Vanilla Shaker from BOC: Maple wood door frame and strong cam lock assembly
Another shaker from Best Online cabinets is on the workbench today: the Vanilla Shaker graces our presence and offers plenty of pleasant surprises. Based on our experience with the BOC white shaker, our standards were set high and expectations sharp to see what this next B15 cabinet exhibits in comparison to the white shaker. bearing in mind this unit comes from another manufacturer than the white shaker, we will be paying attention to whether or not Best Online Cabinets sticks to the precedent of high-quality products and applies that precedent to each model offered through their online inventory.
We ordered this unit 4 days before it arrived, so the one-week time allotment for shipping remains accurate with BOC as they advertise on their website. Their support team is also more than happy to help track the progress of your parcel in its journey to the final destination.
Wood and Finish
Door, Drawer Face, and Cabinet Frame
Maple hardwood composes the door frame of this Vanilla Shaker. This choice to implement a quality hardwood increases the value of the unit and is impressive as far as concern for offering a superior product. Vertical routings are found running between the stiles and rails of the drawer face and cabinet door, a stylistic choice that achieves a traditional aesthetic with an appropriate amount of flair (Picture 2). The middle panels of both shaker style cabinet face doors (drawer and body) tout a simple hardwood, which would normally be susceptible to shrinking, expanding, and warping but in the case of this Vanilla Shaker may be avoided for the most part. Rubber-strip technology lines the inside back of the middle panel of the door (Picture 3), a feature we have not yet seen but read about in articles concerning innovative ways to avoid warping. This feature also allows for the middle-panel to be removed and reversed in the event that the owner of a unit would like to
give their kitchen a different look (Picture 4). On the backside of the middle panel, vertical routings are seen and if the door is reversed, the cabinet has a beach-house aesthetic. The option to have this door reversal is definitely not a hindrance, but rather offers a variable of stylish preferences to give one’s kitchen.
Grade: 4.0/ 5.0
Obviously, the paint of the Vanilla Shaker is going to be a slightly different hue than of a white shaker. Where this particular Vanilla Shaker succeeds is in the subtlety of the paint: it is barely noticeable except in certain lights and unless directly pointed out to the eye, one would assume it is a white shaker unit. Overall, the paint and finish are evenly applied across the face of the cabinet door for a smooth texture and soft effect. In this respect, the slightly off-white coloring of the paint works to the advantage of the paint in that the softness of the cabinet’s aesthetic is enhanced by the Vanilla shade (Picture 5). Only on the backside of the middle panel on this door do we find some minor bubbles in the paint and roughness in texture. Seeing as this door is composed of maple and hardwood, the proficiency of this paint job is highly impressive. Applying paint to a quality and authentic hardwood variety is a challenging task due to the wood grains and treatment of the product, but the Vanilla is successful in this regard.
Grade: 4.0/ 5.0
Cabinet Box Interior and Exterior
As can be seen in the picture at the top of this review, the Vanilla Shaker has a highly impressive interior finish found in the box storage. Across both side panels, the back panel, and the bottom panel the paint is evenly applied as well as found to be smooth. The only place discretions can be found is on the surface of the shelf, and since we are examining the interior paint job of the unit then the shelf itself falls under this category. A large crack in the paint can be seen where the shelf meets the side and back panels in the corner (Picture 6), a rather heinous discrepancy but also one that can be hidden by simply flipping the shelf over. The exterior sides of both side panels are painted to match the face and interior, consistent with the application exhibited on throughout the rest of the unit. Although these areas of the cabinet will likely not be seen once the full kitchen set of units is installed, this exhibits the quality of the product an the lengths to which the manufacturer is willing to go to ensure the satisfaction of the client.
Grade: 3.5/ 5.0
Box and Storage
With a picture frame recess back panel, the Vanilla Shaker shows much more stability than what we usually see in shaker units with this style back panel (Picture 7). Solid back panels will reliably maintain the stability of a unit for years to come, but the Vanilla shaker shows tremendous promise with the thickness of this back panel. Measuring 3/4 inch at the top of the picture frame back panel (Picture 8), the panel slides in place between the side panels by means of tongue in groove cuts. Decent quality plywood composes each of the box panels, with the side and bottom panels being no exception featuring nine ply layers at 5/8 of an inch thick (Pictures 9 and 10). Once all these panels are assembled together (including the toe-kick) the Vanilla Shaker is extraordinarily stable. This is noteworthy because the width of the panels (5/8 on both sides) is traditionally not as stable as the
thicker panels; but because of the quality of the plywood and the nature of the connecting hardware, the Vanilla Shaker is more than capable of holding its own against units with thicker plywood implemented in the construction of their side panels.
