Traditional White Shaker (RTA Cabinet Store): Flimsy epoxy drawer glides
The cabinet under review today is the Traditional White Shaker cabinet in the B15 (basic 15 inches) model ordered from RTAcabinetstore.com. Arriving in 6 days, the Traditional’s shipping time to be received falls within the timeframe advertised on RTAcabinetstore.com’s website.
Wood and Finish
Door, Drawer Face, and Frame
The Traditional White Shaker Cabinet, like several other models reviewed on this website, arrived with the door pre-assembled to the frame. Personally, I find this to be an advantage as the chances to scratch or damage the paint and finish are significantly less when I don’t have to affix the door myself. Composed of a five-piece birch wood frame and MDF center panel, the door and drawer face are hard and tough, holding fast to the birch frame. Also to be noted are the vertical grooves found running along the door, drawer, and frame. The consistency brings an aesthetic appeal to the cabinet but simultaneously is a bit busy, particularly when installed into a kitchen with multiple units.
With an even texture consistent across the door, drawer face, and frame the Traditional Shaker cabinet has zero visible wood grains. This is notable because the paint application feels thinner to the touch than other White Shakers reviewed on this site, which would typically reveal the wood grains from the birch hardwood. Upon closer inspection, I find chipped paint on the bottom right corner (Pic 4), which is illustrative of the thin layer of paint on the cabinet door. Also, the top left-hand corner of the door arrived with some semi-sticky dirt-grime but I have easily been able to clean this off with lukewarm water and a washcloth (Pic 5).
Cabinet Box and Interior Finish
If you are in the market for a White Shaker with a matching interior to the exterior paint finish then the Traditional is a certainly a cabinet worth looking into. The paint itself is stained evenly throughout the interior of the box (Picture 6–left), but on the exterior there is a section on the upper-back-right hand corner where the paint is markedly falling away from the particle board. While this back corner of the cabinet will be imperceptible once the cabinet is installed, the chipping paint speaks to the quality of the paint and the care taken into protecting this product during its shipping route (Picture 7–right).
Box and Storage
The Traditional White Shaker from RTAcabinetstore.com has the industry standard “picture frame recess back panel” (Picture 8–below, top left) measuring 5/8 inch thick (Pic 9–below, top right). While this back panel retains this sturdy breadth, the bottom and side panels measure at ½ inch in thickness (Pictures 10, 11–below, bottom left and right).
As I am assembling the side panels to the cabinet frame and affixing the back panel to the unit, I discover something rather disappointing. Not only does the side panel along the back panel tongue and groove joint measure ¼ inch in thickness (Picture 12–below, left), but the left top rear corner has suffered substantial damage in the delivery process (Picture 13–below, right). Again, as this damage is located on a section of the cabinet that will be invisible once installed, it does not render the cabinet entirely wrecked. Exhibited in the picture, the damage exposes the fragility of the Traditional Shaker Cabinet’s ¼ inch thick tongue and groove joints and alerts potential owners of this model the hazards that come along with the unit.
This drawer box is unique in that the joints are held together with wood screws rather than dovetails (Picture 14–aside, right). This is the first time I have come across this method and I must admit it is very simple to direct the screws through the pilot holes and to assemble the drawer box, which holds together as a solid, secure unit I am confident will endure much usage. With a bottom drawer panel measuring ½ in thick (Picture 15–aside, left), the box of this drawer is on the more dependable end of the spectrum. That being said, there are some key issues with its storage capacity which prevent it from receiving a higher score.
While the depth of this drawer box is a satisfactory 3 inches (Picture 16–aside, left), lacking is the ability for the drawer to fully extend (Picture 17–aside, right). This is a key disadvantage for this unit, as full-extension drawers have become the industry standard. What is lost with this model drawer is a notable amount of storage space and the guarantee that items will be shoved to the back of the drawer and forgotten.
The Traditional White Shaker has a floating half-shelf measuring 12 inches in length (Picture 18–below, left) and incapable of storing much more than a few items. Finished on 3 sides, the shelf is able to be flipped in the event one side or the other is damaged (Picture 19–below, center). The plastic clips which hold the shelf in place are thin and flimsy (Picture 20–below, right), leaving me seriously questioning the durability of the shelf in its current location. In the event these clips are to break, however, they should be no problem to replace.
Attached to the door are quality hinges complete with built-in soft-close mechanisms (SCM). These SCM’s have become industry standard, so it is curious to find a cabinet having some hardware with the soft-close feature and other hardware without (Picture 21, below).
The side panels of the drawer box on the Traditional White Shaker cabinet arrived with epoxy under mount sliders pre-attached (Picture 22–below, left). Several things are to be noted regarding these drawer slides: most notable is the discovery that one of the pre-mounted slides is bent and falling off the side panel. The wood screw is stripped, rendering it unable to be firmly attached (Picture 23–below, center). I continue assembling the box but leave a message on RTAcabinetstore’s website relaying the issue, as the slide will undoubtedly succumb to light usage very quickly after installation (Picture 24–below, right).
