Thompson White Shaker Review (Forevermark): GreenSure interior coating
On our workbench today is another cabinet from the manufacturer Forevermark: the Thompson White Shaker Cabinet, aka “Uptown White. The exterior packaging bears the logo as well as the inside of the drawer box. This being the second Forevermark cabinet from Kitchen Cabinet Kings, our expectations are rather high given the standards set by other Forevermark units we have reviewed on the site (Ice White Shaker from KCK and the Aspen White Shaker from the RTA Store). Arriving in just under a week, the Thompson White met the allotted 5 to 7 business advertised on the KCK website.
Wood and Finish
Door, Drawer Face, and Frame
Made completely of solid birch hardwood, this five-piece cope and stick design door is one of the more solidly built doors we have come across in our reviews. Many manufacturers will implement some medium or high-density fibreboard in the cabinet door, but the Thompson White stands proudly behind this solid hardwood door. The frame and drawer face is also composed of the same birch wood. Adding a unique look to the aesthetic of the cabinet face is a bevel between the middle panels of the door and drawer face and the stiles/rails (Picture 2). This is not a feature typically seen in Shaker style doors but adds a simple, classy look to the face of the unit.
Grade: 4.0/ 5.0
As can be seen in the picture above, the paint finish on the door of the Thompson White is smooth, evenly applied, and consistent on both sides. there is one very thin crack in the paint in the upper left corner of the door front, between the rail and stile. Given that this is a solid wood door, the fact that the paint and texture are so even is a testament to the attention Forevermark gives when creating a cabinet that will make a resounding first impression. The finish is impressive to boot, with KCK’s website referring to it as “GreenSure Finish.” From Sherwin-Williams, this finish is a specially designed eco-friendly sealant that is a progressive step in creating quality products cognizant of the environmental impact chemically dangerous sealants used in the past have made. Hardwoods are known for being difficult to create a smooth, even paint coat and finish, but KCK offers the Thompson White as a response to that challenge and a step toward implementing environmental awareness into the RTA cabinet arena.
Grade: 4.0/ 5.0
Cabinet Box and Interior Finish
While the door and drawer face present an impressive finish, the paint job on the frame exhibits many discrepancies on the exterior side facing the door as well as the interior looking inside the box of the unit (Pictures 3 and 4). Alternating between thin application and dried bubbles along the edge, this is one of the more disappointing paint jobs we have come across. I contacted Kitchen Cabinet Kings, reported the damage, and am currently waiting to hear back from them in hopes of receiving a replacement frame for the unit.
The side and back panels display an even paint job with the same GreenSure finish as the cabinet face (Picture 5). There are some cracks and scrapes on the back panel, but these are more an issue of the plywood rather than the paint/finish. If anything, the damage on the back panel stands as a testament to the durability of the finish in the face of damage, as the paint is neither scuff nor scratched while the wood is cracked.
Grade: 2.5/ 5.0
Box and Storage
The plywood of the panels on the Thompson White is not pressed to a clean, tight fit as we have seen in past units from Forevermark. The back panel, measuring 5/8 inches thick, is where this is most evident (Picture 6, right). Built in the picture frame recess panel style, the interior of the back panel has received significant marrings presumably during the shipping process (Pictures 7 and 8, seen below). This is a result of both the poor quality of the plywood as well as the packaging of the unit, which we will examine in a later section.
Looking to the side panels, the plywood appears to be much more consistent with the high-quality pressing we have seen in other Forevermark units. It is just shy of meeting the industry standard 1/2 inch thickness, but there is no warping of the wood which is evidence that the material is dependable and well-composed (Picture 9). The bottom panel displays the same characteristics as the side panels: solid, pressing, even cuts, and no warping. Only the thickness of the panel itself is different in terms of quality, measuring in at a tight 3/8 inches (Picture 10).
Grade: 3.0/ 5.0
Forevermark truly sets the standard high when it comes to drawer boxes, and the Thompson White Shaker is no exception. Made of solid birch wood, the side panels measure 3/4 inches thick and tout flush molding along the top of the panel (Picture 11). This feature creates a smart look at the corner joints and assists in making for a sturdy drawer box. The finish is also the same GreenSure we have seen throughout the rest of the cabinet, which is proving itself more and more to be one of the premier finishes out of all the units we have reviewed.
