectly equally but you can also FREELY CREATE live while you watch on screen as your KC Wood kitchen designer adds a center section that is open for bookshelves – but how wide to make it … how about 12″ … NO … you have a plate to display on the top shelf that is 12.5″ >>> no problem … watch our designer insert the custom opening before your eyes… This is one example of how KC Wood’s Custom Design treats Proportions > Custom fitting to your wall.

Finishes – Stock Cabinet Manufacturers strive to achieve consistency in there stain & lacquer finishes. This is a noteworthy goal to be sure, but because of newer and better equipment one odd side-effect has occurred. Many times ‘factory finishes’ look too consistent giving an unreal or plastic appearance. I have looked closely at some factory finishes trying to determine if it is ‘real’ wood or not. Finishes by Custom Cabinet Shops may vary greatly – granted – so it is still important to check references and look carefully at their work. At KC Wood we have samples of finishes in our showroom and will mix custom finishes. We will apply these finishes to sample pieces of wood so you can see what your cabinets will look like.


    • Wood Types include: Oak, Ash, Cherry, Alder, Birch, Maple, Pecan/Hickory, Poplar, Walnut, Mahogany,
    • Hardware brands include: Blum ®, Accuride ®, Knape & Vogt ®, Rev-a-shelf ®
    • Cabinet Options:
      • Rollout Trays for Pantry or Base Cabinets
      • Lazy Susans for Base & Upper Cabinets
      • Pull-out Trash Drawers
      • “Soft-Close” Drawers & Doors
      • Desk Cubbies
      • Stove Hood enclosures
      • Cabinet Door Locks
      • Clear Glass Doors
      • Inset Doors with Beaded inset Frames
      • Custom Crown Moldings
      • Raised-Panel & Shaker Doors
      • and many more …
* Specifications will vary due to the Custom Nature of Our Business – These are the minimum specifications for average residential kitchens that go into single family homes