3.9
Score

From Kitchen Cabinet Kings, we have ordered their Ice White Shaker and assembled it today. The order was placed just a week ago, with two of the cabinets arriving just a day before the other two in the order. kitchen Cabinet Kings mediates the distribution process, while a third party is scheduled to deliver the units at a specific date between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm. While this shows diligence on the part of Kitchen Cabinet Kings, it can prove inconvenient if you are unable to be present at the time of the parcel’s delivery. Also of note is that this unit is manufactured by Forevermark cabinetry, which is typically a dependable name in the RTA cabinet arena.
Forevermark Cabinets:

Thompson White from Kitchen Cabinet Kings

Aspen White Shaker from The RTA Store

Picture 1: Forevermark logo

Wood and Finish

Door, Drawer Face, and Frame

Composed of a 5 piece cope and stick assembly, the door of the Ice White Shaker is constructed in traditional shaker style. The cabinet frame, door, and drawer face-frames are both made of birch hardwood while the center panels are medium density fibreboard. The MDF is resistant to warping that results from humid climates, and with the hardwood frame, the face of the cabinet is standard quality. Our main reason for focusing on the wood material composing the face of the cabinet because this will play a major role in the finish of the unit and therefore its overall aesthetic.

Grade: 4.0/ 5.0

Door Finish

Concerning the paint and finish, the first thing we noticed is that the paint is thin and unevenly applied in certain areas of the door face. This is most notable on the door face-frame, as the natural birch hardwood can be seen in several places through the paint. Admittedly, it takes close scrutiny to notice the uneven paint job. At a passing glance, the color is sharp white and the finish is clean. Seeing as these units will be in your home and you will interact with them on a daily basis, there is no doubt that an uneven paint job will eventually become noticeable. The uneven texture and minor cracks in the paint on the cabinet frame set the Ice White Shaker back a few grades.

Picture 2: Door finish

Grade: 3.0/ 5.0

Cabinet Box and Interior Finish

Picture 3: Interior finish

Moving to the exterior panels and into the interior of the cabinet, we are met with an impressive stain and laminate coating (Picture 3, left). As we inspected each panel, we did find some minor abrasions on the back panel that likely occurred duraing transit (Picture 4, right). These scratches are not visible once the unit is assembled since they are located below the bottom panel, but they do indicate what can be expected from the interior finish when pots, pans, and other items are repeatedly dragged across the surface. Aesthetically, the Ice White Shaker displays an impressive interior stain, but the functionality of this stain remains questionable.

Picture 4: Scratched back panel

Grade: 3.5/ 5.0

Box and Storage

Cabinet Box

Sound pressing of plywood enhances the quality of the Ice White Shaker. When a unit is composed of quality plywood, the stability of the unit is increased and therefore the quality of the cabinet overall benefits. The picture-frame recess back panel measures in at 5/8 inches thick (Picture 5), with the side panels meeting industry standard 1/2 inch thickness (Picture 6) and the bottom panel a disappointing 3/8 inches (Picture 7). While the plywood is high quality, the thickness of these panels is nothing o which to take special note. Our standards are set to highlight units which go above and beyond to ensure quality, so 1/2 inch thick side panels aren’t quite what we have set to raise the bar. The bottom panel of a unit is significant to the overall stability of a cabinet, and the Ice White Shaker provides the bare minimum thickness in the arena.

Picture 5: Back panel
Picture 6: Side panel
Picture 7: Bottom panel
Picture 8: Picture-frame recess back panel

Picture frame recess back panels are not inherently a negative quality for a unit to possess. Many are fashioned to strengthen the stability of a cabinet, with tongue-in-groove joints preserving the integrity of the panels when joining side and back panels together. This particular back panel is sturdy and built of quality plywood (Picture 8). A label on the exterior top left corner of the back panel exhibits the name of the furniture company from whom the manufacturer received the wood to compose the panel.

Picture 9: Side rails

Two side rails are provided with the Ice White, running from the front of the cabinet where the frame is attached to the side panels to the back panel (Picture 9). These side rails are not essential and minimally contribute to the overall composition of the unit. However small of a contribution it is, they still undeniably add support to the stability and therefore the Ice White deserves credit.

Grade: 3.0/ 5.0

Drawer Box

Without question, the drawer box of the Ice White Shaker is one of the highest quality boxes we have yet assembled and reviewed. Bearing the “Forevermark” branding (also seen on the Aspen White Shaker from The RTA Store), this drawer box immediately grabs your attention with the protective shrink wrapping surrounding each of the panels (Pictures 10 and 11). This not only protects the drawer box pieces during transit but also keeps them organized thus making assembly an easy process.

