Bradco Kitchens and Baths Production Facility

Bradco owns and operates a Maquiladora in Tijuana, Mexico, a production facility under the umbrella of the NAFTA agreement. The BRADCO Maquiladora is an AMERICAN production facility operating in Mexico. The idea behind NAFTA is to create labor jobs in Mexico so that Mexican people don’t have to cross the border to work illegally in America.

Sawdust is recycled to be used as mulchs at the Jose Maria Morelo Park in Tijuana, Mexico.

Our cabinet factory is well equipped but it is not fully automated; instead of relying on everything to be done by machinery, we also rely on hand labor. This allows us to be extremely custom oriented, reducing the amount of pollution into the environment while still being very competitive.

All the boxes are built with Purebond plywood, manufactured by Columbia Forest Plywood. What this means is that they contain no added UREA formaldehyde. As you may know UREA formaldehyde is a carcinogen, a toxin that is definitely not environmentally friendly and can also be harmful to those that breathe in the off gassing from cabinets made of this product. See the Purebond website for more information on the plywood that we use.

Spaghetti Measuring Tool

The stains, colors and glue that Bradco uses on their cabinets are also low VOC or ZERO VOC (Volatile Organic Compound); VOC also emits off gassing into the environment which is hazardous. We try and recycle as much by-product as possible. The sawdust that we generate gets donated to the city; they use it for mulch in public parks. We also recycle any leftover solid wood to make promotional products.

Bradco’s custom cabinets are UREA formaldehyde free and also available FSC certified. When remodeling your home, invest not only in quality work, but also in something that won’t harm your health as well as the environment. Learn more information on our production facility below.

Leila S

As seen on Yelp…

Bradco gave us a nicer kitchen than we thought we could afford ($15k). We have beautiful glass-front cabinets that go up to the ceiling with gorgeous moulding, Silestone countertops and table. Our cabinets and drawers do that auto-close thing, although I thought there was no way we could afford that, lo and behold when the cabinets were installed my husband noticed that we had it!
Michael, the owner, is fantastic. He answered the phone the very first time we called (with my husband in the background protesting “We can’t afford them!-He was wrong) and after the job was done when I mentioned that we had a bit of toe-kick that slipped out of place Michael e-mailed me personally to ask when they could come by to fix it (I still haven’t done that, it’s in a corner and just doesn’t bother me).
B&R did our installation, and Manny and his crew were fantastic. Every subcontractor they used was respectful, punctual, meticulous. Their plumber came late on a Friday night and stayed until the job was done so we could stay on schedule.
They interfaced with me beautifully on some wrought-iron pieces I had bought that had to be incorporated with the shelves and table.
Our kitchen job came in on time, on schedule, and exceeded our expectations. I read the critical reviews and frankly, the gentleman who stopped the installation was out of line, and I know this because I worked in construction management (on the Walt Disney Concert Hall, no less) where I handled construction contracts.
And as far as changes and adds go, yes, sometimes they are expensive, and sometimes not. Example: Manny suggested adding some downlights over our counter, which were very reasonable even with the added electrical and we love them, but the trim to hide them behind would have been another add, and it was super crazy expensive. Why? Because the finish had to match the cabinets exactly, and the cabinets were already done. So we just decided to do without the trim, and we don’t even notice it. And we still love our “Manny lights.”

Bradco and B&R are as world-class as the firms we had on site at the Concert Hall, and I have a beautiful kitchen to prove it.

Finishing Wood Touches for your Home

Beautifully finished wood products are a joy to behold! They create a sense of warmth and passion for the erudite observer with their richness, depth, and luster. Ugly finishes…well, that’s a different story! Bradco has a very close relationship with Columbia Forest Products, being their Pure Bond Fabricator Network. We only use the urea formaldehyde free Purebond Plywood from them for the custom cabinetry that we build. Read more about wood works from Columbia Forest Products.

Why do finishes sometimes turn out ugly?

Fine wood finishes require not only a systematic process and precise recipe, but also a level of artistry. Accomplishing such a finish additionally requires proper and absolutely necessary wood surface preparation. Ugly finishes typically result when shortcuts omit some aspects of this in an attempt to reduce costs, increase efficiency, or both.

Splotchy finish resulting from inadequate wood surface preparation

Wood is a remarkable material. Due to it’s organic structure, it has all kinds of avenues for a stain or dye to penetrate, including pores, vessel elements or vascular tracheids (depending on whether the species is of the hardwood or softwood group), and various types of wood cells. It is the penetration of the stain, sealing coat, and subsequent top coats into these structures that gives the finished product its appearance of depth. Generally speaking, these openings tend to be oriented in the direction of the grain, allowing stains or dyes to penetrate in a somewhat naturally controlled manner. However, when these openings are concentrated and oriented towards the surface, things start to get a little tricky. This most frequently occurs in the presence of figure, including wavy grain, curly grain, mottled grain, or grain deviation in proximity to knots. When this happens, the openings of the vessels, pores, and cells effectively form a pipeline for stain to penetrate deeper and less consistently. It is important to remember here that wood without figure is the exception – not the rule.

