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Forum topic by clin posted 10-08-2015 04:05 PM 1746 views 2 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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clin

514 posts in 464 days


10-08-2015 04:05 PM

I’m looking to build some shop cabinets, both wall and some bases. I’m looking to do something simple to minimize the time and to limit the skills needed (I have little experience building cabinets). I’m leaning towards a frameless design. Also, looking at using pocket screws and perhaps biscuits to hold things together. Definitely want a construction technique that doesn’t need clamps (thus the screws).

I’ve been wanting white cabinets to help keep the shop as bright as possible. Also, wanting a slab door with easy to clean surface. For this reason I was originally thinking ¾ melamine. My concern is strength. Especially since I want some of the wall cabinets to be for bulk storage and therefore about 36” wide and 16” deep, without a stile in the middle and with some movable shelves. Also leaning towards full ¾” backs. Heavy, but easier to make (no rabbets or dados).

So I’m now thinking about going with birch plywood cases and shelves (maybe the prefinished) and still using white melamine for the doors. This would seem to get me the best of both worlds. I get the white, laminate doors that would be bright and easy to clean, while I get the strength of plywood for the cases and shelves. And if I care to, I can paint the exposed cabinet sides white and edge band the plywood as well.

About the only downside I see, is the inside of the cabinets will not be as lightly colored (plywood vs white melamine). Lighter making it easier to see inside the cabinets. Of course I could always paint any surface I want, but that adds to the time and effort needed.

Just wondering if this approach seems reasonable, or if anyone has some other ideas I should consider.

-- Clin


28 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2200 posts in 948 days


#1 posted 10-08-2015 04:42 PM

Yes on the frameless.

Check out double side melamine excellent material but no on the pocket screws if you use it.

Use Confirmat screws (you need special drill and bit).

You can cover screws if desires.

Woodworkers Hardware has all the hardware and drill bits, etc.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1837 days


#2 posted 10-08-2015 05:49 PM

I made the base cabinets under my bench top with 3/4” ply, pocket screwed. 4 frameless boxes total, each 2 feet wide, 2 are just boxes with shelf pins, the other 2 have 3” strips pocket screwed in to create dividers between the drawers. 1/2” back, rabbeted in. Easy construction, done in a day (minus doors/drawers). Has held up without issue for 3 years now. I have a 2” thick DF top on it.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2575 posts in 1725 days


#3 posted 10-08-2015 11:03 PM

Clin, cabinets the size you described will be heavy. Be certain to anchor them into studs and use a good quality wood screw (not drywall screws) with washers to secure them to the walls or use french cleats that are solid and well anchored. I wouldn’t worry too much about the color inside the cabinets because they won’t be open that much. If you elect to use particle board do use the confirmat screws and forget about the biscuits. You don’t need 3/4” full backs, but you do need to screw through 3/4” material (think a 4” wide strip top and bottom). FWIW

-- Art

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clin

514 posts in 464 days


#4 posted 10-09-2015 03:34 AM

Thanks for the inputs.

Definitely mounting to studs. I never would have thought NOT to do that. Something I don’t understand is what is the advantage of a French cleat? I can see that the cleat is easier to mount since it is just a board and not the entire cabinet weight. But for a little ease of installation, the cabinet is perhaps a bit more complex to build and I would think a little trickier to line up the cabinets.

I realize I don’t NEED full backs, but that makes construction simpler (no rabbets and such). I also have an AC drain pipe running slanted in one wall (protected by metal plates). Point being, screws will be in varying positions on some of these cabinets, not just within 4 inches of the top. So again, solid backs give me a bit more flexibility without having to customize the mounting points for each cabinet.

Also, my comment about the color inside the cabinets, is not concerning aesthetics, rather being able to see into the cabinets better when I’m looking for something.

-- Clin

View ForestGrl's profile

ForestGrl

445 posts in 554 days


#5 posted 10-09-2015 04:14 AM

Clin, I put melamine tops (counters) on very old cabinets, both to brighten things up and clean things up. They aren’t as easy to keep clean as I’d thought. Household-type dirt, yes (dust, pencil marks), but little glue drips, anything with stain to it, grease—often doesn’t come up/out. The next set will have laminate of some sort.

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

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clin

514 posts in 464 days


#6 posted 10-09-2015 04:41 AM

I’ve thought about laminate. If I still went with something like prefinished birch plywood for the cases, I’d pretty much just be looking at laminating the doors and exposed edges.

Are there options beside just laminating them myself? Meaning, are there any products already laminated?