Picture 10: Forevermark brading
Picture 11: Shrink wrapped panels

The bottom panel measures 3/8 inch thick, which is rather thin but still the industry standard and capable of supporting the weight of a full drawer (Picture 12). This bottom panel is composed of decent quality plywood. Measuring in at 3/4 inch thick, the solid hardwood side panels join together at the corner joints with precise, strong dovetailing (Picture 13). When assembled, the drawer box is top tier and stable beyond expectation.

Picture 12: Bottom panel
Picture 12: Side panels

Grade: 5.0/ 5.0

Storage

Picture 14: Full extension drawer
Picture 15: Drawer box depth

Storage defines the purpose of a cabinet unit, and the Ice White Shaker does not disappoint. With full extension capabilities, the drawer box also has a depth of just over 3 inches (Pictures 14 and 15). We hold both these characteristics in such high regard because they enable a highly functional drawer that will not only serve its intended purpose but endure daily use over an extended amount of time. Forevermark products tend to be of a higher quality than the majority of other competitors in the RTA cabinet field.

Included with the unit is a floating half-shelf measuring 12 inches in length and 1/2 inch in thickness (Pictures 16 and 17). These half shelves are disappointing as far as storage goes because they create a large amount of unusable space in the box of the unit. Were the shelf to be a full-length shelf, there would be more surface area to store items but since it only occupies half the unit then it creates negative space that practically renders the entire unit’s storage capabilities null. As it is, the shelf is finished on 3 sides as well as adjustable, so it must be admitted that the quality of this shelf is quite high.

Picture 16: Floating half shelf length
Picture 17; Thickness of shelf

Grade: 4.5/ 5.0

Hardware

Hinges

Picture 18: Soft-close hinges

Arriving already mounted to both the cabinet door and the frame, these soft-close hinges are standard quality and effective in closing the door without making any noise or slamming on the frame. this is essential in prolonging the life of a unit and preserving the paint/finish of the cabinet face. These particular hinges are bear the letters “DTC,” which is a notable name brand for hinges. Although they may not be of the high-end BLUM grade hinges we have yet to find with a cabinet, they are a competitor and regarded as a dependable manufacturer of soft-close hinges (Picture 18). The fact that they come pre-mounted is a significant positive feature worth mentioning, as this decreases assembly time and the risk of mounting them incorrectly.

Grade: 4.0/ 5.0

Drawer Slides

Just as crucial to preserving the integrity of the cabinet face as the hinges are the drawer slides. The Ice White Shaker provides undermount drawer slides complete with soft-close mechanisms and full-extension capabilities (Picture 19). The front of these slides attaches to the cabinet frame through wood screws tacked into pilot holes while the rear rests on plastic anchors attached to the back panel of the box. Plastic clips are fixed onto the bottom of the drawer box and bite onto the glides, with metal pegs holding fast onto the back panel of the drawer box. The glides are slightly shaky when pulling out and pushing the box in and out of the unit, but overall they are dependable slides just shy of the BLUM quality that sets the bar so high for cabinet hardware.

Picture 19: Drawer slides

Grade: 4.0/ 5.0

Connecting Parts

Picture 20: Metal "L" brackets

Holding together the panels of the Ice White Shaker are “L” brackets that clip together and latch into place. These brackets come pre-fixed upon the panels so assembly is relatively easy and quick (Picture 20). The only issue is if the plywood panels are warped in the slightest then this complicates precisely lining up the brackets and fastens. they are also painted to match the interior white of the cabinet so aesthetically the connecting hardware gives a crisp and neat look to the interior box.

Picture 21: Plastic drawer glide anchors

Beige plastic anchors clip into the back panel of the cabinet box and support the weight of the drawer box by holding the rear end of the drawer glides (Picture 21). These plastic clips are standard among RTA cabinets, making them lower-mid quality. They will get the job done but not much can be said for their life expectancy.

Grade: 3.0/ 5.0

Assembly and Support

Packaging

Exterior packaging is the first impression an RTA cabinet makes upon its arrival, and the Ice White Shaker’s exterior packaging is soundly protected by stiff cardboard side rails on the four vertical corners (Picture 22). Our first impression is that there has been care and attention invested in ensuring this product arrives at its destination with minimum to zero damage along the journey. Double corrugated cardboard surrounds the carefully arranged panels and pieces inside the package (Picture 23). Organization is an often overlooked aspect of the packaging process, much of the time to the detriment of the unit; when the items all fit snug in the parcel, movement within the package is decreased therefore damage to the unit drops significantly.

