LumberJocks

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

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Elvin posted 04-20-2014 03:17 PM 16586 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Elvin's profile

Elvin

72 posts in 3393 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"


18 replies so far

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2737 posts in 2571 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

1325 posts in 1943 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

4981 posts in 2487 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 (online now)

Loren

10373 posts in 3642 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

153 posts in 2966 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

1274 posts in 1628 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

2737 posts in 2571 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.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2737 posts in 2571 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

16274 posts in 4212 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

72 posts in 3393 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"

View Vesselhead's profile

Vesselhead

2 posts in 16 days


#11 posted 05-05-2018 03:19 AM

Can I add a twist?
What if you are building a 5’ wide, 24” deep base cabinet where the middle is free standing drawer fridge. There is an upper cabinet directly on top that is 11” deep. 1/2” is better for weight. But now you are dealing with vibration.

View Vesselhead's profile

Vesselhead

2 posts in 16 days


#12 posted 05-05-2018 03:20 AM

Forgot to say this is for a teardrop.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

9444 posts in 1480 days


#13 posted 05-05-2018 03:36 AM

The couple shops I know use 5/8 and 3/4 on show sides. Or 1/2 and 3/4 on sides.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

10373 posts in 3642 days


#14 posted 05-05-2018 04:18 AM

Cabinets get their structural integrity from
the back and, when there is one, from a
face frame. Frameless cabinets lack the
face frame obviously, and many are made
in 3/4” material but some are 5/8”.

If you’re using a face frame I wouldn’t be
concerned about 1/2” ply for the box sides.
1/4” is fine for the back. I think I’ve seen
1/4” sides in RVs, but there has to be some
reinforcement sticks in there that may make
movable shelves more hassle than it’s worth.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

4122 posts in 2303 days


#15 posted 05-05-2018 04:48 AM

AS Charles M states there are plenty of commercial cabinets made with 1/2. I like 3/4 throughout even the back. I don’t think I ever seen nor heard of 1/2 in framless cabinets. When I drive screws into the edge of plywood or melamine I like the extra thickness of 3/4 material. More weigh, I don’t care, more expense I don’t care. My goal was never to build the cheapest cabinet I could.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com