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Forum topic by Dustin posted 07-09-2017 06:42 PM 775 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dustin

529 posts in 764 days


07-09-2017 06:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question cherry cabinet

So, after donating that candle stand I made to my church to use as a communion table, they asked about building them a welcome desk to replace their current one. I submitted the following sketchup design as a proof of concept:

Again, this was proof of concept only (and I’m new to Sketchup in general), so that’s why there are gaps near the adjoining faceframes.

Anyhow, I’m building the unit as three separate cabinets to be assembled on site, and the top will be 3/4 – 7/8” (depending on the rough stock) solid cherry. My question is this: what’s the best way to attach the top? My thoughts were to build it in three pieces, like the cabinets, then bring it flush during assembly, attaching it with screws from the underside of the cabinets. Should I bother trying to mechanically fasten the top sections together? It wouldn’t be better to build the top as one piece, would it?

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."


23 replies so far

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

710 posts in 463 days


#1 posted 07-09-2017 06:47 PM

I’m thinking that if you don’t have a one-piece top, don’t try to make the cabinets too close fitting together. Kind of like you would have with a sectional office desk.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1802 posts in 2340 days


#2 posted 07-09-2017 06:56 PM

A one-piece top will result in weak corners at the rear where there’s some short grain. But assembling three sections will require some very wide miter joints that are prone to opening up over time. Wide miters in solid wood are always a potential issue if the humidity changes. So I’d agree with Blaster that separate tops should not be fastened together but should be allowed to have a gap instead.

If you do a single, solid cherry top like that, firmly screw it on one side (perhaps the front edge of the middle cabinet) and use slotted screw holes everywhere else to attach it to the base to allow for expansion and contraction.

Personally, I’d use veneer with solid wood edging to build that top since it would have a cleaner appearance and be far more stable.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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Aj2

1424 posts in 1821 days


#3 posted 07-09-2017 07:22 PM

I second separate tops.I also think you should consider Cherry plywood with a solid wood edge.I don’t like plywood but it just seems right for some reason.

-- Aj

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jonah

1722 posts in 3322 days


#4 posted 07-09-2017 08:06 PM

I’ll second (third?) the suggestion to use hardwood veneered plywood for the top. Use solid wood edging and sand carefully, but it’ll be way, way more stable that way. Be sure to put a skookum finish on it, since it’ll likely be used pretty hard.

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CharlesA

3329 posts in 1821 days


#5 posted 07-09-2017 08:13 PM

Menards has cherry plywood (some in store/some ship to store) in 4×8 sheets. Hood Distribution on Hurstbourne carries some pretty high grade cherry plywood in 4×8 sheets with a $100 minimum order for retail. I think you give them a 24 hour notice and they’ll pull it for you. That’s if you don’t want to glue your own veneer.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

529 posts in 764 days


#6 posted 07-09-2017 09:36 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. I had considered the veneer route, and building as one large plywood top, but that raised the question of where to get plywood large enough (it’s almost 105” wide at its widest point). For that matter, even handling something that size seems like a logistical nightmare as I’m a one man operation in a fairly small garage (it’s a 2-car, but under the bedrooms of the house, so there’s a rather obnoxious support pole right in the center of it). Feel free to correct me, though, if I’m looking at this the wrong way.

Aj/Blaster, I hadn’t considered a gap, mainly because I was thinking movement wouldn’t be much of a factor here (grain will be ran parallel to the front edge of each piece, and longitudinal movement is supposed to be almost non-existent), but after looking at some sectionals, I think I see what you’re suggesting. Getting them all perfectly flush seems like a right pain anyhow, so what about slightly rounding over or chamfering the edges that butt up against each other? Is this what you’re getting at?

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

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jonah

1722 posts in 3322 days


#7 posted 07-10-2017 12:06 AM

If you decide to go three separate pieces, make sure there’s enough of a gap so it looks intentional. If not, it’ll just look like a mistake.

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

710 posts in 463 days


#8 posted 07-10-2017 12:44 AM

...slightly rounding over or chamfering the edges that butt up against each other? Is this what you re getting at?

Yes, that is what I was thinking.
Mike

- Dustin

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

944 posts in 518 days


#9 posted 07-10-2017 02:28 AM

I would also suggest making the top from a single piece of plywood, edge banded in some way. Much more stable and a single top will look better. Imagine if your kitchen had individual tops over every cabinet?

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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Dustin

529 posts in 764 days


#10 posted 07-10-2017 12:14 PM



I would also suggest making the top from a single piece of plywood, edge banded in some way. Much more stable and a single top will look better. Imagine if your kitchen had individual tops over every cabinet?

- TungOil

I agree, but again, this is something I’m failing to overcome logistically, as it’s too wide for a standard 4×8 sheet of plywood to cover the top. If they wanted it a little smaller, I’d be all over this.

...slightly rounding over or chamfering the edges that butt up against each other? Is this what you re getting at?

Yes, that is what I was thinking.
Mike

- Dustin

- BlasterStumps

Thought so, Mike, thanks for clarifying!

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

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gargey

995 posts in 799 days


#11 posted 07-10-2017 12:39 PM

Do separate tops and then paper mache between them when you install.

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jonah

1722 posts in 3322 days


#12 posted 07-10-2017 01:12 PM

Some suppliers will stock 4×10 foot sheets of plywood, but not likely cherry veneered stuff.

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Just_Iain

286 posts in 439 days


#13 posted 07-10-2017 01:34 PM

What if you split a plywood top by adding a very simple ‘cross’ in the centre of the top? It would have to be 9” wide (105” – 96” = 9”).

Or go with a contrasting 4” trim around the edge? On the diagonal you would be able to make the 96” plywood work.

-- For those about to die, remember your bicycle helmet!

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

326 posts in 643 days


#14 posted 07-10-2017 01:50 PM

I like the 4” edge banding, but I’d use solid cherry to match the plywood. Edges take the most abuse and would allow the use of the veneer with less risk of damage.

-- Sawdust Maker

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Dustin

529 posts in 764 days


#15 posted 07-10-2017 02:11 PM



What if you split a plywood top by adding a very simple cross in the centre of the top? It would have to be 9” wide (105” – 96” = 9”).

Or go with a contrasting 4” trim around the edge? On the diagonal you would be able to make the 96” plywood work.

- Just_Iain

I was actually thinking about this a little this morning. Considering how wide the middle unit is, using a “strap” of plywood running front to back in the middle, then just splitting a standard piece and securing all well. I would think this would be sturdy.

However, if going that route, I’d rather do a thick-ish veneer of cherry over the top as opposed to cherry plywood, maybe 1/16-3/32”? Running parallel to the front of the middle section all the way through, and mitering the corners of the vener to fit the edge.

Thoughts from you folks with veneer experience: would this thickness cause excessive wood movement and eventual separation where the veneers join on their edges, or would thin stock be sufficiently “wrangled” by the glue?

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

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