All the above are serious considerations in dealing with any decorative wood component, including solid doors, face frames, or anywhere solid wood is used, and they also apply when decorative panel products, or hardwood plywood, are used.

Barber Pole Effect

Faces for hardwood and decorative softwood plywood also present unique challenges. They are thinly cut either on a lathe (rotary cut) or a slicer (plain sliced, quarter sliced) and spliced together side to side to create a 48″ width. The most common form of pairing veneers from a given log is book matching, which requires turning over every other leaf of veneer to provide a flowing mirror image at the veneer joints. The downside of this practice is that the tight side of the veneer has different absorption attributes than does the loose side. (See Volume 2, Finishing Challenge: The Barber Pole Effect).

In addition to natural variation in wood, other factors that affect finish include insufficient or improper sanding, the nature of the substrate for hardwood plywood, ambient conditions, compatibility of stains, sealer coats, and topcoats, contamination of airlines in pneumatic systems, and many others.

Ok, so how do I get a fine finish in the face of all these challenges?

For purposes of this discussion, we will limit the topics to two concerns: finish preparation and stain color/sheen selection.

Sizing and Filling

In a by-gone era, finishing was done in a much different way than it is today. Generally speaking, today’s finishes are the result of a three or four, sometimes five-step process, including sanding, staining, sealing, sanding the sealer coat, and a top coat. For the most part, this creates an acceptable and often an exceptionally good finish. However, it’s those times when these methods produce a finish that is NOT acceptable that can be very frustrating, leaving the finisher to try to determine the cause. More often than not, that cause is determined to be the surface quality of the wood part being finished. Surprisingly, I actually agree with this finding, but probably not for the reasons you may think. Finish preparation, a process that is sometimes incomplete, is crucial to producing a fine final finish, and that is where we need to look more closely.

Way back when, finishing usually started with either a wash coat (or glue size) or a fill coat, depending on the porosity of the species. A wash coat consisted of a highly diluted sealer compatible with the topcoat that was to be applied. Glue size, a solution of glue and water, could also be used. After this coat was allowed to dry, the entire surface was sanded just prior to the application of a stain. The wash coat had two benefits: first, it would raise the loose fibers on the wood surface allowing them to be removed during preparatory sanding, and second, it would serve as a filler in those end grain regions and figured areas.Once it was sanded, the loose and tight regions of the wood surface would be effectively neutralized so that a stain could be applied more uniformly, and subsequent top coats would not penetrate more deeply into the loose areas of the wood.

Immediately after the wash coat was sanded, the first coat of finish (usually a pigment or stain) was applied, followed by alternately sanding and clear coating until the desired result was achieved.

For the more open grain species like oak or ash, a fill coat was applied at the beginning of the process. This can be best described as similar to a film of diluted putty that would dive into the pores and vessel elements so that after sanding, the surface was uniformly smooth. Following the sanding of the fill coat, stains and finishes were applied with sanding between each application of finish material.

These methods required some trial and error on scrap pieces to achieve the desired color, smoothness, and sheen, but the end result was a flawless and deeply beautiful finish.

Stain Color and Gloss Levels

Hardwood plywood may be produced utilizing a number of materials for the substrate, including veneer core (sometimes called plywood core), and the engineered cores such as particleboard and medium density fiberboard (MDF). I am often asked which core is best, and I always respond, “depends on the application.”

Medium Gloss Level

Where strength is an issue, veneer core has higher physical properties than particleboard or MDF. It has a very smooth surface and normally little thickness variation. However, it is a natural wood component, and as such some unavoidable attributes may show through the very thin decorative faces used today. Slight imperfections in the core surface, machine marks, and even the natural grain of the core may telegraph through the face and finish, particularly if the finish is a high gloss, or even worse if the finish is a high gloss over a dark stain. This finish virtually serves as a magnifying glass to highlight even the most subtle attributes of the core. Again, surface preparation is the key, along with selecting a satin or medium gloss top coat over a light color stain.

Particleboard and MDF may be a better choice in high exposure applications where strength is not so much an issue. Both have a very smooth surface, uniform thickness, and respectable physical properties. This makes them well suited for most finishes. However, even with particleboard and MDF, very dark stains coupled with a high gloss may and often exacerbate even the smallest imperfection in the core or face that may be present due simply to the very nature of wood as a raw material. More often than not, these imperfections defy detection until such finish is applied.

In closing…

A beautiful finish on a piece of fine furniture, millwork, or cabinetry is a marvel to behold. With the proper surface preparation, substrate selection, finishing materials, and finish application methods it is also achievable. The temptation to short cut any of these processes can and often produce less than satisfactory results and must be resisted whenever possible.

– Via the newsletter from our friends at Columbia Forest Products.