Bookcase with face frame

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Forum topic by ppg677 posted 01-24-2018 04:30 AM 1670 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ppg677's profile


148 posts in 758 days

01-24-2018 04:30 AM

I plan on making a bookcase out of plywood with a face frame to cover the ply edges on the front

In the base I’ve done hardwood bookcases using a simple rabbit joint as shown below. But with ply, how should I cover the edge on the top that won’t be covered by a face frame?

Any other recommendations for joining the sides to the top and bottom?

I’ll use dados for the shelves.

24 replies so far

View wuddoc's profile


267 posts in 3620 days

#1 posted 01-24-2018 04:57 AM

Dowels, Biscuits, splines, locking miter.

One method is to use a veneer. You can purchase this material in various species. Some even have a pressure sensitive peel off backing while others use glue that melts when you apply an iron.

-- Wuddoc

View AlaskaGuy's profile


3912 posts in 2211 days

#2 posted 01-24-2018 07:00 AM

How tall is it and how you going to finish it?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Breeze73's profile


45 posts in 583 days

#3 posted 01-24-2018 07:54 AM

No matter how you connect that corner, you will have a plywood edge visible. That is unless you do a 45 degree beveled edge (which I would not recommend). If the plywood edge is low enough to be seen, then I would recommend veneer edge banding the top of vertical edge prior to making the rabbet. Once the veneer is on, and trimmed, then you can use a dado blade to get the fit perfect for the 23/32” plywood top to fit within.

However, if the top will be higher than about 76” or so, then I wouldn’t worry about it.

-- Breeze

View AlaskaGuy's profile


3912 posts in 2211 days

#4 posted 01-24-2018 08:02 AM

Put a top on it. It will hide the plywood edge and make the whole project more appealing to the eye, IMO
I don’t show it but I’d do something with the toe kick also.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View jerryminer's profile


885 posts in 1343 days

#5 posted 01-24-2018 09:30 AM

Hi ppg677—- I like the drawing of the bookcase—- reminds me of one I saw on SMC. ;-)

I’m with AlaskaGuy on this—if the top will be visible, put a lid on it. Otherwise, ignore it.

Other options include:

running the sides up another couple inches, adding a back rail, and edgebanding the top edge of the ply.

running the top over the sides and adding a trim detail to cover the edges.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

432 posts in 64 days

#6 posted 01-24-2018 02:08 PM

I do not have sketchup, but, on a cabinet like that, I would take a piece of 3/4” plywood
and attach a 1×2” board to the edge to it, making the top about 2”larger on the two sides and the front,
leaving the back flush with the cabinet.
rout the 3 edges with an Ogee or similar profile and turn it over with the routed edge on the bottom.
then apply a 3/4” 1/4 round shoe molding under it to make a very nice profile.
if the bookcase is under 5 feet tall, I would use solid lumber glued up for the top that will match the plywood case.
if you leave it just a Plane Box configuration – it will look like something you would buy at Ikea.
[and you don’t want that]

maybe someone that has sketchup can make a better rendering of what I am trying say.


View jbay's profile


2025 posts in 801 days

#7 posted 01-24-2018 02:18 PM

This is a little more work, but it does get rid of the edge.

Or you could make your dado deeper, on just the top, so that only about an 1/8 of the edge shows.
You would still have to veneer the edge.

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

View ppg677's profile


148 posts in 758 days

#8 posted 01-24-2018 05:41 PM

Thank you all. Yes, I lifted the image from somewhere (probably SMC).

View Bill_Steele's profile


258 posts in 1633 days

#9 posted 01-24-2018 05:50 PM

I agree with others—put a top on it.

I think it’s called a rabbet joint as opposed to a rabbit joint—which I imagine to look like this (joking)

View ArtMann's profile


817 posts in 718 days

#10 posted 01-24-2018 06:10 PM

Actually, most of the joints illustrated are commonly referred to as dado joints. Rabbet joints usually refer to a cross grain cut along the edge like the top one in the illustration.

View Mike_D_S's profile


420 posts in 2116 days

#11 posted 01-24-2018 07:03 PM

Another simple answer is adding a piece of hardwood edging to the plywood side. Basically glue on a 1/4 strip to the end of the plywood side. Then cut your rabbet as normal. The end of the ply will be hidden and you’ll have a small seam showing on the side.

Not invisible, but not as much work as building a top.


-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View bondogaposis's profile


4594 posts in 2253 days

#12 posted 01-24-2018 07:45 PM

Put a hardwood top on it, it won’t cost a lot and will add another dimension of class to the piece. Also add a plinth, make the simple look elegant.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ppg677's profile


148 posts in 758 days

#13 posted 01-26-2018 03:16 AM

What’s a plinth and how do I make one? From googling, looks like a bottom piece.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

432 posts in 64 days

#14 posted 01-26-2018 04:15 AM

modified photo just to show the top and bottom of a nicely constructed cabinet case.
a simple decorative support base (plinth) will add charm and character to your bookcase.


View AlaskaGuy's profile


3912 posts in 2211 days

#15 posted 01-26-2018 04:46 AM

Perhaps you have a good reason for not telling us but you never did answer the question…. “How tall is it and how you going to finish it?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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