Grade: 4.0/ 5.0
We here at RTA Cabinet Reviews pay very close attention to each detail: from the interior finish to the dovetail cuts, a drawer box represents a concise summation of the overall quality of a cabinet. The Vanilla Shaker’s drawer box side and back panels measure 5/8 inch, the same width as the side panels of the cabinet box itself, but these side panels of the drawer box are composed of a solid hardwood fit together with varying cuts (Picture 11). A clean laminate-veneer finish coats the entirety of the drawer box interior, smooth to the touch and evenly applied across all visible surfaces, including one side of the bottom panel. With only one finished side to the bottom panel, it is obvious which side faces up. The only negative concerning panel composition is the width (or lack thereof) of this bottom panel: 3/8 of an inch, making it fit loose between the grooves routed on the side and back panels (Picture 12). While the
bottom panel may have some wiggle room, the dovetailing fits snug and holds the body of the drawer box together without shaking or wobbling (Picture 13). As a whole, the drawer box of the Vanilla Shaker is an impressive representation of the cabinet (Picture 14).
Grade: 4.5/ 5.0
Another key positive characteristic of the Vanilla Shaker is the full-body box shelf reaching from the back of the unit to the front where the cabinet face is located (Picture 15). Unlike the BOC White Shaker, the Vanilla Shaker does not feature a frameless cabinet face as can be seen in the picture to the right. The frameless feature is a characteristic seen most frequently in European style cabinets, but we have kept our eyes peeled to see it implemented in a traditional shaker style unit.
Flush-frame faces allow for more storage in cabinets and also allow for items to be placed into and pulled out of the cabinet body with extreme ease. The Vanilla still features storage space aplenty and utilizes the 22-inch long shelf to occupy the negative space that many floating half-shelves leave in the absence of the extra space (Picture 16). We are grateful for this 3/4 inch thick Vanilla shelf (Picture 17) that is finished on four sides, as the half-shelves make poor use of an otherwise valuable area in the body of a cabinet that should serve to fulfill a unit’s intended purpose: to house items with easy accessibility.
Although we have regaled the build of the drawer box, we haven’t addressed the nature of the storage space offered in the top area of the Vanilla Shaker. The depth explicitly illustrates the number of items a drawer box is capable of holding, and with the depth featured in the Vanilla, we are beyond excited to hold our measuring tape against the bottom and side panels. At a surprising 3 1/2 inches deep, this drawer box more than holds its own against the other drawer boxes we have reviewed (Picture 18). Coupled with the full extension capability of the drawer glides (Picture 19), the storage ability of the Vanilla Shaker’s drawer box and cabinet body offers ample space to keep items and access them without issue.
Grade: 4.5/ 5.0
When we examine the hinges of an RTA cabinet, we look at the manufacturer of the hinges and research their performance in comparison to other hinge brands. The hinges of the Vanilla Shaker are DTC brand, which is industry standard and decent quality hinges for an RTA cabinet. We have seen these hinges on several units up until this point and they have consistently performed well. Complete with the soft-close features, the most unique feature concerning these hinges is that they arrive pre-mounted to the door as well as the cabinet frame. Even more impressive, the protective wrapping enclosing the Vanilla Shaker’s door is tied down underneath the mounted door hinges (Picture 20). This ensures the plastic stays in place during the shipping process and preserves the integrity of the paint on the cabinet’s face.
Grade: 4.0/ 5.0
Drawer slides set the bar (literally) for the functionality of a unit, as they are continuously sliding in and out of the unit multiple times a day for years on end. The name brand seen on the side of these drawer slides is Taiming, which is considered BLUM grade quality hardware (Picture 21). This is top notch drawer glide hardware, pre-greased along the glides and mounting to the drawer box from underneath. The fronts of the slides attach at the front of the cabinet with wood screws tacked into the cabinet frame through pilot holes. We recommend starting the wood screws with a power drill then switching to a hand driver in order to avoid cracking the wood of the cabinet frame. At the back of the cabinet body, these Taiming hinges are supported with aluminum brackets; this tells us that the drawer slides can support the weight of a full drawer.
