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1/2 inch kitchen cabinets, sort of

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Forum topic by therest posted 08-20-2017 11:23 PM 718 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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therest

11 posts in 36 days


08-20-2017 11:23 PM

So I’m planning on building my own kitchen cabinets and curious about material choice. I plan on painting the cabinets. So I’ve seen that most RTA cabinets are made with 1/2 plywood sides, if not particle board from IKEA. With that said, I have considered 1/2 in cabinets after coming across a decent deal on some baltic birch plywood. This plywood is 12mm thick so even slightly less thick than 1/2 inch. I’ve decided I’m ok with that for my upper/wall cabinets. What do you think about using this same plywood to make my base cabinets?? Will it be sturdy enough if made well? I’m getting the 5×5 sheet of baltic birch for $25 a sheet. Also, I do plan on installing quartz countertops on top of these cabinets. I think it’s not bad considering the fact that even these “Made in America” cabinet carcasses are made with 1/2 plywood sides and probably with plywood that isn’t a solid plywood with no voids in it.

http://www.cshardware.com/crestmore-premiere-designer-white-maple-series-1.html


29 replies so far

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JackDuren

313 posts in 711 days


#1 posted 08-20-2017 11:40 PM

I seen home depot selling 3/4×48x96 chinese birch for $24 a sheet….

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jbay

1655 posts in 651 days


#2 posted 08-20-2017 11:47 PM

Your not going to get a good material yield from 5×5’s

If I were building my own, I would use 3/4” pre finished maple, or birch for the interiors. (4×8)

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

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Loren

9282 posts in 3399 days


#3 posted 08-20-2017 11:57 PM

You can certainly build face frame cabinets
with 1/2” sides successfully. I’ve not seen
frameless cabinets built out of 1/2” material
but I’m sure it has been done.

Baltic birch is tough material but at that
thickness you’ll have to be attentive to detail
when executing the joinery. If you plan to
use nails, staples or screws 1/2” leaves little
room for error.

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AlaskaGuy

3206 posts in 2061 days


#4 posted 08-21-2017 01:45 AM



Your not going to get a good material yield from 5×5 s

If I were building my own, I would use 3/4” pre finished maple, or birch for the interiors. (4×8)

- jbay


+1

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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Rick

10076 posts in 2131 days


#5 posted 08-21-2017 02:12 AM

The 1/2” cabinets are probably glued and stapled together. And to be frank, the boxes will probably last as long as you want them, the whole is stronger than the parts. It’s the drawers and doors, or the hardware, (moving parts) that wear out. The original cabinets in my house were built in place in 1959 from 3/8” and 1/2” plywood and lasted until I bought the house in the 90’s (actually until early 2000). They were glued and stapled and were solid until demo day. Even the drawers were glued and stapled and held up better than the dovetailed drawers in my current kitchen. I still use some of the original cabinets in my shop and in my storage shed, 58 years old and still going. If you really want to save money, build in place rather than building component boxes. It’s a different method of construction, faster, less material, and cheaper (as an individual); but the hard part is learning how as there are no books today that teach it. All that said, I have built cabinets for myself and find 3/4 material easier to work with in some respects. It’s heavier and slightly more expensive but the joinery is easier.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Desert_Woodworker

978 posts in 966 days


#6 posted 08-21-2017 02:15 AM

Ditto Loren – Before the age of internet; I came across Danny Proulx https://www.amazon.com/Danny-Proulx/e/B001JS8V6M
I bought his books and developed a professional cabinet business. He teaches 5/8” melamine; I use Panolam thermo fused; but joints, secured with 2” particle board screws. Here is a pic of a kitchen, that I sold circa 2000

And this is the pic circa 2016.
Also, you linked to a commercial cabinet company; other than “box” prices; please direct me to: how are these and the cabinets, that you want, show us some drawings.

-- Desert_Woodworker

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MT_Stringer

3076 posts in 2982 days


#7 posted 08-21-2017 03:04 AM



Your not going to get a good material yield from 5×5 s

If I were building my own, I would use 3/4” pre finished maple, or birch for the interiors. (4×8)

- jbay

+1 What he said.

In fact, that is what I did when we remodeled our kitchen. Knotty alder for the face frames, doors and drawer fronts. 3/4 inch Prefinished birch for the boxes. Looks factory made, and very well built.

I am currently building cabinets just like ours for a house built in the 1950’s. I am starting the bottom cabinets tomorrow. I have all the drawer parts cut out and ready to go. They are 1/2 inch Baltic Birch.

Our kitchen

1950’s house kitchen remodel

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

603 posts in 246 days


#8 posted 08-21-2017 03:15 AM

Save yourself a lot of headaches and build your boxes from 3/4” pre-finished birch ply. I don’t use anything else these days.

-- 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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Rarebreed68

59 posts in 52 days


#9 posted 08-21-2017 03:51 AM

I build all my boxes from 1/2” birch. The sides are dadoed to accept the tops and bottoms for wall cabinets, and the bottoms on the base cabinets.
Everything is glued and nailed with 1 1/4” finish nails.

