Author Topic: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets  (Read 1391 times)

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Offline mikeyr

  • Posts: 27
1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« on: February 01, 2017, 04:27 PM »
 I recently scored some Oak plywood and it just happens that my wife wants a new kitchen :)

 This is not my first kitchen so I am not worried about that part, but the Oak plywood I scored ( 14 4x8 sheets for $100 ) are only half inch ply.  Can I ? or  since obviously i can do it, I guess the real question is should I ?  build cabinets with 1/2" ply or should I save the 1/2" plywood for drawers and other parts and go buy 3/4" ?

 Last kitchen I did, the cabinets were built-in's so this is my first time building actual cabinets (a box) for the kitchen and I see most people using 3/4".  Its going to the standard, face frame, raised panel doors kitchen, nothing fancy.  The visible ends of the cabinets will have frame and raised panels, no plywood there, so the only thing I can think of is making measurement mistakes with 1/2 ply on one side and 3/4 frame on the other, but I can try and make sure i don't make those mistakes.  I am thinking the widest box will be around 4ft. (maybe 5ft but trying to avoid that) and I assume that 1/2 will not work for shelves that wide.  I did try making a drawer with 1/2 ply over the weekend and using Domino's instead of dovetails, I think that will work but my wife says i will have edge finish the drawer sides, if i don't use solid wood.
ex-cabinet maker, now I just play with wood

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Offline gruz

  • Posts: 50
    • Grusby Woodworks
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2017, 07:14 AM »
As someone who owns a small cabinet shop, our defaults/quality standards are 3/4" carcass with 1/2" backs and solid 3/4" wood face frames.  That said, many people out there use 1/4" backs, 1/2" carcass, edge tape, and so on.  If you build the boxes individually and lock them together, in reality the sides will be 1" thick between cabinets.  The two main issues would be strong joints between the backs and sides, and face frames and sides, and the shelving.  I'd strongly caution you against using 1/2" for your shelving unless you put a strong wood nosing on it to prevent bowing.  If you're going with a 4' box or wider, I'd suggest 1 1/4"-1 1/2" solid nosing on the front and back (I'd do this with my 3/4" stock at such a wide span). Alternatively, put one or two partitions in there to shorten the shelf length (you're going to need at least 3 doors at that width cabinet, so you can line up the partition with the odd door)
I hope this is helpful.
Good luck.

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 58
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2017, 08:22 AM »
I find high quality 1/2 inch plywood very adequate for upper wall cabinets but would not use it for base cabinets where heavy countertops are supported and front-to-back spans are twice as large.  To be effective I'd use at least 1 1/4" solid face frames to stiffen the front of the box, and a 1" tall by 3/4" deep solid edges on the front of 1/2" thick shelves.  You can avoid the need for the stiffening edge on the rear of shelves by using a shelf support pin in the center of the rear of the cabinet for any shelf wider than 16".

Offline mikeyr

  • Posts: 27
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2017, 12:33 PM »
perfect idea, I will build the upper cabinets using the 1/2 ply and buy some 3/4 for the base cabinets. 

I pretty much had decided that 1/2 would not be sufficient for the shelving.  But 3/4 sides and 1/2 backs is workable, I have enough sheets for that and I wont have to buy 1/4 sheets for the backs that way.
 Glad I asked, I had not thought of using up those sheets that way.
ex-cabinet maker, now I just play with wood

Offline JimD

  • Posts: 311
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2017, 03:29 PM »
My wife says that we have to buy cabinets, I would take too long.  The cabinets I am looking at have 1/2 plywood boxes with face frames.  I'm not sure what thickness the back is.  They are knock down.  If I was making them, I would use 3/4 for the boxes but I think 1/2 with a face frame will work - it must since commercially supplied cabinets use it.  I would also rather have 1/2 plywood than particle board, regardless of thickness. 

Offline mikeyr

  • Posts: 27
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2017, 01:22 PM »
luckily my wife has more patience than yours :)
My last kitchen build for her took many years (too many to count) but she was thrilled with all the little nooks and things I put in all over the kitchen.  New kitchen will be the same style but she did make a request...that I be finished THIS year with it.  She would prefer I do the work because it really is custom that way and I can put in little nooks and things to make her life easier.

 First step was move a load bearing wall out of the way, that is done.  Next step is we have a section of the floor that is spongy, I suspect termites and I have to rip out the floor and replace a beam or 2 which will give me the chance to easily move the gas line and install new plumbing for a dishwasher (we have never had a dishwasher and she wants one), then new floor and I can start building.
 I have decided to buy 3/4 for the base cabinets and will use the 1/2 that I got CHEAP for the upper cabinets and drawers.
ex-cabinet maker, now I just play with wood