Attaching solid cherry top to plywood case, help needed

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Forum topic by Michigander posted 09-30-2012 04:13 PM 3843 views 1 time favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 2444 days

09-30-2012 04:13 PM

I am nearing completion (finally) of my TV console and need your assistance. The base is 3/4” cherry plywood. The solid cherry top is also 3/4”. I am concerned that the top will split if I screw it directly to the plywood base. There is a face frame on the front to hold doors on the right and left compartments. The center will be open shelves. How would you go about attaching the top solidly to the case and prevent splitting the top from future contraction and swelling due to humidity changes. I’ve attached pictures so you can see the project.
Thanks for your help!

11 replies so far

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2213 days

#1 posted 09-30-2012 04:30 PM

Hey John,

I’m just a rookie around. You’ll probably get better responses from the pros. Be that as it may, I’d glue down. I’d use some slow set glue so you can tweak it a little then clamp it down tight over night.

It’s really looking good!

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2602 days

#2 posted 09-30-2012 04:57 PM

Slot screwholes in the plywood (front to back), screw directly into the wood top. The slots in the plywood will accommodate the expansion and contraction of the wood top.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2249 days

#3 posted 09-30-2012 05:09 PM

Here is a good short article in Fine Woodworking. You do not want to glue or screw a large solid top on all sides to a case – whether ply or solid wood.

You can secure one edge and leave the other to accommodate the expansion, but do NOT plan to secure all edges or you will, someday, have splitting.

Anyway, there are a lot of approaches so pick the one that matches your skills and project the best. I have used both the s-clips and the wood blocks. PittsburghTim is using figure 8 fasteners here – he could probably give you some guidance if you PM him.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2402 days

#4 posted 09-30-2012 06:23 PM

Gorgeous cherry top.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 2444 days

#5 posted 09-30-2012 06:32 PM

Thanks Kookaburra for the information, but I don’t see how to do those attachments as my cabinet is already built and slotting etc. is not possible now. Nitewalker, any suggestions on how I would slot a hole front to back and not run the risk of making it oblong? The depth needs to be very controlled or the screw might pierce the top. Are there fixtures for this. I want the screw heads to be countersunk so you can’t see them.
Thanks for your patience as I am new at this (obviously)!

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2709 days

#6 posted 09-30-2012 06:51 PM

just an observation…screws through plywood top into that NICE top…who is going to see them? Wood will want to move along the width of the board, very little (if any) along the length. “Norm” would suggest an elongated hole it the plywood front to back as noted above (essentially “rocking” the drill bit back and forth). Personally I would opt for a bigger hole in the ply and use a “wafer head” screw sized to not pierce the top. No countersinking but actually a very finished look for anybody nosy enough to see them.

View waho6o9's profile


8207 posts in 2602 days

#7 posted 09-30-2012 08:00 PM

Elongated mortised slot maybe?

View jmos's profile


839 posts in 2394 days

#8 posted 09-30-2012 09:22 PM

+1 on the slotted holes and screws in the plywood. The solid wood top will move. You can use a fixed hole in the front to keep it aligned and use a slotted hole in the back so the movement will not be noticeable.

Nice piece!

-- John

View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 2444 days

#9 posted 10-01-2012 09:43 PM

Thanks guys for all your suggestions. I think I’ll use a forsner bit to give me a counter bore, then drill a slotted hole as suggested. The forsner but will allow me to use a wafer head screw so I don’t poke a hole by tightening too tight.
Thanks for the complements too; The top appears darker than it is, but the curl is much more pronounced than in the photo. I can’t wait to finish it.
Thanks again.

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4230 posts in 2586 days

#10 posted 10-01-2012 11:31 PM

What waho6o9 post #7 said

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View chrisstef's profile


17424 posts in 3031 days

#11 posted 10-01-2012 11:44 PM

That is a gorgeous top. Ive heard about figure 8 fasteners that they typically use for a wood counter top. Same purpose as the mortised hole i guess. Leaving it room to wiggle. Mmmm curly cherry.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

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