Frequently Asked Questions

Business Conditions and Terms

Is there a fee for design services?

There is no fee if you have a drawing. If no drawing exists, we charge $80 per hour for design time, however, this fee is deducted from the cost of the job if you place an order.

Do you provide drawings?

We will make a simple concept sketch once we have discussed the project to clarify our understanding of the job and for estimating purposes. Formal shop drawings are provided for your approval after we receive a deposit.

What are the payment terms?

We require 50% of the total as a deposit, 40% upon completion of the construction, and 10% upon installation. We encourage our clients to come see the work in progress at the time of the second billing.

Do you accept credit cards?

No, we do not accept credit cards.

Is your work guaranteed?

Custom entertainment center by Sherman and GosweilerWe guarantee all of our work, both materials and workmanship, for the lifetime of the cabinet.
However, accidental damage, wear from normal use and changes in conditions in the building may require some adjustment to the cabinets. (For instance, large built-ins, especially those placed in newer homes, may need minor adjustment after the house settles). In any of these cases, we will be pleased to send a technician to do touch up work or make adjustments for a modest fee.

Design Process and Timeline

How long does it take to complete the design process?

This varies from job to job, for instance; if you have a picture of something you like it will greatly reduce the design time. A design for a smaller job like a free-standing piece of furniture or a vanity can take as little as 1-2 hours. More complex projects may take 4-6 hours and a complicated configuration like a kitchen may require 8-12 hours.

Once the design is complete how long will it take to get the quote?

We usually supply quotes in about two days. A larger project that requires pricing for exotic veneer, metal work, glass and stone may take up to a week.

Can you design a cabinet to match a piece of furniture we already have?

Detail of carved wood bar - Sherman and GosweilerYes! Your existing furnishings are often the inspiration for custom designed work. We are frequently asked to match the details and finish on an existing unit. We also specialize in duplicating old or antiqued finishes.

How long will it take to complete the job?

Simple pieces of furniture typically take about 4-6 weeks from the signing of the contract and receipt of the deposit. Use of exotic materials may add another week or two. Large built-ins or kitchens will normally take 8-12 weeks to complete.


How long does an installation take?

90% of our built in work can be installed in one day. The actual length of an installation will vary depending on the site conditions and scope of the project.

How do you get large built-in pieces up elevators or through narrow hallways and doors?

We make very precise measurements, not just of the actual space the cabinets will occupy but the access path as well including elevators, stairwells, hallways, etc. The unit is then designed so every part can pass through these openings.

Can we take our built-in cabinets with us if we move?

Custom kitchen cabinets with bar by Sherman and GosweilerGenerally speaking, built-ins are site-specific and add value to the house. However, anything that is put in can be taken out and we have disassembled and moved many cabinets over the years.

Will you do installations outside of the Philadelphia area?

Yes, we have done installations as far away as New England, Washington, D.C. and even Florida. We routinely work at the Jersey Shore. If you are doing a project in a distant location, we can coordinate with your contractor for field measurements and then supervise their installation of our work if needed.

Do you handle the plumbing, electrical or A/V work if needed?

Generally not, however, we will coordinate with other trades on the job during the design phase right through to the installation. For example, special care must be taken to insure that A/V equipment has enough air space around it and allowances are made for air flow, either passively with vents and slots in the floor, shelves and back of the cabinet or with fans. We will be in touch with the A/V installer to be sure that all the ventilation requirements are met.

Sherman and Gosweiler

Do you have a showroom?

Carved fireplace and mantle - Sherman and GosweilerYes. We have a variety of finished work on display, numerous samples of veneers, various finishing techniques, and stain colors. Please give us a call if you’d like to visit our shop.

How many years have you been in business?

We have been in business since 1976, 35 years as of July, 2011.

Products and Materials

Are your cabinets built with solid wood or veneer?

We use both solid wood and veneered plywood for construction of our cabinets. Each material has its own advantages and limitations and when used appropriately, both will compliment and enhance the cabinet.
Solid wood holds up better in a situation that will get heavy usage, the leading edge of a counter or a table leg for instance. Also, any shaped profile that is required will be done in solid wood. However, solid wood expands and contracts. For this reason, cabinet boxes are almost always constructed of veneered plywood where stability is critical. Veneer is in fact solid wood sliced very thin, therefore, by using veneer cut sequentially, we can create repeating patterns from one door to the next which gives the piece a more upscale, custom look.

What kind of finish is used on the cabinet?

Custom entertainment center - Sherman and GosweilerWhether for a solid color or a clear finish we use catalyzed conversion varnish, (CV). These finishes can be applied in an infinite range of sheens from satin to hand rubbed, high gloss while maintaining a natural look. They are also highly resistant to damage from wear, water and alcohol.

What if the project requires glass, mirror or stone work?

We have developed reliable suppliers for custom glass, metal and stone work and will either include them in the price of the job or work with your suppliers if you prefer.

Can you re-finish work already in my home?

Yes, we do both on-site touch-up and repair work as well as provide complete furniture restoration and re-finishing here at our shop. We will assess the extent of the damage and make a recommendation as to how we should proceed. If the work can be done on site, we will give you a ball park estimate of cost and proceed on an hourly basis. If the damage is too extensive or requires full stripping and re-finishing, we will give you an estimate including the cost of pick up and delivery.

Caring for my Furniture

What do I use to clean my cabinets?

Most cleaning can simply be done with a damp cloth. If you need to use polish, we recommend Guardsman Furniture Polish which has been formulated specifically for use on catalyzed finishes.

Please contact us with any other questions you may have about our design process or products.