Joining Plywood side and bottom of a cabinet

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Forum topic by damnHippie posted 09-20-2008 06:00 AM 6430 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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35 posts in 3946 days

09-20-2008 06:00 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question joining

I’m in the process of designing/building a sideboard cabinet. A bit in the craftsman style, and has legs and rails. I’ve run into a design issue: how do I join the side plywood sheet and the bottom plywood sheet where they meet the rail? What do you think?

Classic butt joint with biscuits?
Butt joints, with biscuits

Rabbeted rail with both ply sheets mitered?
Rabbeted rail, mitered ply

Rabbeted rail, with the side ply sheet rabbeted?
Rabbeted rail, rabbeted side ply

Rabbeted rail, with the bottom ply sheet rabbeted?
Rabbeted rail, rabbeted bottom ply

-- 10 fingers, 2 eyes, and healthy lungs. for now. :P

11 replies so far

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3732 days

#1 posted 09-20-2008 06:06 AM

I like option 3 or 4. Six of one or a half dozen of the other. They both hide the cut end of the stock, probably stronger and easier to make than 2.

-- Joe

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3925 days

#2 posted 09-20-2008 06:31 AM

Sliding Dovetail?

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View lew's profile


12380 posts in 3927 days

#3 posted 09-20-2008 06:35 AM

I would go with the last option simply because both side and bottom have the full width of the rail rabbet for support

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View cmaeda's profile


205 posts in 3725 days

#4 posted 09-20-2008 06:54 AM

The last option looks to be the strongest.

View gusthehonky's profile


130 posts in 3913 days

#5 posted 09-20-2008 10:31 AM

4 looks good for bottom, but side also must be taken into account also. What size ply, is there a face frame, fixed shelfs, or other material, aside from top and back to for support and strength?

-- Ciao, gth.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4065 days

#6 posted 09-20-2008 01:28 PM

Option 3…............only I wouldnt rabbet the base to the cabinet, rather let the cabinet sit on top. This way transportation and installation is faster, easier and it does not deter the structural integrity of the piece.

2 cents

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10293 posts in 4223 days

#7 posted 10-04-2008 08:35 PM

With plywwod having grain(s) that go in both directions, alternating sheets, why not the good ole Butt Joint?

I have found it to be very strong and good when gluing pieces of ply together.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3894 days

#8 posted 10-05-2008 06:00 AM

#4 will be the strongest joint out of all your designs, but I have to agree with Joe’s comment about a simple butt joint.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View tooldad's profile


660 posts in 3886 days

#9 posted 10-05-2008 06:21 AM

My method is to run the plywood all the way to the floor and use the plywood as part of the leg or side. Then add the solid material as a base trim. I think it would give you the same effect visually, then it is just a simple dado. I will draw it up in sketchup and post again.

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660 posts in 3886 days

#10 posted 10-05-2008 06:43 AM

here you go:
dado with trim example

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4193 days

#11 posted 10-05-2008 01:44 PM


Your last design depends on a level floor.
Good luck finding one.
Go back and read what Roman tomentioned above.
It’s a shame to have to flip the cabinets over on the jobsite and start trimming plywood to level the boxes.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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