With smooth dovetail features and teeth that clasp firmly together, the drawer box of the Thompson is as solid and stable as any other we have seen come from the Forevermark company. The assembly is simple and requires nothing more than a rubber mallet to softly tap the panels into place, with the dovetails holding fast once properly secured. Although the bottom panel measures a mere 3/8 inches thick, there is no doubt it can withstand the weight of a full drawer load supported by the soundly structured box and under mount slides.
Grade: 4.5/ 5.0
While we are on the topic of the drawer box, we will go ahead and highlight the storage capabilities the Thompson White Shaker’s Forevermark drawer box. With a depth of just over 3 inches, this box is more than capable of storing a gamut of kitchen utensils and other household items without getting stuck on the frame of the cabinet when opening or closing (Picture 14). In addition, the drawer features full extension ability so nothing will get shoved to the back of the unit and forgotten about until the time the drawer is removed (Picture 15). The only setback of this drawer’s storage we see is that it does not totally utilize the space available in the box of the B15 unit, with empty space found along the sides as well as between the back panel of the box and the unit. Beyond that, this drawer is well above industry standards.
When we move down inside the unit itself, we see a veritable amount of wasted space that could have potentially been efficiently utilized. The main culprit to blame for this shortcoming is the floating half shelf. While it features a very fine paint coat with the GreenSure finish on three sides to allow flippability and measures 3/4 of an inch in length, the shelf occupies barely half the space within the cabinet itself (Picture 16). Measuring a length of just under 12 inches, the shelf creates a wealth of negative space that cannot be properly used to store items (Picture 17). This tactic is implemented by many manufactures as a means of saving materials, but unfortunately sells the potential buyer short of valuable space. While the Thompson may cut a corner here and there, the storage capacity of the unit is still above average compared to other cabinets we have reviewed.
Grade: 4.0/ 5.0
DTC brand hinges are average quality among soft close hinges, with BLUM grade being the top tier in the market. These hinges are quite effective in preventing the cabinet door from slamming into the frame, thus insuring the birch wood from damaging itself over the course of regular usage. The best feature of these hinges is that they arrive pre-mounted to both the door borings as well as attached to the frame itself. This saves time in the assembly process as well as keeps the face of the cabinet from being damaged by the builder.
Grade: 4.0/ 5.0
Complete with full extension capabilities, the under mount drawer slides of the Thompson White Shaker are strong and slide back and forth with ease (Picture 19). The soft close mechanisms allow the drawer to quietly close against the cabinet frame without a loud slam. The slides attach to the front of the unit with wood screws tacked into designated pilot holes, with plastic clips holding the drawer box in place on the glide itself (Picture 20). While they may not be BLUM quality, these drawer slides are quality and efficiently accomplish the necessary tasks in preserving the life of the cabinet frame.
Grade: 4.0/ 5.0
Pictured above is all the connecting hardware that is shipped with the Thompson White Shaker cabinet. At the very top of the photo are the beige plastic anchors which fasten the drawer slides to the interior back panel of the unit’s box. These are rather flimsy quality but are still able to support the weight of a full drawer box. To the left in the plastic baggy are wood screws, clear rubber stoppers, clear plastic shelf clips, and other miscellaneous items that hold the unit together and preserve the integrity of the material. On the right are the plastic drawer box clips mentioned in the previous section. They are easy to attach and effective in holding the box on the glides, but the plastic composing them is not of a quality we can confidently say will stand the test of time.
Metal “L” brackets and their corresponding sleeves, painted white to match the interior of the cabinet box, come pre-fastened to the panels of the unit (Picture 22). These are the next best option to quality cam locks as far as providing the necessary stability in keeping a cabinet together while enduring regular usage. They snap into place by lining up the protruding nipples that clasp through the holes in the sleeves. If a panel is warped, however, this process can be extremely frustrating and even be detrimental to the overall stability of the unit if not done with proper attention and care. As a whole, the connecting hardware is of the minimum industry standard in that it accomplishes a necessary job using the latest and most inexpensive technology, but the durability of these items is nothing that can be guaranteed.
