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1/2" vs. 3/4" plywood for kitchen cabinets

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Forum topic by Elvin posted 04-20-2014 03:17 PM 6356 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Elvin

71 posts in 2862 days


04-20-2014 03:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plywood kitchen cabinets question

Good morning
For years I have been using 3/4” plywood, tongue and groove, for kitchen cabinets. Recently I saw a Robert Settich video where he uses 1/2” ply for his cabinets.
My question is, has anyone had problems with the 1/2” or do you recommend staying with the 3/4” .
My current project is for my daughter’s small town home kitchen.
Any information is appreciated.
El

-- Elvin, Southern California, "How great would life be if we lived a little of it everyday"


10 replies so far

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2735 posts in 2040 days


#1 posted 04-20-2014 03:51 PM

Stick with 3/4”.
It will hold up longer and the difference between 3/4” and 1/2” is negligible.

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

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1297 posts in 1411 days


#2 posted 04-20-2014 04:12 PM

It all depends on the application. If ti is a huge base I would use 3/4” for the floor. other than that 1/2” is plenty strong. When building kitchen cabinets I use 1/2” prefinished maple plywood for the boxes. On the ends of the cabinets that show I just use a skin that matches the face frame.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3935 posts in 1956 days


#3 posted 04-20-2014 04:16 PM

I’ll second the stick with 3/4” advice. I do think 1/2” is probably strong enough (after all, production cabinets seem to be made with 1/2” particleboard), but with 3/4” you never have to wonder. Besides, the cost difference is so small it doesn’t save any money.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Loren's profile

Loren

8302 posts in 3111 days


#4 posted 04-20-2014 04:19 PM

I don’t see a problem with 1/2” if you understand that in
some ways it will be less forgiving. There’s less extra
material to absorb a slightly misplaced nail or a screw not
driven just so. The success of a cabinet really depends
on how well the geometry of the box is supported. 3/4”
material is stiff enough to be sort of self-supporting and
cabinets can be put together treating the material as
a slab, while with 1/2” material you’ll need to consider
more carefully how the glue, joinery and assembly sequence
choices ensure you’re getting the result you want.

View Scott's profile

Scott

150 posts in 2435 days


#5 posted 04-20-2014 04:26 PM

I use 3/4 for base cabinets and 1/2 for wall cabinets. Saves a little weight and cost but that’s about it. 1/2 and 3/4 scraps and cut-offs are both great for other items such as shelves, toekick, shop furniture, jigs, etc.

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

1154 posts in 1097 days


#6 posted 04-20-2014 06:35 PM

No problem using 1/2” you have to realize it’s vertical, and it’s strong that way.

if it were horizontal, it would be a problem.

-- Jeff NJ

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2735 posts in 2040 days


#7 posted 04-21-2014 02:13 AM

Vertical with a heavy load on top will still bow.

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

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NiteWalker

2735 posts in 2040 days


#8 posted 04-21-2014 02:13 AM

Vertical with a heavy load on top will still bow.

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

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16242 posts in 3681 days


#9 posted 04-21-2014 02:59 AM

If you look at all the top brands of factory-made cabinetry, you will find that even the very top-of-the-line offerings are predominantly constructed with 1/2” plywood sides. I think that is pretty good evidence that 1/2” will do the job.

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

View Elvin's profile

Elvin

71 posts in 2862 days


#10 posted 04-21-2014 03:25 AM

Thank all of you for your input. It really helps me. I think I will stay with the 3/4 ply. It is something I am familiar with.
I appreciate you taking the time to answer and share your knowledge.
El

-- Elvin, Southern California, "How great would life be if we lived a little of it everyday"

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