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Norm's workshop hutch - which materials?

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Forum topic by petergdenmark posted 04-08-2012 06:10 PM 2786 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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petergdenmark

55 posts in 1879 days


04-08-2012 06:10 PM

I wan’tt to build the lower part of Norm’s workshop hutch, but birch plywood costs $200 a sheet (18mm thick) here, so that’s not an option.

So in your opinion. Could i get away with building it out of regular 20mm thick 5-ply plywood (12mm drawer bottoms)?

The stuff i’m thinking avout actually has a BB side (virtually no defects), which looks ok, and could take paint pretty good, if i was so inclined.

Plywood isn’t often used here i Scandinavia (more MDF, OSB and particle board – you know – IKEA materials), so i am not experienced in how structually soiind regular plywood is.

Thank you fellows.

-- I'm from Denmark, but live in Sweden.


21 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3038 days


#1 posted 04-08-2012 07:22 PM

If your going to paint it why not build it from MDF, plywood is strong but not as flat as MDF but plywood is lighter than MDF. Wow $200 for birch plywood,here in North west USA it’s about $32 a sheet.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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petergdenmark

55 posts in 1879 days


#2 posted 04-08-2012 07:44 PM

$32 a sheet – damn. And most of the birch comes from just a few hundret miles from here – go figure…

Anyway – i don’t like mdf because of the dust, and the way it really can’t take a screw.

-- I'm from Denmark, but live in Sweden.

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

3341 posts in 2546 days


#3 posted 04-08-2012 11:02 PM

If you are that close to the scource of birch, is there a chance you could pick up regular wood for a good
price and build it that way?

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

View thedude50's profile

thedude50

3596 posts in 1939 days


#4 posted 04-08-2012 11:24 PM

I have made plenty of shop cabinets for farms in my area out of cdx plywood. that is the 5 ply c grade it has knots in it but it will hold up very well. I have made hundreds of cabinets for shops on farms and believe me they take a beating. I HAVE NEVER HAD A CABINET FAIL WITH THIS. it does not take stain that well but it will if you make sure you keep the good side out. Also you should be able to get Baltic birch Plywood at a better price than we do here as it comes from closer to you. unless there is a state tax on it. that is 9 ply or so for 3/4 inch but that is overkill there should be a couple of variety’s of birch cabinet grade and furniture grade the cost is quite different even here when people say 36 dollars a sheet it is cabinet grade. I bet you can find it for less some were close to you and may have to have it shipped. when i worked in Denmark 20 years ago this plywood was plentiful and not very pricy. so look to adjoining country’s for your wood and ship it it likely will cost you less.

-- Please check out my new stores http://woodratnest.com and http://woodshopstore.com

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petergdenmark

55 posts in 1879 days


#5 posted 04-08-2012 11:27 PM

I have a pretty solid supply of wild cherry, but it wil be really involved to mill that (a lot of inner tention), when such long pieces are needed.
I can of course get spruce lumber, but I sort of wanted to get this hutch up and running pretty fast, since my shop is a mess.

With a shop, where everything is in boxes, the thought of edgegluing that many panels is also kind of daunting.

I’m close to the source of the raw material for plywood, but the product never see the private marked here.

But what you are saying is, that regular plywood won’t work? I actually thought all types of plywood were pretty stable, but guess regular plywood is unly structurally sound when used to reinforce walls and such, and backed by 2×4’s?

-- I'm from Denmark, but live in Sweden.

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thedude50

3596 posts in 1939 days


#6 posted 04-08-2012 11:34 PM

no what i said is it will most defiantly work it just wont be as pretty

-- Please check out my new stores http://woodratnest.com and http://woodshopstore.com

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petergdenmark

55 posts in 1879 days


#7 posted 04-08-2012 11:40 PM

@Thedude50 – thank you for your input

Believe me – i’ve driven around to a LOT of saw mills, woodshops, cabinet makers and whole salers. Walked in, cash in hand, sometimes bringing a case of beers, a bottle of good wine or whiskey, but they just couldn’t be bothered dealing with a “small timer” like me. And of course scoured the internet in both Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
I live in Sweden, but the cheapest regular (7-ply) birch plywood i’ve found is actually in Denmark, and that was a BB/X quality, and that was still $85 a sheet for 18mm.

Guess things have changed over the last 20 years.

That being said, it is really reassuring to hear you’ve built plenty of boxes and cabinets from regular plywood, and never had them fail. That settles it – i will drive to Denmark and by 10 sheets (20mm), which i can get for about $50, and get to building.

-- I'm from Denmark, but live in Sweden.

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petergdenmark

55 posts in 1879 days


#8 posted 04-09-2012 12:03 AM

Sorry dude50.

I was replying, before i saw your helpfull input.

As said – i will build it in regular plywood, since I primarily care about funtion – i can allways dress it up with some nice veneers land solid cherry drawer fronts later, when i get my tools in it’s place :).

Thank you again for all the help – and keep up the good work on your website – I’ve enjoyed what i’ve read so far.

-- I'm from Denmark, but live in Sweden.

View Rileysdad's profile

Rileysdad

110 posts in 2740 days


#9 posted 04-09-2012 12:05 AM

I’d build the carcass from MDF. The partitions are single pieces and cheap plywood can be warped. That makes fitting the drawers a problem. Plywood for the drawer boxes and fronts. It will stand up to abuse better than MDF.

-- Measure twice, cut once, buy extra stock.

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petergdenmark

55 posts in 1879 days


#10 posted 04-09-2012 01:44 AM

Hmm – i’m torn.

I can see that the MDF is more likely to be flat, but it’s really uncomfortable to work with 20mm osb alone, since it’s so damn heavy.

