Custom Millwork vs Factory-Crafted Cabinetry

Custom Millwork vs Factory-Crafted Cabinetry
schmalenbach german cabinetry artisan checking for quality in the cabinet factory in germany

Custom millwork can sound more, well…custom…than factory-crafted cabinetry. But that is not true. At least, not in the case of our German cabinetry. We would like to share some differences between custom woodworking done on-site or in a woodworking shop near your location and custom cabinets precision-manufactured and finished in a climate-controlled factory. Consider these differences when choosing a custom cabinetry craftsman for your dream kitchen, living area, media room, wardrobe, bath, or any room.

The term “factory-crafted cabinetry” makes most luxury cabinet buyers think of mass production. Perhaps your mind drifts to the cabinetry aisles in big box stores where you select the cabinets that will best fit your kitchen, then use filler panels to hide all the wasted space. Because of this perception, many luxury cabinetry buyers turn to custom millwork companies in their area or a local carpenter. But let us change your perception. The eggersmann craftspeople are hands-on artisans who produce one-of-a-kind pieces of cabinetry and related products but do so using highly precise machinery that makes their craftsmanship a higher quality. The eggersmann factory is a hybrid of mechanization, controlled environment, and craftsmanship.

Let’s compare some of the ways that we offer the customization and experienced craftsmanship of woodworking mills but with the quality control of a factory.

Custom Finishes

A local millwork company or on-site carpenter is not the only source of a 100% custom finish.

Our German cabinetry factory at eggersmann offers not only a wide variety of stone, décor, and handstitched book- and grain-matched veneers from exotic woods with unique finishing techniques, but also custom lacquers to make any surface your very own.

We can match your existing palette, a shirt you love…once accommodated a client’s request to match a pool house bath vanity to a Porsche turquoise blue car color using our custom lacquer system.

eggersmann custom lacquer color-matching on a bath vanity in porsche turquoise blue
eggersmann cabinetry with interior custom lacquer in a purple hue

Quality and Durability of Finishes

We encourage people contemplating using custom millwork to consider the quality and durability of the finishes. Finishes applied onsite or in a local shop can be affected by dust, drafts, temperature changes, and humidity. Our factory in Hiddenhausen, Germany, is a controlled environment that utilizes innovative equipment and processes run by experienced craftsmen that make it possible to get a very durable mirror finish with no defects that can reduce the appearance and life of a finish.

Our factory’s quality control is meticulous, frequently testing new materials and procedures extensively to ensure quality finishes, impeccable joinery, and highly functional mechanicals such as drawer glides.

Whether you choose a custom finish or from our available selections, your cabinetry will be finished to your specifications with a lifelong factory finish. Factory-finished cabinets are much more resistant to dings, scratches, and wear on edges and near handles than cabinetry finished onsite. This means your cabinetry will continue to offer beauty without costly and inconvenient maintenance of sanding and re-finishing every few years.

Variety of Finishes Available

Most local custom woodworking shops focus on relatively small range of stains, lacquers, and paints. A local millworker may offer specialty trims and styles, especially in an area where renovations of vintage or antique homes are popular. This local flavor may be best supplied by a local woodworking shop especially when you are matching antique trims and finishes.

Because larger cabinet builders such as eggersmann produce more units and work in a controlled environment, their finish offerings will always be much more diverse with luxury melamine, custom factory-applied lacquers, color-matching technology, glass cabinet fronts, specialty veneers, and even specialty grain-matching may be available.

Most woodworking shops build with popular woods such as oak, cherry, or walnut, but our veneers offer a wide variety of exotic wood grains with unusual finishing such as smoked to bring out the grain. And features such as metal-framed glass-front cabinetry are not available from most local carpenters or mills because they are skilled in working with wood and do not have the highly specialized equipment to create metal-framed glass doors.

Custom Cabinet Construction

Quality of Cabinet Construction

Your eggersmann designer will work with you or your interior designer or architect to maximize space utilization with cabinets that fit to the millimeter and in finishes and functionality that reflects your style and needs. That cabinetry and surrounding finishes will be built using a combination of computer-guided equipment for carcasses and precise finish edges. But craftsmen are often creating specialty finishes like hand-stitched exotic wood veneers or creating a cabinet solution that cannot be produced on our machines. This is what sets eggersmann apart from other cabinet factories. We offer customization from start-to-finish using both state-of-the-art and Old-World techniques.

Another myth that many people seeking a millwork company believe is that solid wood is the best cabinet-building material. There is a reason that our cabinets utilize triple-layer furniture board for cabinet carcasses and fronts. With solid wood, moisture content of the wood can cause warping and even variation in finish.

