Help with plywood carcass

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Forum topic by djkest posted 02-24-2010 10:17 PM 2427 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14 posts in 2436 days

02-24-2010 10:17 PM

Hey Guys,
I am making a carcass for my new TV stand out of 3/4” red oak plywood. My first TV stand was a glue-and-screw affair, so I decided that I would increase my skills and do some rabbets and dados on the new one. Well, I had a 3/4” router bit so I figured I had the perfect tool. Well, it turns out that my plywood is something like 1/16 or 3/32 thinner than 3/4”, so it doesn’t fit very well in the dado. What should I do for a strong, tight fit? Should I try and make some shims with my miter saw? Should I use a bunch of wood glue and hope that makes a tight joint? Because I don’t have any large clamps, I may use finish nails or some screws, hard to say.

Also, unrelated but I’m trying to stain this peice black with some minwax ebony oil-based stain. I did a test run allowing the stain 20 minutes to soak into the wood. The resulting staining was not that dark, and really didn’t look that good. Should I try for 2 applications of stain, or try leaving the stain on the wood longer? It looks a little blotchy too, which is probably because the wood was not sealed before I put stain to it. Also, could be sanded a little better I suppose.
Any advice?


-- Dan, Colorado

12 replies so far

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5100 posts in 2612 days

#1 posted 02-24-2010 11:39 PM

Greetings Dan….The first thing I will tell you is that the plywood they sell today is NOT 3/4” thick. As you probably already know, it is undersize, so your standard plywood and regular bits are not going to work. For the router, you will have to get the router bits made nowdays for todays plywood….any of the ww stores carry them. My next question is: Do you have a tablesaw? If so, then I would cut the rabbits and dados on it using a dado set and an auxiliry fence…just put the 3/4” wide dado blades in, move you auxiliry fence over, take a scrap piece of the ply, line it up with the outside of the dado flush with the outside teeth, and move your fence over till it touches the scrap…. then you’ll have the right size dado….. nothing to it!!!!!!

As far as the black stain…..I’ve never used it, so can’t help you there, but you will get an answer pretty quick from these guys. The cabinet makers will help you on that…......... and other knowledgeable people.

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View Russ's profile


356 posts in 2495 days

#2 posted 02-25-2010 12:02 AM

For Ebonized red oak there is a technique using steel wool and vinegar. I’ve not used it but I’m planning to on an upcoming project.

-- Russ

View Kerry Drake's profile

Kerry Drake

167 posts in 2438 days

#3 posted 02-25-2010 12:15 AM

If you are using any hardwood in your project and you have scrap, you could cut a THIN THIN sliver off on your tablesaw and use it to “fill” the extra space in your dado. It would fill the space and act like a tiny wedge.

-- Kerry Drake, Loudon NH,

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 2486 days

#4 posted 02-25-2010 01:03 AM

Welcome to the world of woodworking!! – lol

For your fund of general and vital knowledge, it’s nearly (and maybe completely) impossible to get “full” thickness plywood anywhere, at any price. Your 3/4” is a “nominal” dimension, and the actual thickness will be 1/32” – 1/16” less. (The Cherry for my last kitchen project was 11/16”).

You can buy router bits sized for 23/32”, and 15/32” from MLCS, Rockler, Eagle, and others.

When I blow it on a dado, I cut a filler from some scrap, glue it into the “bad” side of the dado, then recut the dado when the glue has dried. With a little fiddling around, you can get a grain match that will be pretty well hidden.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View RKW's profile


328 posts in 2865 days

#5 posted 02-25-2010 01:56 AM

Hey Dan, I agree with Rick on using your Table saw rather than the router. However i have a router bit that works with 3/4 ply that i picked up at lowes. In fact, i think it is a 3/4 bit. I know i have used it on red oak ply and i had a tight fit. Maybe its not actually 3/4 but sized for “3/4” ply. These are the types of issues that really frustrated me a couple of years ago when i took up this hobby.

As far as the black color is concerned. I recently started using dyes instead of stain. You have more color control with the dyes, and they are easy to use. In fact i am working on a red oak project right now that i intend to dye black.

-- RKWoods

View djkest's profile


14 posts in 2436 days

#6 posted 02-25-2010 03:28 AM

Hey guys, sorry I don’t have a table saw yet, and I’m not really sure when I’ll be getting one, due to a really small garage and a rather large truck! This is why I’m using a router.

I will probably try to cut some thin slices with the miter saw and glue these inside the dado to tighten it up.

-- Dan, Colorado

View spamfilterman's profile


147 posts in 2440 days

#7 posted 02-25-2010 04:00 AM

I highly recommend buying the undersized plywood router bit. It’s magic. Woodcraft has a sale coming up…

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5100 posts in 2612 days

#8 posted 02-25-2010 04:13 AM

Dan…. Since you don’t have a table saw, I agree with what everyone has said about the repair you can do to tighten up the dados/ rabbits… it will work as stated. Sorry…I thought you might have a t.s. is the reason I suggested it…...But DO pick up the undersize router bits…they will save you a lot of headaches in the long haul.

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4445 posts in 3380 days

#9 posted 02-25-2010 04:59 AM

There is a jig that lots of us have built that will make your dados perfect for any thickness of plywood. someone probably has posted one of these adjustable dado jigs here. It is designed for routers and it works great. I think I got the idea from a woodworking magazine.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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Thos. Angle

4445 posts in 3380 days

#10 posted 02-25-2010 02:44 PM

The jig I’m referring to is posted in blogs by dakremer. I think it is like page one or two right now.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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Thos. Angle

4445 posts in 3380 days

#11 posted 02-25-2010 02:47 PM

Sorry, I was wrong. It’s listed as his latest project. Go to his home page and it is on the right. this jig will cut a dado that is always the right width.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Icemizer's profile


88 posts in 2957 days

#12 posted 02-25-2010 02:49 PM

If you want that dark ebony color here is the video tip you need.

-- Say what you mean and mean what you say.

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