Build DIY Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets from IPC (Society Hill Line)
On Tuesday, I told you about our experience with In Stock Kitchens (aka: Closeout Cabinets, Interstock Premium Cabinetry, IPC). The claim to fame of this Chinese cabinet manufacturer is solid wood cabinets at “half the price” of custom cabinetry.
In very brief summary, we were impressed with the quality and look of the cabinets, but disappointed with the customer service. Read the review at the link above for more information. You can also follow this link for IPC’s main e-commerce site.
As promised in the first article, this article follows-up with some detailed pictures of the assembly of one of the cabinets to give you an idea of what to expect out of the box with “ready to assemble” cabinets from IPC.
If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you’re at least a little skeptical of the quality of the cabinets IPC sells. The price is much better than most of the retail competition out there. While not quite half of the price of the competitors we shopped, IPC was still about 40% lower than the other quotes we received for comparable solid wood cabinets.
Our cabinets ended up costing $6,200. Two quotes from the competition came in at $9,500 and $10,500. In all cases we were responsible for the installation ourselves; however, in the case of IPC, we also had to assemble the cabinets, which took about 10 hours for two of us to complete 17 cabinets.
The rest of this article walks through the assembly of IPC’s Society Hill 15 inch base cabinet with an optional trash can assembly. The whole assembly took about 45 minutes with us stopping every now and then for pictures. Check out the video at the bottom of the article to see the soft close drawers in action!
Building Solid Wood Cabinets from IPC
This particular cabinet is going to house a double roll out trash can kit that is sold separately. You can see that the cabinet itself ships in a pretty flat box. This is typical of IPC cabinets. The boxes are all a little larger than the side or face of the enclosed cabinet, whichever is bigger.
Inside the box are all the components for the cabinet, but somewhat surprisingly, no instructions! Fortunately, these cabinets are “designed for assembly” which essentially means there’s pretty easy to figure out, even without instructions. Notice that the door is pre-mounted on European hinges to the face of the cabinet. The drawer front is actually not pre-mounted, its just sitting on top of the door in this picture.
To get started, you lay the back of the cabinet flat and attach the first side. You can see that there are three pre-mounted L-brackets on these two components that align. We were impressed that on all 17 cabinets we assembled, the L-brackets perfectly lined up on all components. That is a testimony to how refined the manufacture process is on these cabinets.
The second side goes on exactly the same way. After this, the routed channel on the left, back, and sides of the cabinet line up. This channel will house the bottom shelf of the cabinet.
At this point, you apply construction adhesive around the routed edge to prepare for the bottom shelf to be inserted.
Then, insert the bottom shelf into the groove, and wipe away excess glue.
After that, tighten down all the L-bracket connectors. This involves tightening the two outer screws on each “strap” and then adding a third screw that actually goes through the bracket and the strap (not pictured, but you can see the center hole below).
At this point, you have a cabinet with two sides, a back, and a bottom lying on its back. Apply construction adhesive to the front edges of the sides and bottom, preparing to fasten the face of the cabinet in place. You can see that the face of the cabinet will also be connected using L-brackets, and is routed to accept the sides and bottom of the cabinet.
Next, lower the face of the cabinet onto the sides and bottom. The L-brackets fit neatly into the straps on the side and bottom of the cabinet, and the routed edges will cover all faces and “snap” into place. The brackets provide strength while the glue is drying.
This angle from the bottom shows what the tongue-and-groove fit looks like down by the toe kick. It also shows how nicely the front frame has been joined, sanded, and finished for the cabinet face. It is very smooth.
With the cabinet face attached, the bottom of the cabinet is finished by installing the toe kick. IPC offers two options for finishing toe kicks. The first is to install only the included toe kicks on every cabinet individually, which leaves a small gap between each cabinet. This can be problematic if you need to shim some of the cabinets in front or if you just don’t like the small gap.
As an alternative, you can buy 8 foot toe kick lengths that are 1/4″ thick and run them across all the cabinets after they are installed. We have decided to install the individual toe kicks and run the 8 foot toe kick sheet in front of them for a cleaner look.
The bottom of the cabinet is now assembled, so the cabinet can be set upright.
The next step is to install plastic corner braces at the top of the cabinet. These braces provide additional rigidity to the cabinet. They are absent on wall cabinets where the top of the cabinet is identical to the base, and plywood fits into routed edges of the sides, back, and front. (Recall from our review that all the wall cabinets are reversible).
After all four braces are installed, the next step is to install the under mount drawer slides. The Society Hill line of cabinets features soft close under mount slides. The first step is to connect the slide mounts to the back of the cabinet. The pilot holes are pre-marked to make it easy to line these up. Incidentally, this picture also shows the L-bracket and strap with the fifth screw installed through both.
Attached to this bracket are the slide rails, which rest on the drawer opening in front and are secured to the side of the opening.
The drawer boxes ship pre-assembled. The only thing that must be installed are plastic slide catches that hold the drawer onto the slides. If there’s any component in the entire setup that feels a little “cheap”, it’s these plastic components, although they haven’t failed so far.
The drawer box then slips right onto the rails. The final step is to install the drawer face onto the box, which requires two screws for this size drawer. The larger drawers require four screws.
All of IPC’s cabinets feature full extension drawers, which means the back of the drawers come out all the way to the edge of the cabinets so that the entire drawer space is usable. You can also see on the picture below that the drawer boxes incorporate dovetail joints for strength.
Here’s the assembled Society Hill 15 inch base cabinet.
This cabinet also included an optional trash can mounting kit for the base. Installation is pretty simple, and requires mounting the base with 6 screws after the cabinet assembly is complete.
And finally, I thought it would be fun to snap a quick video to show you the hinges and the soft close drawers in action, since a picture alone can really to justice to them.
Questions & Your Review?
Feel free to pepper us with questions and comments on the cabinets. We’d also be interested in hearing your experience if you installed IPC cabinets in your own home.
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