Do not confuse luxury furniture board with particle board. Rather, it is very stable, cuts precisely, and is incredibly durable. eggersmann offers additional specialty plyboards to accomplish goals such as longer span lengths in the cabinetry, zero VOC emissions, and even waterproof MDF.

eggersmann luxury cabinetry furniture board grades

Handmade sounds more custom, but our German craftsman use a combination of handcrafting with state-of-the-art equipment to provide precision, smooth surfaces, and consistence of project that 100% hand-crafted cannot provide.

It can be a challenging prejudice to overcome if you believe that a local millwork shop is more custom, but we encourage you to explore this with our team.

Variety of Styles Available

Door styles can also be more limited with custom millwork shops as each style such as Shaker, paneled, etc., requires special equipment to build. This requires large investments that, in most cases, only factories with larger quantities produced can afford. If you need a very specific style, especially that is unique to your region, a custom millwork shop may be for you.

Custom cabinet factories like eggersmann can offer a wide variety of doors in classic, modern, contemporary, transitional, and traditional styles.

Cabinet Size Customization

Another factor is the degree of customization when it comes to cabinet size. Both small and large companies who make custom cabinets will adjust the dimensions to fit your kitchen’s layout.

You may find that a local millworker may have limitations in terms of span lengths for cabinetry and shelving especially if they use solid wood. Luxury furniture board has additional advantages in addition to its superior stability and lighter weight. Different densities and varying core content of furniture board offer enormous spans for larger, more open cabinetry and shelving. For wider and longer spans, eggersmann employs core board which is engineered and constructed using laminated solid layers stacked in alternating directions to increase strength, stability, and resistance to warping.

Cabinet Fit and Space Utilization

When investing in new cabinetry, it is vital to maximize space utilization and create a cabinet plan that works for what you want to store and how you function in the space. Our cabinet designers in our showroom design a wide variety of kitchens, closets, media rooms, and all sorts of spaces every day and have innovative solutions that match your cabinets to how you use the room. We measure on-site and coordinate with your general contractor and trades to ensure any dimension changes that may occur in the space while your cabinets are being built are accounted for.

You may find this same knowledge and attention to detail at a local millwork company but ask lots of questions to ensure that your space will function as envisioned. We utilize drawings and 360-degree virtual walk-throughs to help our technical designers and you see how one decision affects another when designing your cabinetry.

Cabinetry Installation

Installation Challenges

No matter whether you hire a custom millwork company or a custom factory cabinetmaker like eggersmann, all cabinetry installations have challenges. It may be that a plumber or electrician did not follow plan, or a different customer-ordered appliance changed dimensions, but there is always something to contend with.

Some cabinet buyers believe that a custom millwork company has the advantage here as they are local and can adjust more easily. But not true! In addition to measuring multiple times before cutting your cabinetry components to ensure a millimeter fit, our design and installation teams, just like most millwork carpenters, are on location during the dry fit and following installation to ensure that all goes smoothly, and the necessary adjustments are made.

Delivery Schedule

The amount of time required to construct and install cabinets varies greatly among cabinetry companies, local carpenters, and larger factories. This is an area to ask for referrals and ask questions.

Though your cabinetry will be specified with you in person, it will be built in our state-of-the-art cabinet factory in Hiddenhausen, Germany. This sounds time-consuming as your cabinets will be shipped across the Atlantic, but keep in mind that our professional factory is efficient and has capacity that smaller local millwork companies may not have. Also, any local luxury-level millworker is using German hardware which has extended lead times for shipping. Why not get your cabinets built at the source?

Project Management

The ability to manage and communicate about cabinetry production schedules and cooperate effectively with other trades, designers, architects, and builders or their general contractors varies greatly between companies, both local custom millwork businesses and cabinet factories. So, it is important to check reviews and ask your cabinet builder for information about their experience producing and managing similar projects. Building out one closet is a different magnitude to a whole house cabinetry design and build project. Our team at eggersmann does both, just be sure your millwork company or carpenter do.

Our eggersmann showrooms and the factory provide regular updates using a standard process to create drawings, incorporate client and the trades’ needed changes, and then to communicate regularly about production and delivery schedules. Project management and installation are areas that eggersmann excels. Though a larger national (actually global) company, you will receive a concierge-level of personal service during design, installation, and ownership of your cabinetry.

Cabinetry Pricing: Custom Millwork vs Factory-Built

Prices of cabinetry vary widely depending on finishes, materials, specialty designs such wide-span materials, and many factors. It is surprising to many comparing luxury cabinetry options that often projects quoted by both a custom woodworking shop and eggersmann are often similar in price.

Price, though important, will likely not be the driving factor to choose between custom millwork or custom factory cabinetry. Quality, customization, personal service, and delivery schedules are the most likely factors to base your decision on.


Factory-made cabinetry is not the same as pre-made cabinetry. Cabinets built to order in a factory can be just as custom as local millwork-built cabinetry, if not more so, with more storage accessory and finish options available. After weighing the pros and cons of factory-crafted over local millwork-built, if you value custom finishes, quality construction, and peerless finishing, consider eggersmann.

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