Backs are 1/4” birch in a rabbit.

Face frames are 3/4” thick, 1 3/4” wide with a dado, that get glued and nailed to the sides. Nails are shot from the side so there are no holes in the face frames to fill.

I’m in the middle of a build right now, so if you have questions, I’ll try to take pictures to clarify anything you need more info on.

-- EARTH FIRST! We'll log the other planets later. Trust your neighbors, but brand your calves. Opinion worth price charged.

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therest

11 posts in 36 days


#10 posted 08-21-2017 09:24 PM

Thanks everyone. As far as I know chinese birch is some of the worst ply you can use, or am I wrong? About the 5×5 and material yield, yes I can agree with that.

I want to make these cabinets either inset or full overlay. I’m not sure if that makes using 1/2 ply less desirable or not. I think the joinery will be tight but still doable. At this point I”m not sure what to do but I know at the end of the day if I’m not sure to just go with 3/4 ply.

Your not going to get a good material yield from 5×5 s

If I were building my own, I would use 3/4” pre finished maple, or birch for the interiors. (4×8)

- jbay

+1 What he said.

In fact, that is what I did when we remodeled our kitchen. Knotty alder for the face frames, doors and drawer fronts. 3/4 inch Prefinished birch for the boxes. Looks factory made, and very well built.

I am currently building cabinets just like ours for a house built in the 1950 s. I am starting the bottom cabinets tomorrow. I have all the drawer parts cut out and ready to go. They are 1/2 inch Baltic Birch.

Our kitchen

1950 s house kitchen remodel

- MT_Stringer

How are the 1/2 cabinets coming along? How do they compare to the 3/4!


I build all my boxes from 1/2” birch. The sides are dadoed to accept the tops and bottoms for wall cabinets, and the bottoms on the base cabinets.
Everything is glued and nailed with 1 1/4” finish nails.

Backs are 1/4” birch in a rabbit.

Face frames are 3/4” thick, 1 3/4” wide with a dado, that get glued and nailed to the sides. Nails are shot from the side so there are no holes in the face frames to fill.

I m in the middle of a build right now, so if you have questions, I ll try to take pictures to clarify anything you need more info on.

- Rarebreed68

That sounds great. Post pics!

View jbay's profile (online now)

jbay

1655 posts in 651 days


#11 posted 08-21-2017 09:36 PM


Thanks everyone. As far as I know chinese birch is some of the worst ply you can use, or am I wrong? About the 5×5 and material yield, yes I can agree with that.

Yes, Avoid the import material. Find domestic for sure.
I would figure the cost for the 1/2” compared to the 3/4” and then make a decision.
10-15 bucks a sheet difference for 10 sheets =100-150 dollar difference. I would rather use 3/4.
1/2” would be fine though, but if I had my rathers….
I would prefer 3/4 for all my shelving.

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

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MT_Stringer

3076 posts in 2982 days


#12 posted 08-21-2017 09:48 PM

@therest – only the drawers are 1/2 inch BB. Everything else is 3/4 inch thick.

While I am thinking about it, a few years ago I was searching YouTube for cabinet building ideas and ran across a guy that I liked. No BS, just describes and demonstrates how he builds his custom cabinets. I adopted his basic work flow and haven’t changed since. That was 70 + cabinets ago! :-)

Kris Reynolds Custom Cabinets.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3uOkMK4UqM&t=17s

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

939 posts in 2569 days


#13 posted 08-21-2017 09:51 PM

Material yield from 5×5 is actually very good. These panels are specifically sized for kitchen cabinet construction in the European system. Sides of bottom cabinets are a bit less than 30 inches high by about 2 feed wide. You can get 4 of these per panel, with exactly enough for the side panels for upper cabinets (a foot wide) left over. I did my kitchen in baltic birch (3/4 inch thick or whatever that is in metric) and the leftover waste piece were really minimal.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

9282 posts in 3399 days


#14 posted 08-21-2017 11:36 PM

Full overlay is typically a frameless application.
The European hardware is designed for 19mm
sheet board.

Inset looks great with face frames. It looks
pretty good with 3/4” frameless but would be
a mistake to do it with 1/2” ply, imo.

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jbay

1655 posts in 651 days


#15 posted 08-21-2017 11:36 PM

We have a different idea on what is good yield,
but I guess you could make the bases smaller with a taller (5 3/8”) toe kick.
And, as long as you keep all your cabinets under 30” wide.
And don’t want your finished end panels to go to the floor.

You could probably get a kitchen sink that would fit into a 30” cabinet.

A 48” wide cabinet uses 2 sides and a middle divider.
Cutting 5×5’s in half you would have to make 2- 24” cabinets meaning you need 4 sides.

I guess what I’m saying is it all depends on the kitchen layout and the quality,
It’s MY opinion that I can get a better yield using 4×8’s over 5×5’s
and not be forced to design my cabinetry based on material size.

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

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