Plywood for building cabinets

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by MotorcycleWriter, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. calmod

    calmod Adventurer

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    I use 1/4" backs with 4 " to 6' wide 3/4" thick stretchers top and bottom that pocket screw into the sides of the cabinets from the back. Dado the inside face of the 1/4" back 1" from theh back of the cabinet, put the box together, slide in the back, and attached the stretchers to the sides of the cabinet. Then i square it up and hot glue the back of the 1/4" panel to the sides of the cabinet and the stretchers in the 3/4" space between the back of the back panel and the rear edges of the box. That's standard construction but I add the hot glue bead. If it all cut accurately it self squares but I always check diagonals.
    For hanging rails you can buy really nice ones and just make the end panel of the outside cabinet of a run of cabinets deeper to scribe to wall and allow for the 1\4" that the hanging rails are.
    #21
  2. bhamster

    bhamster Adventurer

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    Jar944 knows his stuff ( I assume he/she is a professional cabinet builder). Make life easy, cut your parts square, pin and screw them together. Face frames will square the carcass if it is out. I use half inch backs on all my cabinets because I got tired of the extra steps of dadoing in a 1/4" back and then adding the stretchers. 1/2" backs simply staple and screw to the back of the carcass and you can screw it at any point within the back to the wall (not just at the 3" stretcher). Again, as Jar944 mentioned, Columbia purebond is a nice product (I use the prefinished maple material). Not as nice as baltic birch but its already finished with a plastic polymer that is way more durable than a few coats of varnish and it is inside the cabinet so no one really cares anyway. Plus a 4x8 sheet of purebond is about the same or less than a 5x5 of baltic birch. baltic birch and biscuits are nice but alot of money and a ton of time with little appreciable benefits. Hope this helps.
    #22
  3. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

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    I can always pull a small amount of this out when I fix the backs. A small amount.

    I taught my kids about structure this way. Four sides with no back is floppy. Tack on even a floppy 1/4" back and all of a sudden it is super strong.
    #23
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  4. muddywater

    muddywater Bless Your Heart

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    Not for everybody, but I built cabinet boxes for my own garage out of 3/4 Advantech subflooring. Had a good supply of fresh clean drops off newly framed houses.

    All the boxes were pocket screwed together with polyurethane glue.
    -Shelves were banded with 1/2 x 1 inch maple.
    -3/4 thick Advantech backs, with 1x4 yellow pine wall cleats.
    -1/4 inch peg holes for adjustable shelves
    -maple face frames with Radiata pine plywood doors and 35mm hinges.
    -hung with 6 inch Titan structural screws to a 2x6 wall, 10 feet to the top of the cabinets.
    -24 feet long in 3- 8 foot sections, 64 inches high, and 15 inches deep.

    Seems way overkill, but with the 15 inch depth, and being loaded with heavy items, they needed to be strong.

    They were set with the tractor forks. Very heavy.
    20190830_095805.jpg 20190828_200105.jpg
    Since the pic the doors and face frames been painted satin red. The walls and ceilings white. The interior of the cabinets was left unfinished.

    The Advantech is not visible except underneath and inside. .

    Total investment less than 275 dollars...2 days to build and hang.
    Painting was done by my BIL, a retired autobody guy who thinks everything has to be as slick as a car hood.
    #24
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  5. jar944

    jar944 Long timer

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    This base I'm currently working on is a mix of some HD sourced purebond and some other us made c3 birch ply (and any anything else I had laying around)

    As an aside its square (to the 64th) the door reveals are 2mm ~ .080". Square parts lead to square assemblies.
    20190926_224120.jpg 20190926_224052.jpg
    #25
  6. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    Beautiful. Nice work.
    #26
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  7. BtoV

    BtoV FNG

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    I have a sawmill so I just machine it from solid
    #27
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  8. PunkinHead

    PunkinHead Moobless Adventurer Supporter

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    I buy my lumber from a guy with a portable mill and pay $1-$1.50/bf for ash, cherry, and walnut which makes it cheaper than plywood but no chance I'm building cabinet carcasses out of it. It's too labor intensive to joint, plane, rip, and glue up that many panels. I use hardwood for door panels, but no way in hell would I put that much work into carcasses. Depending on the look I'm going for I use Baltic birch or hardwood plywood for the boxes. Melamine for garbage level cabinets for the garage.
    #28
  9. BtoV

