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Forum topic by SabadoG posted 04-18-2013 01:14 PM 875 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SabadoG

4 posts in 1307 days


04-18-2013 01:14 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hello all, I am really really new at woodworking and I am looking for advice on building a box out of 3/4 birch plywood. The dimensions will be approximately 4’(l) x 2’(w) x 18”(h) with a top that is removable and inset flush with the sideboards. The box won’t be load-bearing and given my skills I want it to be relatively simple. I know that a rabbited or biscuit joint would be the preferred method here but I don’t have a router. I would like to have as much surface area as possible on the floor of the box. So here is my question: In this application would butt joints be strong enough to hold the box together, would it be better to frame it out and skin it with the plywood, or is there a third option that I haven’t thought of? The inside of the box will be painted with a 2-part epoxy paint which I’m guessing will add some additional strength. If it is better to frame out the box first, what should I use? Thanks in advance.


10 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1474 posts in 1049 days


#1 posted 04-18-2013 01:44 PM

Glued and screwed butt joints will be more than sufficient.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1846 days


#2 posted 04-18-2013 01:46 PM

You can do rabbets on a table saw…if you have one. That’s the way I’d do it.

Butt joints would be fine if you use glue with brads or screws. I wouldn’t use glue alone.

I wouldn’t count on the epoxy paint adding structural support.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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SabadoG

4 posts in 1307 days


#3 posted 04-18-2013 02:09 PM

yeah, I was gonna glue and screw. Thanks!

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1854 posts in 2249 days


#4 posted 04-18-2013 03:05 PM

Glue doesn’t add any significant strength on an end grain butt joint. Brads would not give any strength.

If it were me I’d use Kreg screws, plus it gives you an excuse to buy a new tool. (Kreg screws applied on the inside of the box would not mar the outside surface of the box.)

-- Joe

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1846 days


#5 posted 04-18-2013 03:26 PM

I’d say that depends, Joe. Brads (nails) and glue can give plenty of strength. However, if I use them, I use long ones and I drive them at angles as much as possible. Nails certainly don’t hold as well in end grain plywood (though plywood isn’t all end grain on the edge), but they do act as wedges to prevent separation as long as you vary the angle they are driven. This also assures that you are crossing the plies instead of staying IN a single ply or, worse, splitting a ply.

But yeah, screws are better. I simply suggested brads because they are less obtrusive.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15706 posts in 2906 days


#6 posted 04-18-2013 03:44 PM

If I was just looking for simple and functional, screwed butt joints would be my choice. If you want to step up the looks a little bit, you can countersink the screw heads and cover them with wood filler.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1846 days


#7 posted 04-18-2013 04:25 PM

The biggest problem I have with screws on plywood is that it more easily splits the plies, so the width of the board kinda grows on you, if you catch my meaning. This certainly isn’t pretty and greatly weakens the joint. So, if its something “pretty” as opposed to a shop fixture (where I often don’t care), then pre-drill the screw holes…and even countersink them, like Charlie said.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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CharlieM1958

15706 posts in 2906 days


#8 posted 04-18-2013 06:02 PM

Jay is right about pre-drilling the holes. DAMHIKT. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

1995 posts in 1919 days


#9 posted 04-18-2013 06:33 PM

If it doesn’t have to be real pretty, Kreg pocket screws give tremendous holding power. They are self tapping but you can still predrill if you like. With the square head drive, you can pull your pieces up really tight.

I am not talking about using the jig, just drive the screws in at 90 deg angle for your butt joints The flat head works great.

Just a thought.

Or you could use the jig and drive your srews from the inside of the box.

Just another thought.
Good luck.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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gfadvm

11234 posts in 1378 days


#10 posted 04-19-2013 01:42 AM

Small triangular gussetts glued in the corners will really add a LOT of strength. I would make them 1 1/2” wide extending the full length of the corner joints. Shoot a few brad nails to hold them until the glue dries. Not fine woodworking but very strong!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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