End Joinery with Pre-Finished Apple Ply - Seeking Ideas

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Forum topic by David Schwarz posted 02-27-2018 06:50 AM 216 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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David Schwarz

99 posts in 146 days

02-27-2018 06:50 AM

So for the wardrobe closet, when I purchased all the wood, I was led down a path that compelled me to purchase pre-finished apple ply drawer sides that include a pre-finished crown:

At the time, it seemed like a great idea. But now I’m faced with joining four sides to make the box, and it appears I have two wee problems with my original plan for a tongue and groove approach:

These problems should be obvious to the seasoned (and unseasoned) veteran.

1. Because of the crown, this joint looks like crap.

2. Because one side of the tongue will be finished, it will not be a proper substrate for the glue up.

Now being the less than clever person I am, I’ve thought of two solutions:

1. Cut off the crown, then sand and finish when assembled.

2. Take a fraction (1/64”) off the side opposite the rabbet so that everything inside the groove is untreated wood.

To me, these aren’t ideal solutions, and I prefer the prize behind door number three – the divine guidance of those that have traveled this road before and can bring much wisdom and sanity to this conundrum.

Thanks in advance for looking, and any and all assistance offered.


-- I make trees cry.

3 replies so far

View MrRon's profile


4665 posts in 3172 days

#1 posted 02-27-2018 05:15 PM

Your approach will work.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10079 posts in 3577 days

#2 posted 02-27-2018 05:24 PM

As long as you’re using decent slides I
wouldn’t be too concerned about cutting
off the finish. The glue surface area on
the unfinished areas are sufficient imo.
Gluing in the bottom will make the drawer
stronger too.

View David Schwarz's profile

David Schwarz

99 posts in 146 days

#3 posted 02-28-2018 05:37 AM

Thank you everyone for all the input – here is the solution I came up with after further thought:

and here it is assembled:

It’s not perfect, but much better. A little wood filler and I think no one will ever know. The only downside is the tiny relief in the top of the crown. It does allow a closer fit, and I only have to trim ~ 1/32” off the bottom to make the pieces parallel.

On a related matter, I absolutely need some better saw blades for the “new” Unisaw. Everything cuts very straight, but there’s a slight concave in the center. Truth be told, I had bought a Freud blade, and discovered that much of my cutting problems were due to the blade (has 0.003” run out). I swapped in the DeWalt blade that came with the contractors saw, and it actually cuts much better, but is the source of that concave in the cut. So, who makes top notch blades, and what would you recommend as a good “starter” set for basic needs?

Thanks again for the input!


-- I make trees cry.

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