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Forum topic by DanRen posted 02-01-2016 02:01 PM 436 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DanRen's profile


2 posts in 265 days

02-01-2016 02:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dresser top plywood maple boards screw glue split question

I’m building a 20”W x 50”L dresser. I’ve built the carcass of Plywood. I need to put some sort of dresser top on the plywood carcass. I’m concerned that if I edge glue maple boards and then screw the top from the underside of the carcass the boards will move different than the plywood and split. But – if I allow for slotted connections I’m worried that if someone were to try and pick-up the dresser by the top it would pull off if not really screwed down – the dresser weighs a ton. I’ considering another finished layer of maple faced plywood over top of the carcass and trimming it with maple boards. I’m not sure how that will look once I shellac it but I look the look of maple boards glued together. The the fancy slotted connections and breadboards on the net are but over table frames and not a plywood top. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can do a nice top of the plywood?

Thank you in advance for any ideas.


-- Dan

5 replies so far

View DrTebi's profile


242 posts in 2686 days

#1 posted 02-02-2016 09:45 AM

Interesting problem. I believe in most cases one would choose a plywood top for the carcass and add edging to hide the plywood edges, instead of glueing/screwing another hardwood top on. But I suppose it’s too late for that.

One idea I can come up with is to cut out part of the top plywood, so that you sort of end up with a faceframe out of plywood… and then screw the top on. It would get lighter that way too… not sure if that would really work well.

Or just dare and glue the maple board onto the plywood. I have a table here with two tops, soft maple on the bottom and jatoba on top. Glued together, never had a problem the top is skewed, and I have often just picked it up just by the jatoba. Held up perfectly after 5 years. But that’s not plywood with hardwood.

If the dresser is not going through dramatic humidity changes, you might be OK by just glueing or screwing them together.

Or maybe just use a whole lot of screws in slots… that should be strong enough to be picked up by the maple top.

Last but not least, you could get a nice maple veneer and glue that onto the plywood, and add some edging.

View rwe2156's profile


2114 posts in 900 days

#2 posted 02-02-2016 01:05 PM

Slots with screws and washers should work.

You could also consider adding a sliding dovetail into top with a runner glued to ply.

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

View tomsteve's profile


392 posts in 639 days

#3 posted 02-02-2016 02:19 PM

pre drilling pilot holes large enough for the shank of the screw to slide through and using panhead screws works pretty good.

View DanRen's profile


2 posts in 265 days

#4 posted 02-02-2016 03:25 PM

Thanks guys – I really appreciate the responses. DrTebi – I really like the idea of cutting out part of the top of the carcass to make a more traditional frame then I can make just about any detail that allows movement like you, rew2156 & tomsteve say.

-- Dan

View MadMark's profile


965 posts in 872 days

#5 posted 02-04-2016 06:06 AM

Three cleats at each end attached to the frame. Middle cleat has a round hole, both end cleats have slots. Center cleat screw is tight, slotted end cleats allow movement but have enough attachment that the top will not lift off. Note that this solution works for any combo of wood and/or ply goods.

If you need more lift go to extra slotted cleats on sides, always make the center cleat tight.


-- Madmark -

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