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Recomendations on Joinery type for carcass

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Forum topic by dschlic1 posted 03-07-2013 06:35 PM 2295 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dschlic1

179 posts in 666 days


03-07-2013 06:35 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question biscuit joiner router joining modern

I am in the planning stages of a cabinet for my AV center. I will be using plywood for the cabinet carcass. I would like some recommendations on the type of joinery to be used to fasten the vertical panels to the base. In my design, I want a toe space on all three sides of the bottom of the cabinet, therefore the side panels will not go all of the way to the floor. This means that the side panel to bottom joint will have to support the weight of the cabinet top and everything that is placed on it.

I have three types of joints in mind: Rabbet, biscuit and mortise/loose tenon or spline. The biscuit joint is probably the easiest and fastest to make, however I have heard that it can be weak. The rabbet with leaving an 1/8 to 1/4” of wood outside the bottom is the second easiest to make. Mortise and loose tenon using a small plywood strip for the tennon is the most difficult but possibily the strongest.

Any suggestions?


12 replies so far

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

1451 posts in 1065 days


#1 posted 03-07-2013 06:51 PM

I would probably dado or rabbet the sides and back to accept the bottom . That way you’re transferring the load to the bottom, which would have support under it.If you’re going to have a to kick on 3 sides, and the components in the cabinet might be heavy, you might consider laminating 2 piece of ply for the bottom to add strength so they don’t flex as much from the downward force from the sides.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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RetiredCoastie

999 posts in 1879 days


#2 posted 03-07-2013 06:53 PM

I would use a rabbet joint and then cover the exposed edges with either 3/4” hard wood or you can get wood veneer in a roll that’s applied with an iron and that will cover the ply’s.

In my experience biscuits are not weak depending on the way in which they’re incorporated in the construction. I wouldn’t use them in a shear load.

-- www.thepatriotwoodworker.com Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

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BinghamtonEd

1451 posts in 1065 days


#3 posted 03-07-2013 06:56 PM

You could rabbet the sides and back to fit on the bottom. That way, no exposed ply edges to fix, and you’re not reducing the thickness of the load-bearing bottom.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View levan's profile (online now)

levan

412 posts in 1675 days


#4 posted 03-07-2013 06:56 PM

I have always used a rabbet, leaving 1/4”. Works great and very strong. I also put screws up though bottom into the side. I let the side hang 1/4” below the bottom so that a 1” face frame rail will be flush to the bottom of the end panel.
best wishes

-- Lynn "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View twelvepoint's profile

twelvepoint

38 posts in 658 days


#5 posted 03-07-2013 07:03 PM

A couple years ago I did something similar. I had a large laminated desktop with laminated mahogany surface that I ripped in half and that became the top and bottom. I had some leftover 12”x24” mahog plywood that I used for the carcase sides, center divider, doors and shelf. The left side had cabinet doors and the right side was open with a shelf. It had a back and I banded the plywood edges, so no face frame. Kind of had a “mid-century modern” look to it.

I used biscuits to hold the sides and center divider to the top and bottom and it was very stable. If I did a face frame it would have been even stronger. It was pretty much an afternoon “quick-win” type pf project for me, so there wasn’t a lot of effort or personal pride in the joinery. I do think the biscuits were a very adequate choice, and the design certainly didn’t put much stress on the joints.

I recently sold the cabinet for $40 on Craigslist. Was very surprised to get money for it!

-Chris

View Loren's profile

Loren

7743 posts in 2344 days


#6 posted 03-07-2013 07:19 PM

Cabinet deck is likely to sag if unsupported span on
bottom is greater than, say 30” and you use 3/4”
ply. Solid wood has greater beam strength.

If you are going to put the cabinet on a plinth with
a recess of perhaps 5” on 3 sides, any joinery
method will be fine. In your situation I would
probably just use biscuits and put some
countersunk screws in to clamp the bottom
verticals. This way joinery doesn’t interfere
with edgebanding the panels neatly the
way dados will.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2024 posts in 1927 days


#7 posted 03-07-2013 07:22 PM

You could build a base that is a couple of inches shorter in width and length and the height of your toe kick. Then all you have to do is build your cabinet like a box and attach it to the base. :-)

I have been thinking about doing the same thing for a cabinet or two for my garage which has a very uneven concrete floor. Easier for me to level the base and then sit the cabinet on top. :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

1451 posts in 1065 days


#8 posted 03-07-2013 08:00 PM

I’ve used these adjustable legs on my garage cabinets, they work great, and come with the plinth clips to just snap on the toe kicks afterwards.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View frosty50's profile

frosty50

27 posts in 1043 days


#9 posted 03-07-2013 08:13 PM

Build a toe kick base with stretchers going across from front to back. The usual approach for my area is 3” less than the width of the base cabinet and the sides if the cabinet is exposed on the ends. A seperate toe kick allows you to level it then set the base cabinets on top of it, then you only have to worry about plumming the the back with shims. this allows for easy alignment of the doors and drawers. It the AV unit is freestaqnding, still use stretchers but install blocks in the corners for levelers, there are several different ways that will work for the blocking. As for the cabinet carcasses, I use 1/4” dados or rabbets on the side panels to accept the base but hold them up from the bottom 3/4” to help distrubite the load. I have done a bunch of cabinetry this way and never had a problem with sagging. I use a 3/8” by 1/4” rabbet for the back panel.

-- frosty

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MT_Stringer

2024 posts in 1927 days


#10 posted 03-07-2013 08:32 PM

“I’ve used these adjustable legs on my garage cabinets, they work great, and come with the plinth clips to just snap on the toe kicks afterwards.”

Thanks. I will definitely check those out.
Note: I think the guys that poured our street also poured our slab! God, it is terrible – built in 1983.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View dschlic1's profile

dschlic1

179 posts in 666 days


#11 posted 03-11-2013 08:00 PM

Thanks for all of the replies. I have attached a preliminary image of my design:

I will be using dados cut into the outside vertical panels, leaving either 1/4 or 1/8” ply to hide the bottom.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3465 posts in 1509 days


#12 posted 03-11-2013 08:53 PM

I like a mix of dados and biscuits.
Here is the way I build case goods…
http://lumberjocks.com/pintodeluxe/blog/34981

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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