Question on plywood

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Forum topic by DamonH posted 01-08-2014 04:50 PM 1020 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1600 days

01-08-2014 04:50 PM

Hi guys.

My first post here and probably quite a simple one. Looking at making a few rolling tool stand similar to what I have seen through the pages here ( Seems everyone is working out of a garage that the better half still wants to park the car in ;-) ). It seems plywood is the cheapest of solutions and more favoured than mdf for building cabinetry.

Just curious, I don’t need to buy the “structural” grade plywood for this task do I?
Here in Aus bunnings sells BC plywood which I am assuming would be fine for this purpose.

What thickness would be suitable to hold a portable thickness planer?

Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere and I have missed it.


8 replies so far

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1833 posts in 1967 days

#1 posted 01-08-2014 04:55 PM

I use cheaper construction grade plywood for my shop things, unless I have some nicer stuff laying about that I used for something before that. If it’s just structural and not for looks why waste the money. Of course there are many people who build some beautiful shop cabinets out of very fine wood, but to each their own. I don’t think you can go wrong with some 12 millimeter construction plywood and put it together. Save your money for the nice wood

And welcome to lumberjocks, as our resident comedian JustJoe says, “The third friendliest place on the internet”

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3646 days

#2 posted 01-08-2014 04:55 PM

you want to use cabinet grade plywood which is more consistent in dimensions, stable, and personally looks better. but you could really use any plywood that can hold it’s form and not deteriorate.

as far as thickness – you’d be surprised at how strong wood and plywood in general can be, you don’t need it to be too thick, although the general notion is to use 3/4” materials for shop grade projects like this as they will tend to bow/flex less. (for structural strength you could theoretically use 1/4” material quite safely if build correctly). i use 1/2” or 3/4” plywood for shop projects depending on the application.

and Welcome aboard!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3575 days

#3 posted 01-08-2014 04:57 PM

Welcome to Ljs
I usually use 3/4” MDF It’s great for many shop aids and jigs, Plywood works too.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Pie's profile


187 posts in 3403 days

#4 posted 01-08-2014 05:16 PM

Check out this solution FARROUT did.

Maybe just something to get you up and running.

Welcome to LJ

-- Pie

View DamonH's profile


3 posts in 1600 days

#5 posted 01-08-2014 11:53 PM

Thanks for the responses!
So 3/4 inch is favoured, ive worked with mdf a bit but never plywood. Perhaps ill try the ply.

Im assuming pre-drill screw holes with ply is necessary?

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 3362 days

#6 posted 01-09-2014 12:47 AM

I used plywood for my rolling shop carts. The carts are usually 3/4” plywood panels (birch, sande ply or poplar) with either pine or poplar frame elements. Many of the tops are double layer laminated plywood. They are derived from Wood Magazine’s Idea Shop 5 concept.

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2024 days

#7 posted 01-09-2014 12:55 AM

I built all of mine using 1×2 framing which I than use 3/8” BC ply. I have also used the thin luan ply. Both are inexpensive if you are just painting. If you want to stain it, try the luan ply rather than the BC. To smooth the finish i smear joint compound over the plywood panels and give it a light sanding to smooth it out, Joint compound works great for filling the pores and small voids in BC ply. If a tool is extra heavy, such as my dewalt planer, I used 3/4 construction grade ply for the top and bottom pieces to give it a little more structural integrity. It wasn’t because of the weight of the planer I did this, I was thinking vibration at the time, in retrospect that was unnecessary for that particular tool though as it doesn’t vibrate that much and the 3/8 would have been fine.

Method is simple, cut 2 identical size squares for top and bottom. Smear joint compound on each side and sand.

Carefully measure each side individually and cut to fit on a miter saw with 45 degree corners.
Attach sides to edges of ply observing best sides down and edge of sides flush using glue and small finish nails.
Set nails and fill holes, joint compound again in nail holes and edges where 1×2s meet the ply. sand.

Choose top and bottom, Set top aside and attach 4 small squares 3/4 lumber larger than your casters to the underside of the bottom. (Make sure your Attaching nails/screws do not align with your caster wheel mounting screws.) Attach Casters.

Set bottom on ground on casters and measure height from ground to top of bottom.

Determine magic number. Mine is 42, determined by height from floor to my elbow when at it’s natural working position, this is a personal thing, some like to go lower or higher than that spot.

Cut 8 1×2 lengths that are Magic number – Height of bottom with caster – 1.5 (top thickness).

Cut 2 pocket holes in end of each new piece.

In 4 of the pieces drill a 3/8” hole about 3/8” deep half way up and aligned on one edge so it centered in a band 3/4 wide from 1 edge. In the center of that hole drill a thru hole with a small bit for a #8 wood screw.

put top down and attach these side pieces into the corners so any 2 pieces make like a L shape, observe that one piece should have your 3/8” hole in it aligned to the edge of the neighboring piece.

Put bottom down so it’s on it’s casters and lock them (always use swiveling locking casters) and flip top over on it so the sides are in position and attach them. Put a #8 wood screw thru each of your 3/8” holes and pull the edges together in the middle. Add a little glue to each hole and a wood plug. Cut flush.

At this point I like to Sand and fill everything and prime/paint the Framework. The top and bottom should already be filled and sanded from before and can be painted now.

Choose your front side an measure inside for back panel, put back in but do not nail it in yet. Measure inside for side panels and cut and fit. When happy remove, smear with joint compound, sand, prime & paint outside surface.

Let dry, than install using small brads. Prime & Paint the inside, cabinet is mostly done. Add drawers, doors, whatever you want.

I’ve actually got this process down so for me my actual build time is only a couple hours. It takes a couple days because of all the dry times.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29226 posts in 2336 days

#8 posted 01-09-2014 01:27 AM

For holding tools I would use 3/4. I have no use for MDF. Just my opinion.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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