As I have mentioned previous in this review, the Traditional White Shaker is delivered unequipped with full extension capabilities and soft-close mechanisms on the drawer itself. These features would be built into the drawer slide hardware but seeing as they are not, I am convinced to view these specific pieces of hardware as subpar to the industry standard.
A majority of the Connecting parts that come with this unit are composed of plastic. The plastic brackets which support the floating half-shelf, mentioned above in the “Storage” section, are flimsy and thin. The anchors that attach the supporting tracks of the drawer slides to the cabinet box consist of a hard plastic material and snap into place on the back panel of the box (Picture 25–above, left). The metal “L” brackets, which snap together to pre-mounted fittings on the side panels to assemble the cabinet box, are easy to mount onto the front and back panels using the wood screws provided and drilling them into the pilot holes (Pic 26–above, right).
The off-white plastic of the slider-track anchors and white stain on the “L” brackets give the matching white interior a sharp, consistent look combined with all the hardware in place (Picture 27–below, left). Along the top four corners of the Traditional cabinet’s box are plastic corner-brackets for added stabilization (Picture 28–below, right). While these also match the matching white interior of the unit, they aren’t as strong as wooden or metal corner brackets.
Assembly and Support
Although the pieces of the Traditional White Shaker are well organized in the package upon delivery, the protection within the package itself leaves me wanting for more. There is poor quality double corrugated cardboard separating the pieces with thin Styrofoam sheets loosely wrapped around the cabinet components (Pictures 29, 30, 31–below).
The instructions arrive in one of the two boxes labeled “Parts,” although the nuts and screws in both of these white boxes are unspecified on the instructions as to where they are intended to fit during the assembly process (Picture 32, below).
Ease of Assembly
As can be seen in the pictures above and below, the instructions provided with the traditional White Shaker operate more as a loose guide with simple picture diagrams than an in-depth explanation on how the cabinet fits together (Picture 33–left). This can be frustrating at certain points in time, particularly when attempting to sort out where the smaller pieces of hardware are meant to go in the unit. The metal “L” brackets snap into place easily once mounted on the front and back panels, with the ¼ inch screws being the obvious ones to fit into the pilot holes (Picture 34–right).
The response time concerning the drawer slide took several days, and only when I pursued a direct query through their website did I receive some direction on who to contact in order to get a replacement. No live chat is available through RTAcabinetstore’s website.
BBB = A-
Customer reviews: 9 positive reviews, 0 neutral, 4 negative (69% positive, 31% negative). Total Reviews: 13; Total Customer Complaints: 15
The reviews for RTAcabinetstore.com concerning Better Business Bureau are mostly positive, but there are enough official complaints filed on the website to bring attention to experiences customers have had with the company. Many of these issues are the same ones I experienced when dealing with their customer support, mainly regarding the response time from their team in offering solutions to replacing damaged parts. That being said, there are still several reviews with people expressing how accommodating the customer support has been so the experience I have had may not be the norm.
TrustPilot = 2/5 stars
Seven Reviews: 4 positive, 3 negative
The negative reviews on TrustPilot address the extensive response time (or complete lack of response) when individuals attempt to reach out to RTAcabinetstore.com, a problem which I, myself, have run into. The positive reviews focus on the wide variety offered by this vendor, the affordable pricing, and the easy installation. All three of these are true, but my focus is on finding the best quality RTA cabinet without counting price as a part of the criteria, as many low-quality units can be high-priced and sometimes the lowest priced cabinets end up being the highest quality.
The Traditional White Shaker cabinet from RTAcabinetstore.com boasts a matching white interior stain to compliment the exterior finish. The finish, while it is not the best one to have come across the workbench of this review site, is still satisfactory considering it covers a birch hardwood frame and 5-piece door surrounding an MDF center panel. Only the vertical grooves in the door, drawer face, and frame give me hesitation to fully endorse the aesthetic face of this cabinet.
Where this cabinet is truly docked is the storage capacity. The floating half shelf, while stained on three sides for flip ability, offers little in terms of surface area for storing items. The drawer box’s depth is sufficient at 3 inches, yet lacks both full extension as well as soft close mechanisms. Additionally, the under mount slides and tracks of the drawer are made of an epoxy that is simply not nearly as durable as the aluminum ones with which other models come equipped.
I would hesitate to recommend the Traditional White Shaker to an individual seeking the latest in cabinet industry standards. While it is affordable at its current retail rate of $141.37, the value and quality of cabinet you’d receive for investing a little more cannot be ignored.
Overall Score: 3.0/5.0