    BtoV FNG

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    Copy that, I just like to throw out about the sawmill. I'm envious of you guys that make cabinets. I'm not very good at it .... yet but I'm gonna learn. Having the sawmill allows me to have plenty of wood to practice on without a big expense, usually using left over scraps from milling project wood.
    #29
  10. theDoktor

    theDoktor Husky Racer

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    I need the input of the cabinet pros here on using marine-grade plywood for the base & upper cabinet carcasses & fronts, with HDPL inside & out for a institutional installation. (Bid job- this is what the architect specified.) The cabinet shops are telling the GC & architect that they cannot warranty these cabinets & fronts against warping if marine-grade plywood is used & AWI backs them up on this. I think MDO would be a better choice for the carcasses & fronts in this situation. Melamine is not an option. Interiors will have white VG20 cabinet liner. Exteriors will have horizontal grade HDPL- color as selected by architect.
    Your thoughts, feedback, suggestions?
    #30
  11. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    S
    Sounds like you need a change order to the architect to change materials on the cabinets.
    #31
  12. theDoktor

    theDoktor Husky Racer

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    I would if I could- gonna have to finesse this one to get them to do the smart thing and think it was their own good idea
    #32
  13. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

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    That’s an awesome job! I like the idea of the extra 3 inches. Seems like a foot-deep cabinets are always an inch or two too short.

    You’re in the same predicament I’m in. Hanging cabinets on unfinished walls. Did you go over the walls and ceiling with another coat of mud or just paint as is?
    #33
  14. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

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    I’ve shied away from using melamine/MDF for cabinets. Seems like it has a tendency to sag over time based on the performance of MDF adjustable shelves. But, I haven’t actually made any. Do you find it’s rigid enough over time to keeps its shape with the heavy stuff?
    #34
  15. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    The bottoms of kitchen cabinets made from MDF will sag with a load of plates. No way I'd use it voluntarily for cabinets.

    Unless you add some section height to the shelves with stringers or something.
    #35
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  16. PunkinHead

    PunkinHead Moobless Adventurer Supporter

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    I'd expect European style without face frames to sag.
    #36
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  17. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

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    This is kind of outside the plywood theme of the original question, but it is certainly related. I don't have a HUGE platform available to push 4x8 sheets of plywood through my saw. I'm not in a position to permanently convert my garage into a wood shop. (I will be building an outbuilding next year but have stuff I need to do now.) I have a nice DeWalt table saw, but it isn't a full-size arbor saw. Still, I've done some amazing stuff with that saw though need some kind of portable support structure to improve my precision. Even with multiple people holding it, especially with multiple people holding it, you just can't get a decent cut. Plywood ain't cheap and buying it is a pain so throwing it away is unpleasant. I can cut very accurately by clamping an edge to a full sheet and cutting it with a circular saw, I've made a lot of cabinets that way, but it's not very efficient. So, I'm exploring other options.

    Requirements:
    • 4' x 8'
    • Rigid/Stable
    • Flat
    • Dimensionally stable
    • Portable
    • Easily broken down
    • Storable when my garage is in motorcycle repair shop configuration.
    I recently picked up two of these 'Craftsman' sawhorses from Lowes. Along with two 2x4's and a piece of plywood they do okay for around 1/4" accuracy, but it isn't very flat, it isn't dimensionally stable, and the 1/2" plywood isn't light, portable, or easy to store. But I do like the sawhorses and they have many other uses so I'll keep them for the base unless someone has a (much) better idea.

    [​IMG]

    I was thinking of using these same sawhorses and getting an interior (hollow) 4x8 door made at a door shop. (I've made a few doors, and they worked well enough in their application, but they weren't as flat or light as a professionally made door.) That would satisfy the requirements for flatness, dimensional stability, and weight, along with rigidity and ease of assembly. I could easily store it against the ceiling of my garage in the useless space above the garage doors.

    Any idea what I might use for the cross braces? Solid wood ain't gonna stay straight so 2x4s are out. Plywood? MDF? PVC pipe? Maybe make some hollow beams?

    Thoughts? Ideas?
    #37
  18. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    I have and use a couple of outfeed roller stands when cutting.sheet goods on the table saw. They fold for storage and hang on the wall. With a good fence and good blade, it works well enough for me.
    #38
  19. PunkinHead

    PunkinHead Moobless Adventurer Supporter

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    I have a large cabinet saw with a dedicated outfeed table and a large wing table on the right, but even so I don't cut large sheet goods on it. All plywood gets cut close to size with a clamp on straight edge and circular saw then cut accurately to final size on the tablesaw. Large sheet goods on a tablesaw, even with a splitter, is a recipe for disaster.
    #39
  20. DavidR8

    DavidR8 Wanna-be ADV rider

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    Folks will laugh at this but I use two old ironing boards with the legs screwed to 2x4s
    They are height adjustable, the mesh top doesn’t collect dust and they fold up flat for storage.
    #40