Grade: 3.0/ 5.0
Assembly and Support
Our first impression of the Thompson White based on the packaging is that we had received the wrong B15 White Shaker because the name printed beneath the Forevermark logo clearly states “Uptown White.” Upon further investigation, we discovered the distributor lists the Uptown White as the Thompson White on their website, so do not be alarmed if you do order this unit and it arrives bearing a different name.
Hard cardboard side-rails protect the for vertical corners of the parcel during the shipping process, a feature that both adds an immense amount to the value placed on the unit by the manufacturer as well as makes the package difficult to handle and store (Picture 23). Inside the package, things are quite the mess. There is only a thin styrofoam sheet ripped and layered between the pieces, with the cardboard corner protectors strewn everywhere except their designated locations.
There is no organization to this interior pack job, therefore it is obvious the panels were not properly settled in during transportation. This is likely the cause of the damage to the back panel, considering it is on top of the rest of the cabinet and had to bear the weight of the unit multiple times before delivery (Picture 24). compared to other pack jobs we have seen from Forevermark, this one has left us disappointed.
Credit is due for several aspects in the packaging: the most noteworthy being the separately wrapped door and cabinet frame. Thin styrofoam is wrapped around these items and protects them from shifting contents of the box (Picture 25). Also, the connecting parts and hardware are neatly stored in smaller cardboard packages within the parcel, allowing them to be easily separated and organized (Picture 26). Finally, instructions were included with the unit, which is always something we allow some points for within our rubric.
Grade: 3.0/ 5.0
Ease of Assembly
Guided by the picture instructions, the Thompson White Shaker is a straightforward assembly (Picture 27). These instructions are undoubtedly archaic in their presentation, but illustrate the best method in attaching the panels to the face of the unit (by laying the cabinet frame and door face-down on cardboard then snapping them into place by means of the “L” brackets).
It would be best to manually loosen the “L” bracket sleeves in order to prevent damage being done to the panel when snapping each into place. Wooden blocks are screwed into each corner above vertical side-rails for added stability (Picture 28). This is unique in that we have not seen side-rails painted and finished to match the rest of the unit. The only tools required are a hand driver or power tool, a rubber mallet, and possibly a ferny pad underneath the unit to prevent it from getting scratched during the process.
Grade: 4.0/ 5.0
There were several instances when building the Thompson White where I required the support of the Customer Service team. Their live chat immediately answered my query concerning the name of the unit, which read as “Uptown White” on the Forevermark’s exterior packaging but is listed as “Thomspon White” on the Kitchen Cabinet Kings website.
With the damaged back panel and thinly painted cabinet frame, the live chat referred me to email the Customer Support department, who answered my message by the end of the day. After telling me the pictures needed to look as if the unit had not yet been assembled, they promptly filed a request for replacement parts which we await now. Overall, they have been quick and relatively friendly with a website that is easy to navigate.
Grade: 4.0/ 5.0
From Forevermark Cabinetry, the Thompson/Uptown White has a lot to offer prospective buyers as well as some red flags to keep an eye on. The things that impressed us the most about it are:
- Five-piece birch hardwood door, cabinet frame, and drawer face
- GreenSure eco-friendly finish throughout every interior surface and the exterior face
- Structurally sound Forevermark drawer box
- Straightforward assembly with door and hinges arriving pre-fabricated to the frame of the unit
Red flags that caught our attention are as follows:
- Thin paint on the exterior as well as the interior frame of the cabinet, caused by insufficient application of layers of Sherwin Williams paint
- Mediocre connecting parts holding the panels together
- The complete disarray of cabinet pieces in the packaging of the parcel
- Damaged back panel caused by said packaging
As it stands, the Thompson White has a classic, clean aesthetic composed of quality birch materials and an impressive finish to boot. Although the paint may be thin and the back panel is cracked, the unit still holds together nicely and will make a solid choice if your budget allows something on the medium-high end of the price spectrum. our suggestion, however, would be to go with the Ice White Shaker, as it is also from Forevermark but the detailed packaging protects the pieces from incurring any scrapes or cracks in traveling to its destination.
Grade: 3.7/ 5.0
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