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Plywood thickness for furniture side panels

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Forum topic by Joel_B posted 11-27-2017 04:55 PM 372 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Joel_B

333 posts in 1220 days


11-27-2017 04:55 PM

I am working on a nightstand and will be using frame and panel for the sides.
I am looking for white oak plywood and wondering what thickness I should use.
I can get 1/4 or 1/2”. Since it won’t really be part of the structure I think 1/4 could work but worried about long term stability. 1/2” is a bit too thick to use it in grooves of the 3/4 frame, I could mill it down to 3/8” along the edges.
Also I could get Baltic Birch 3/8” which would be my preferred thickness (I have a 3/8 slot cutter) . Since I will be painting it with GF milk paint and then distressing by partially sanding off the paint the difference in wood grain may not be that noticeable especially with it being on the sides. I will also be building a dresser and would like to use similar construction, the appearance of the wood will be more noticeable on that piece. It would nice to use the same plywood on both projects.

Thanks!

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA


10 replies so far

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

7530 posts in 1988 days


#1 posted 11-27-2017 05:14 PM

I would use the 3/8” or 1/2”. 1/4” won’t be that rigid, and you don’t want anything to puncture it when moving. Plus, it just gives it a more solid feel overall.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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LittleShaver

207 posts in 458 days


#2 posted 11-27-2017 06:49 PM

1/4 should be more than adequate. These are not large panels and they provide no structural strength.

-- Sawdust Maker

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bondogaposis

4480 posts in 2190 days


#3 posted 11-27-2017 07:00 PM

1/4” will be fine, plywood is very strong on edge and frame takes the weight anyway.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Joel_B

333 posts in 1220 days


#4 posted 11-27-2017 07:15 PM

Just to clarify, these panels will be floating so will have zero structural effect.
Unless there is reason to glue them?

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

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MrRon

4496 posts in 3082 days


#5 posted 11-27-2017 08:53 PM

I would not use 1/4” unless you want to use it as a drum; 3/8” Baltic birch would be my choice.

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Joel_B

333 posts in 1220 days


#6 posted 11-27-2017 08:57 PM

Went to the lumberyard and the White Oak came 1/4 and 1/2” and had an MDF core. The surface was VERY thin and just looked like garbage, so ended up with 1/2” Red Oak real plywood, its not too red so should be ok.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

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Joel_B

333 posts in 1220 days


#7 posted 11-27-2017 09:27 PM

So this begs a follow up question:

If I am using 1/2 plywood with 3/4 frame should I just cut a 1/2” deep recess in the frame and insert the plywood from the back gluing it or using some other method to hold it place. Or route a 3/8 slot in the frame and mill the plywood edges down to 3/8?

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

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jbay

1857 posts in 738 days


#8 posted 11-27-2017 09:40 PM

This has always been my preference. Relief the back side.

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

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pintodeluxe

5466 posts in 2652 days


#9 posted 11-27-2017 10:01 PM

Rabbet the panel to a tongue on the inside face. The tongue can be 1/4-3/8” thick. Glue the plywood in the track for the best strength.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View sawdustdad's profile

sawdustdad

335 posts in 723 days


#10 posted 11-28-2017 12:17 AM



Rabbet the panel to a tongue on the inside face. The tongue can be 1/4-3/8” thick. Glue the plywood in the track for the best strength.

- pintodeluxe

I agree, with plywood panels you should glue them in place. That keeps the furniture from racking and it will last forever. Rebate or rabbet or whatever you want on the back side of the panel. Just keep the inside surface of the panel flush or within the frame to avoid interference with the rest of the carcase (drawers, for example).

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

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