Now i’m actually contemplating building the carcass out of 18 mm OSB, which i have used for all my walls and ceilings, and find to be extremely stable, just as rigid as pine ply and very flat. I got even more convinced when iread this article:
http://bct.eco.umass.edu/publications/by-title/choosing-between-oriented-strandboard-and-plywood/

... And – call me weird – but i actually think that edge banded osb, that is sanded with a belt sander, and treated with a clear coat looks really cool (see for instance: http://woodgears.ca/student-desk/index.html or http://osbfurniture.com/). It has the same edge swelling problems as MDF, but is much more rigid, and will stay rigid longer. And last, but certainly not least – it’s cheap and available.

-- I'm from Denmark, but live in Sweden.

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thedude50

3596 posts in 1939 days


#11 posted 04-09-2012 05:54 AM

the plywood in Europe is not treated like it is in home depot or even my supplier here in Fresno California. I can get nice flat sheets of any plywood from cdx to ac ansd aa so I would not worry as long as y0uor using 3/4 incch for shop cabinets. we are very spoiled here, I have built hundreds no exaggeration of cabinets here for farmers out of cdx plywood and have no problems putting in drawers. I swear you wont have any trouble either. I stake my reputation on it. I have nothing to gain from telling you it is ok to do granted i would use aa cabinet grade if they had it but please remember Mdf is no wear near water resistant and water cets on theat stuff antd it is junk. also the stuff causes cancer and it causes copd in cabinet shop workers. I never use mdf except to make jigs and shooting boards. I hang those up in case any water gets into the shop. On the barns I have built shops in for farmers you know this is the farm capital of the world we grow more here than the rest of the united states put together with one exception Dent corn . We have thousands of farmers they all want nice shops but wont pay for aa birch plywood so I started using cdx and have done it for 25 years it works just fine for shop cabinets. and Yes I hand pick my sheets so should you.I pick nice flat sheets I dont buy it at the big box store I buy it from a major lumber dealer and I don’t get screwed for the price 22 dollars a sheet in 5 or less 20 dollars for 5 10 and 19 dollars it i take 20 or more I have been making this kind of cabinet and I have even used norms plans to build them for 25 years and I have no complaints registered with the bbb .

-- Please check out my new stores http://woodratnest.com and http://woodshopstore.com

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thedude50

3596 posts in 1939 days


#12 posted 04-09-2012 05:54 AM

double post

-- Please check out my new stores http://woodratnest.com and http://woodshopstore.com

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petergdenmark

55 posts in 1879 days


#13 posted 04-17-2012 12:59 AM

Ok – i’ve been to a plywood supplier about 200 miles from my home, that offered ok prices. He had 11-ply 18mm birch plywood at $90, and 7-ply pine ply with one A-side at $40 a sheet.

So bought 2 sheets of the birch for the carcass, and 8 sheets on pine ply for drawers and top (and misc. shop storage). The pine ply is indeed no quite flat, but when the pieces for the drawers are cut and assembled, the amount of warp piece for piece will be very small – especially since i intend to use 12mm melamine for the bottoms, and glue them in – that will make sure the drawer stays spuare and no racking.

I’ve bought middle of the road quality 28” full extension drawer slides. Now – I have no experience with drawer slides, so do full extension drawer slides have any margin for error? What i mean is – if the carcass or the drawer sides are out of parallel by 1 mm – will this usually cause binding?

From what i read, the most common mistake people make is, that they make their drawer just a little too wide. So – would a good idea for a drawer slide newb like me be to make the drawer 1/16 “undersize” (which in my case would mean making my drawer 1-inch plus 1/16” smaller than the carcass sides. Then if it didn’t ride smoothly, i could shim it with venners or aluminum from a soda can, which would also make it possible to compensate if things weren’t 110% square (which i count on them being ofcourse).

Or is it not that hard, meaning that slides usually have a bit of allowance for small differnences?

-- I'm from Denmark, but live in Sweden.

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thedude50

3596 posts in 1939 days


#14 posted 04-17-2012 02:02 AM

I have had slides that were forgiving and some that were not forgiving at all .it all depends on the model but for the most part just don’t try to force a big fat box into a small hole and it will go well. I am glad you didn’t have to pay 200 dollars a sheet for your plywood. I am certain you will be just fine. I use a jig from kreg to mount my drawer slides. I have not had any bad luck or problems mounting them since I was able to get that jig. I know there are many other fine jigs out there but the kreg was cheep and has never let me down. I worked on all sizes of box and that was a big plus. I am sure others will have their tips on how to mount your drawers I use 1/2 inch birch plywood for my drawer bottoms. i like them to be strong and light. I will try to catch up with you as I need to build another set similar to the hutch for my shop. I already have a ton of shop projects planned but the shop has to turn a profit before it gets to be beautiful so I will go a couple of cabinets at a time. Good luck now the real fun begins

-- Please check out my new stores http://woodratnest.com and http://woodshopstore.com

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petergdenmark

55 posts in 1879 days


#15 posted 04-17-2012 12:36 PM

Thanks dude.

Any input you could provide would be much appreciated, as workig with new (for me) materials allways has a learning curve.

I’m pretty confindent i can make thing equal size, but the relative dimension of a drawer and a carcass that should be that precisely matched worries me a bit :).

So – what i’m contemplating is building the drawer boxes first, and making the carcass fit them. 4 vertical dividers are much easiers to fine tune, than 12 drawers and 24 drawer slides.

BTW – The drawers will be done with Kreg joints or doweled rabbets, and not dovetails like Norm – i think they are just overkill, i dont have a jig, they are very time consuming and frankly – i don’t think they will be that much stronger in plywood.

-- I'm from Denmark, but live in Sweden.

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