U.S. and Canadian Cabinetmaking Standards

A brief discussion of AWI standards and Canada's AWMAC standards. July 21, 2006

I've been building and installing kitchen cabinets for 15 years. We have a two person shop here on the East Coast of Canada. Business has been good and steady for the last 5 or more years. I think we do decent, quality work but I am wondering if there is a set of standards for cabinet making besides experience and viewing other's work to improve. I came across a book from AWI, "AWI Quality Standards Illustrated version 8.2" on standards. Could anyone recommend this book? I am curious about information on standards and the idea of a shop my size.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor L:
We have a 4 man shop and have been A.W.I. members for 5 years. I find that the quality standards come in handy when an architect specs something that is not feasible, for example a 15' run of floor to ceiling cabinets with 1/4" scribe fillers at the top and sides. The standards call for a minimum filler of 3/4" and a maximum of 1-1/2" in premium grade. The standards give you a leg to stand on when you are hashing out the details. A.W.I. breaks it in to economy, custom, and premium grade. For the most part, the standards are based in common sense and if you are doing good work, you are probably already working to custom or premium grade anyway. The book is free with a membership.

From the original questioner:
From what you wrote, I'm sure I can't go wrong in purchasing it. Becoming a member of A.W.I. will have to wait until I hear and read more of its benefits. What I like to hear about A.W.I. are the pros and cons from small shops owners like our own. Are there any Canadian small shops that are members of this organization?

From contributor M:
As a Canadian the equivalent association is A.W.M.A.C. (Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada). I'm not a member but I remember being shown a book of standards at Conestoga College and thinking it would be handy to show apprentices and to photocopy instead of providing shop drawings. Replying to a designer with "Constructed to A.W.M.A.C. standards" would sure save time.

From contributor A:
A.W.I. is a USA standard as note above. A.W.I. mainly deals with commercial work here in the US. Basically it boils down that there is a link between the architect and the millwork manufacture and that both parts know what to expect from each other. I am not sure how it works in Canada, but that is my take on the US version. Also California has their own standards other than A.W.I., and from time to time we run into that. The two different standards are very similar. Id suggest checking out the website if you want more information http://www.awinet.org/.