Thickness for Tongue & Groove Boards

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Forum topic by Matt Franck posted 05-26-2010 06:58 PM 4820 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Matt Franck

7 posts in 3374 days

05-26-2010 06:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: outdoor cypress joinery

I’m in the design stage to build a couple of pieces of outdoor furniture for my pool deck:

  1. A storage bench approximately 21”H x 21”D x 96”W
  2. A hutch approximately 96”H x 13”D x 84”W

I intend to make both from Florida Cypress with consistent dimensioning where possible in the design. I will use frame and panel construction for all walls, doors and lids. The rails and styles will be 2” x 3/4”.

My question is related to the panel construction. My preference is for a tongue & groove panel. I see most of the T&G cypress at 3/4”. This seems wastefully thick for my purposes, as well as unnecessarily heavy.

How thin can I make T&G cypress?

Alternatively, I could make it look like T&G with butt joined chamfered edges. That would result in less rigidity in the panels and this is an outdoor project in North Florida humidity.

I’d appreciate any other ideas or consideration I haven’t taken into the design.

Thanks all.

4 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3813 days

#1 posted 05-26-2010 07:44 PM

I’ve never used cypress but have used cedar for similar projects and 1/2” worked fine.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3437 days

#2 posted 05-26-2010 08:28 PM

Like A1Jim said, plane abunch down to half inch. Aromatic cedar is like 3/8” T&G and works fine.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View CaptainSkully's profile


1607 posts in 3795 days

#3 posted 05-27-2010 04:10 PM

What is more wasteful, a 3/4” panel, or 1/4” worth of sawdust from planing it down to 1/2”? The thin panels in my dresser rattle a little when I close the door. As long as the panel is as thick as the dado in the rails & stiles, I think it’s just a matter of design. If you were going to do raised panels, then you’d definitely need 3/4”. Resawing might be an option if you don’t mind panels under 3/8”. You can put the tongue & groove look onto the front using various methods.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View rwyoung's profile


409 posts in 3708 days

#4 posted 05-27-2010 07:51 PM

+1 @ CaptainSkully

Don’t plane down 3/4” T&G material, just resaw from thicker (say 5/4) and make your own T&G with a router, tablesaw, Stanley 49, whatever.

1/2” should be fine for vertical panels. For a large horizontal panel I’d be a little worried about it sagging with time but just speculating. Probably have to be a much longer run than your stated above for sag to become an issue at 1/2” thickness. Heck, 3/8” is probably fine for vertical panels but then the T&G get a little delicate at 1/8”. At 1/2” the T&G would be around 3/16”.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

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