Would you typically laminate both sides of the doors and what would you use for the doors, particle board, MDF, ply?

I do like laminate since it is very durable. But obviously laminating a bunch of doors is a lot more work.

I know none of these things are difficult, but it would seem to add up to a lot of work when doing a set of cabinets.

-- Clin

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

394 posts in 687 days


#7 posted 10-09-2015 07:59 AM

here whst i did when it came to shop cabinets in my latest shop:
ive built shop cabinets. spent a lot of money on em to build em.lots oftime,too.
i happened to go to ikea with my sister. found most of my shop cabinets there a helluva lot less than i could build em for and modified em alittle to suit my needs. a lot less expensive and gave me more time to work on other projects.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2200 posts in 948 days


#8 posted 10-09-2015 10:43 AM

There is a product called Panolam which is ply looks like covered with laminate, not melamine.
I may have the name wrong, but I know my supplier carries a product like this.

Clin, for shop cabs, I think the DS melamine is still your best bet economically for the boxes.
For the doors, you can use it just edge band everything it will work fine.

There is an excellent book by Danny Proulx on frameless cab construction.
I wore it out when I built my kitchen!!

Don’t over think it – they are shop cabs…..

The IKEA thing is worth thinking about. We forget how valuable our time is, don’t we?

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1837 days


#9 posted 10-09-2015 12:22 PM

If your concern is being able to see in them, it sounds like you may want to invest some money in shop lighting. I have 4 4’ sections of fluorescent lighting that I got at HD, and it works great for our 2-car garage. I would like to get another one to hang directly over my bench, but that’ll come later. Using maple/birch ply, you shouldn’t have any issues seeing into your cabinets, if your shop is properly lit. Also, rather than trying to see to the back, you could have full-extension pullouts where feasible. Much easier to get what you need.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View WoodNSawdust's profile

WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 644 days


#10 posted 10-09-2015 12:55 PM

I built my own cabinets out of cabinet grade plywood using pocket screws and tongue and groove.

If I had to do it over again I would watch for a sale at a local big box store and buy theirs. This way I would have more time to do projects.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View clin's profile

clin

514 posts in 464 days


#11 posted 10-09-2015 03:08 PM

I had looked into the Ikea approach, and many other RTA cabinets. Also at off-the-shelf cabs. Nothing came close to the sizes I’m interested in. Generally most are targeting kitchens and wall cabs are almost always 12” deep. I’m looking for something around 16”. Custom cabs are more than I want to spend. Plus I’m actually looking forward to building them myself.

I don’t really have a concern about seeing inside. Just looking to optimize. I.E., light interiors are better than dark.

I have a LOT of light with 8×4 ft florescent fixtures in a single car garage size space. You could do surgery in it.

I did look, and there is a product called Panolam, but it seems that it is similar to melamine rather than a Formica type laminate. Of course, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be great.

-- Clin

View ForestGrl's profile

ForestGrl

445 posts in 554 days


#12 posted 10-09-2015 03:47 PM

Have to get a word in about LED’s, since fluorescents have entered the discussion. This summer, I replaced my 7 relatively new fluorescents with Costco LED worklights at a price of ~38 each. It made a HUGE difference in the lighting—brighter, clearer. This even though the stated lumens were a bit less. Someone here at LJ wrote that those LEDs are desiged to send all of the light down, with none being wasted by going up into the fixture. Cannot imagine going back to fluorescents, ever.

-- My mother said that anyone learning to cook needed a large dog to eat the mistakes. As a sculptor of wood I have always tried to keep a fireplace. (Norman Ridenour)

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1777 days


#13 posted 10-09-2015 05:55 PM

+1

Melamine, comfirmat screws and Institutional hinges.

http://www.cshardware.com/hardware/furniture-hardware/special-application-hinges/54-72022-02b.html?gclid=CLPs1Zj5tcgCFYqGfgodxNIFJA

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2575 posts in 1725 days


#14 posted 10-10-2015 12:40 AM

Clin, the french cleat advantage is that it is easy to mount the cleat to the wall and get it level, then hang the cabinet on it by yourself. Also, they are easily moved to other locations as your shop evolves. Using a 4” strip on the back of the cabinet can be the top portion of the french cleat.

-- Art

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2854 posts in 2699 days


#15 posted 10-10-2015 01:01 AM

Lots of reading, pictures and descriptions for my garage makeover.
I love the cabinets.
http://lumberjocks.com/MT_Stringer/blog/series/6453

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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