Grade: 4.5/ 5.0
Paying close attention to the connecting hardware will tell us how well a cabinet unit will hold together. Whether it is metal “L” brackets, cleats, or a form of cam locks, a cabinet’s stability is determined by how effectively the hardware holds the panels together and supports the drawer glides. Concerning the connecting hardware of the Vanilla Shaker, the first characteristic we notice upon unpackaging the drawer slides are the aluminum brackets that attach to the inside of the back panel to support the weight of the drawer box (Pictures 22 and 23).
Pilot holes guide wood screws through the designated holes in the brackets; we suggest using a power drill to slowly guide these wood screws in place before fully tightening them into place. These brackets can be relied upon to support the weight of a full drawer box and remain in place for years to come.
We’ve seen many different forms of cam locks cross our workbench throughout the many reviews written up. The receiving locks are pushed into pre-bored holes on the side and back panels by hand (Picture 24). It is crucial to pay close attention that the small arrows on the face-side of these receiving locks are pointing towards the outside edges of the panels, as they will hold the metal pegs that ultimately will be inserted and locked into place to
hold the unit together (Picture 24). These metal pegs (or “male” ends of the cam locks) are tightened into plastic mountings with a hand driver and hold fast to both the panel as well as the “female” cam lock piece once inserted and turned clockwise 3/4 of a turn (Picture 25). Once the cam locks are all locked into place, the Vanilla Shaker unit is one of the more stable units we have assembled and can be depended upon to hold together for many years.
Grade: 4.5/ 5.0
Assembly and Support
The exterior packaging of the Vanilla Shaker presents an interesting look at how this unit is preserved when shipped to its destination. Single-corrugated cardboard encloses the exterior of the parcel and is taped together at every seam to keep the cardboard together (Picture 26). Once we cut away the tape an open the packaging, the interior of the Vanilla Shaker’s parcel is arranged with decent organization to protect each panel and piece; a single styrofoam sheet intertwined throughout the elements of the cabinet is all that really protects these pieces from rubbing and scraping against one another (Picture 27). Four hard cardboard corner protectors are found in each corner to protect the unit in the event it is dropped during transit (Picture 28).
Most impressive concerning the packaging of the Vanilla Shaker is the thick plastic found wrapped around the door of the cabinet upon arrival (Picture 29). As we previously mentioned in the Hinges section, this plastic wrapping is held in place beneath the pre-mounted DTC soft-close hinges, which keeps the plastic from moving around or falling off as the parcel makes its way to its final destination. The single thin styrofoam sheet encases the cabinet frame, door, and drawer face, separating these pieces while still protecting them from scraping against one
another. The drawer glides and hardware are contained in their own separate packaging, with the cam locks and wood screws in a Ziploc bag and the drawer glides, brackets, and glide clips in a long cardboard box (Picture 30). This makes it easier to organize the connecting hardware and expedites the assembly process.
Grade: 3.0/ 5.0
Ease of Assembly
The first key thing on which to take note under this category is the lack of directions included with the unit. This is the second cabinet from Best Online Cabinets absent of guided instructions, which is a frustrating factor to take into account when assembling a unit (especially if the builder has not had the opportunity to assemble many cabinets prior to this). That being said, the process is straightforward: the metal pegs of the cam locks are screwed into plastic threads pre-mounted on the panels, as can be seen in Picture 31 on the toe kick. Once you go through and hand-tighten each of these metal pegs in place (Picture 32), the bottom and back panels slide into place through the tongue and groove cuts before the receiving ends of the cam locks are turned to lock in place (Picture 33). Once turned 3/4 to a full turn, these cam locks bite and hold in place very effectively.
Once all the cam locks are tightened in the appropriate places, the overall look of the Vanilla Shaker is impressively clean, with each cut found on all the panels even and straight (Picture 34). We are a little surprised at truly how stable this unit is after it is successfully assembled, barely shaking or wobbling when the unit is leaned upon or the drawer is retracted and pushed back into the cabinet. We mentioned before how the drawer slides attach to the cabinet frame (Picture 35), but their assembly is very quick and painless compared to some of the
other glides we’ve fixed in place, particularly the Simply White Shaker. Wood screws are tacked into place through pilot holes in the undermount drawer slides, with a power drill being the best means to start the wood screws and a hand driver to finish it off. Although the Vanilla has no instructions, the assembly process is quickly understood and will not take very long to complete.