Picture 22: Exterior packaging
Picture 23; Interior arrangement of pieces
Picture 24: Hard cardboard corner protectors
Picture 25: Thick styrofoam pieces

Small details within the packaging add even more protection, and the Ice White Shaker has plenty to offer. Each of the four corners has a hard cardboard piece stiffening the package and adding structure, making the package fairly easy to handle (Picture 24). Wrapped around each of the panels is a thin styrofoam sheet that keeps the pieces from rubbing against one another and scratching the surface. What is even more impressive is the added thick styrofoam between the panels, keeping the unit compact within the parcel and providing a tremendous amount of protection (Picture 25).

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the entire packaging of this unit is the door, cabinet frame, and drawer box face is wrapped separately. This feature is not frequently seen but makes a huge difference in keeping the most important parts of the cabinet safe during transit. A styrofoam sheet of medium viscosity is wrapped securely around the cabinet face and taped together tightly. Between the door and the cabinet frame are pieces of cardboard; this minor detail shows major commitment on the part of the manufacturer in protecting the product (Pictures 26 and 27).

Picture 26: cabinet face wrapped separately
Picture 27: Cabinet face
Picture 28: Hardware packaging

Accessibility to the hardware is a major component in expediting the assembly process, and properly organizing the hardware is the most direct means of accomplishing this. With the Ice White Shaker, we find the drawer slide packaged in a separate cardboard box along with the anchors. the plastic clips, shelf pegs, instructions and wood screws are also found in their own cardboard boxes (Picture 28). The wooden blocks that are fastened into the top corners of the unit to add stability are kept in a plastic bag. Overall, the entire packaging of this unit (both interior and exterior) is impressive to say the least.

Grade: 4.5/ 5.0

Ease of Assembly

Quality instructions assist monumentally in the building process of an RTA cabinet, especially for those who have little or no experience assembling these units. Although they are fairly straightforward to put together, instructions are considered a vital part of any unit where the customer is expected to put forth their time and energy after purchasing the product. The instructions of the Ice White Shaker leave much to be desired in terms of explication (Picture 29). Rudimentary pictures guide the reader through a stumbling process that in actuality is much easier than the instructions indicate. However, the fact that any instructions are provided is still a positive characteristic as we have run across too many white shakers with absolutely no guide to assembly.

Picture 29: Instructions
Picture 30: "L" bracket pulling out wood screw

As we have previously noted, the pre-mounted “L” brackets and their receiving sleeves do decrease the amount of time it takes to assemble the unit. The only fallback is if a panel is slightly warped then the process becomes frustrating quickly. In the case of the Ice White Shaker, one of the side panels is slightly askew and when we fit the bracket into the sleeve, one of the wood screws was pulled out of the plywood (Picture 30). This mistake can be attributed to a fault of our own, as loosening these brackets and sleeves is always a good idea before fitting into place. Either way, the assembly of the cabinet box is on the easier end of the spectrum compared to other units we have reviewed. Minimal tools are required and the task can be accomplished by one person alone.

The final thing worth noting in this section is the added support system found at the top of the cabinet above the drawer box. This step in the assembly process will take the most time. Both of the side rails must be gently tapped into place with a rubber mallet before fixing the wooden corner blocks into place. Wood screws are provided to attach the corner blocks to all four interior sides and down through the top to the side rail. While the side rails are not totally necessary, they do provide bonus stability that is noticeable in the overall structure of the Ice White Shaker cabinet.

Picture 31: Wooden side rails

Grade: 4.5/ 5.0

Support

Reviews

Conclusion

Kitchen Cabinet Kings provides a very impressive white shaker cabinet unit with the Ice White Shaker manufactured by Forevermark Cabinetry. The positive elements of this cabinet outweigh the negative, but both are worth taking into consideration. On the positive end, we see:

  • Birch hardwood composing the frame and door
  • Impressive drawer box with tight dovetail construction and flush tops along the panels
  • Full extension, deep drawer box maximizing storage space
  • Resolutely sound packaging both interior and exterior, protecting the cabinet during the shipping process
  • Easy assembly for a solid, stable unit

On the downside, we couldn’t help but notice:

  • Thin paint and finish on the door of the cabinet
  • Floating half shelf that creates negative and unusable space in the cabinet box interior
  • Thin, clear plastic clips holding the floating shelf in place and flimsy beige plastic anchors support the drawer slides
  • A slightly warped side panel that ripped wood screw out of bracket sleeve when fitting panels into place

We are more inclined to recommend the Ice White Shaker to individuals in the market for a unit that accurately reflects the quality of the cabinet in the current higher-mid level price range of $182.52. It is always a relief to know that the product you are purchasing is valued by the manufacturer to the point where careful measures are taken into packaging the item to ensure it is delivered without damage. With the Ice White Shaker, you can expect to be as proud of the unit as Forevermark Cabinetry is, illustrated by the detailed packaging.

Overall Grade: 3.9/ 5.0