Grade: 4.0/ 5.0
The customer service offered by BOC is above and beyond. Their team sets the bar high with quick responses to live chats, emails, and immediately picking up the phone. Any and all questions I had concerning the unit were answered with punctuality, clarity, and efficiency. With a quick shipping time and an online store that is easy to navigate, we cannot recommend seeking the assistance of the BOC team in designing your kitchen. With quality products and a clear goal to make the process as easy as possible for their clients, Best Online Cabinets brings levity to an otherwise stressful and daunting project.
Grade: 5.0/ 5.0
Houzz = 2 Service Awards, a Knowledge Award, Professionalism Award, 250 client “Saves,” and an astounding 16 5-Star Reviews
The reviews for Best Online Cabinets on Houzz are consistently five-star write-ups among the 16 individuals who have taken the time to recall his and her experiences working with the company. From 2015 to as recently as last week before this review has been written, clients cannot say enough positive things about BOC, the products, the customer service, and the affordability offered. In particular, “Ed” is referenced as being essential to the completion of several kitchens in the reviews. With 250 Houzz saves and two awards from the website (Best Service 2017 and 2018), our confidence in BOC is solidified from this reputable home renovation review website.
BBB = A+ Grade, 3 Positive Reviews, 0 Neutral, 0 Negative; 3 Total Reviews with 100% positive feedback and 0 complaints filed against the company
Although there are only 3 Reviews, the length and detail each review goes into (coupled with the pure positive tone of all 3), illustrates a client base that is beyond satisfied with his and her experiences in working with Best Online Cabinets. One individual, a contactor with 8 years of cabinet installation experience, regales the solid rubberwood door approach the BOC white shaker touts as it is resistant to the shrinkage and expansion of wood typically seen in conventional 5-piece white shaker cabinet doors.
TrustPilot = 4/5 stars with a TrustScore of 8.7 out of 10; 98 Reviews: 71% 5-stars, 15% 4-stars, 7% 3-stars, 3% 2-stars, 3% 2-stars
Overwhelmingly positive reviews give BOC one of the highest scores on TrustPilot we have yet seen from all the online cabinet stores from whom we have ordered products. The negative reviews concern damage during shipping, warped panels on larger vanity cabinets, and the longest negative review written up reads as if the builder made multiple mistakes during assembly. With so much positive feedback and so many reviews espousing the quality of the product and reliable customer service, we here at RTA Cabinet Reviews go with the quantifiable numbers, which logically lead us to the conclusion that Best Online Cabinets truly lives up to its name.
Although the paint of the Vanilla Shaker is not a true white, we still consider it a white shaker because of the nature of the design on the cabinet face. We find many more things impressing us on this cabinet than features which disappoint us. The main positive characteristics are the following:
- Solid maple hardwood door frame enclosing a solid wood middle panel
- Thick, evenly applied finish all over the cabinet’s face, interior body, exterior panels, and on the inside of the drawer box
- Quality plywood composing the side, back, and bottom panels
- Sturdy and deep drawer box with clean dovetailing
- Full-body adjustable shelf, measuring 22 inches long
- Quality hinges, drawer glides, aluminum brackets, and cam locks that bite into place fast and dependably hold the unit together as one
The few negative attributes of the Vanilla Shaker are not ones that necessarily spell “low-quality” in our eyes; regardless we saw the following as disappointing:
- Major cracks and splintering in the wood and paint of the full-body shelf
- Thin exterior cardboard packaging and minimal styrofoam protection enclosing the interior elements of the parcel
- Lack of instructions or a picture guide to coach the builder through the assembly, proving to be slightly frustrating for some individuals
Best Online Cabinets delivers again with a high-quality RTA cabinet unit in the Vanilla Shaker. While there may be no instructions included with this unit, the assembly process is straightforward as a result of the naturally strong cam locks and the method they lock in place. Quality maple wood found on the door frame is the foundation of this impressive cabinet with the reversible middle panel, and the only reason it falls short of the BOC White Shaker are the cracks in the shelf’s paint and the thinness of the panels in comparison. Otherwise, so long as the client is fine with a cabinet that is not “true-white,” we stand beside the Vanilla Shaker as a premium choice.