Author Topic: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets  (Read 3283 times)

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Offline mikeyr

  • Posts: 41
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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Online gruz

  • Posts: 51
    • Grusby Woodworks
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2017, 07:14 AM »
Mikey-
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: 80
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: 41
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: 321
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: 41
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

Offline Letsonbandr

  • Posts: 7
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2017, 12:59 AM »
Just wanted to throw my .02 in the mix.  I am an installer of full custom high end cabinetry.  (I think there should be hyphens or commas in there but I'm a wood geek)  I see a lot of comments regarding strength due to granite or concrete countertops.  One of the main companies I've installed for (Crystal), everything but a flush finished end has been 1/2" ply.  Sides, backs, bottoms etc.  Granted all of their cabinetry is made with CNC's and there fit and finish is terrific so there are no worries with stability.  There is usually a 1/2" dado 1/4" in from the side of the faceframes (if there are faceframes) that a 1/2" sheet is let into, or a 3/4" sheet is rabbeted into and the 1/2" backs are glued into a rabbet in the side panels.  To date I've never heard of a cabinet coming off the wall.  And, we install granite over almost all of them.  No issues.  Use good joinery and 1/2" should be more than adequate.
DF700, MFT3 with CMSVL, DF500, OF1400, TS55, RO125

Offline JeremyH.

  • Posts: 151
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2017, 01:55 PM »
Don't forget oak with a natural to medium stain devalues a home...

1/2in can be pretty strong if the back isn't 1/4in panel and has either stringers or full back. Then add some on the top too.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 03:48 AM by JeremyH. »

Offline mikeyr

  • Posts: 41
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2017, 09:57 PM »
 I am not worried about the value of the home...that is my daughter's problem after I am dead.

 But I actually question that it would devalue a home, where did you hear that ? is it common knowledge ?

 As I work on the house, I am taking it down from a 4 bedroom to a 2 bedroom and I am told losing value. Built a 980 sq. ft. $60k workshop/garage that I was told would add no value to the home either.   But its what I want and being only 60 I figure I have many decades to enjoy what I want, last house I was in for 34 years, so now that I have what I want, I am here till the end.

 But I still question the value of oak with a natural stain devaluing a house.
ex-cabinet maker, now I just play with wood

Offline JeremyH.

  • Posts: 151
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2017, 03:56 AM »
Maybe with the right stain it would be ok if it had decent style, but a light/natural stain on Oak... go ahead, TRY to sell a house with it (not including quartersawn). You'll probably be reducing the price to get a sale. The exception is someone from the country, or the home in a really rural area. It's so dated and out. There's a lot of websites advising people not to try and paint them, because everyone tries that first.

Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 4238
  • Burger Babe Says: I Even Buy Green Bananas
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2017, 02:35 AM »
Im with gruz, shouldn't be a problem once they are all locked in together. I built my garage cabinets out of 1/2 ply and they hold all sorts of things with no problems.

If your concerned about the strength then us a face frame.
Coming Home Soon

Offline #Tee

  • Posts: 699
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2017, 03:08 AM »
just buy premade ones lol when you get to a spot that needs custom work have at it and go ham. the mess the planning the time to pick up the materials then the actual labor to make them. or buy the carcass and make your own faces.
When youre feeling depressed just treat yourself to a systainer even if its a mini systainer its ok.

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Online antss

  • Posts: 743
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2017, 10:24 AM »
How about 5/8" for the carcass ?

Seems to me a good compromise between strength, weight, and price. Would be acceptable for both frameless and for those adding a frame to the cabinets.


Offline mikeyr

  • Posts: 41
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2017, 02:39 PM »
just buy premade ones lol when you get to a spot that needs custom work have at it and go ham. the mess the planning the time to pick up the materials then the actual labor to make them. or buy the carcass and make your own faces.
No thanks...
You sound like my son-in-law, when it came time to do the wood body on my car (1934 Singer) he said why don't you buy a new body from the club.  When it came time to work on his own car (1960 Mini) he was upset he could not afford someone else to do the work and I was happy he didn't because it allowed me to do it.  Some people enjoy the time and hassle, I for one, will take 3 weeks off work as vacation to do the kitchen, most of that will be under the house replacing a few termite'd floor joists and while that won't be fun, I am still looking forward to doing it myself.

 For the 5/8" question, you missed the part where I said I got a deal on a LOT of 1/2" ply for very little money.

 Planning on starting the cabinet work and kitchen teardown in 5 weeks, hope to get it torn down and most of the cabinets built before first week of August when I take my vacation and tear out the floor.  Yes, planning on being about 2 months without a kitchen, that is ok, lots of BBQ's in the backyard and a wood burning pizza oven, we can go a while without the kitchen :)
ex-cabinet maker, now I just play with wood

Offline JBag09

  • Posts: 142
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2017, 07:21 PM »
  As far as using 1/2" ply for the boxes you'll be fine. Just use 1/2" for the back with dados into the side. All the cabinets I see built these days, except for us doing the customs, are built from 1/2". Whether I agree with it doesn't matter. Personally, if I was in your situation with all the 1/2" you have I'd make it work. Maybe some extra supports here and there but it should be just fine.
  And yes the look has changed now for cabinets, the medium brown oak is no longer the look people want. Seems everyone is going either dark brown to almost black, a white or off-white, or depending on the style, like a shaker style, then maybe grayish/green or something similar.
  Being a wood guy, I hate just painted cabinets but working with people more doing this stuff lately I've kind of looked at it a little different. And we built our house in '03, and we have medium brown oak cabinets and my wife hates the way they look and wants them Antique White, I'd prefer something darker, so we have compromised and decided when we get around to doing them, the cabinets will be the white she chose and the island I'll add will be a darker brown. So you can mix and match the colors also.
  However, it is your daughters house, so you can try to steer her in a certain direction, but ultimately it's her choice.


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Offline JeremyH.

  • Posts: 151
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2017, 02:52 PM »
You can build face frames, skin the outside, and use different wood for the doors and drawer faces. That way only the inside is oak. The outside could be quartersawn oak with a slightly darker stain that's pretty transparent, and that would look good if you laminate pieces together. It gives a look when they're laminated.

Good
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/aa/9f/85/aa9f85e9e487af34651f8f551f48290c.jpg
http://s333.photobucket.com/user/joybce/media/Kitchen%20remodel/kitchen2013107.jpg.html
http://www.amishcabinetdoors.com/images/gallery/9lite-quarter-sawn-white-oak.jpg

Resale suicide
http://lh6.ggpht.com/-650wegkvles/TxYXRpvd3VI/AAAAAAAAMS8/NPIbEDQ65gQ/image%25255B28%25255D.png?imgmax=800

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 2887
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2017, 11:02 AM »
The only thing I have to add is to suggest you don't use MDF for shelves. In a 32" wide kitchen cabinet at a standard 14" depth, I used white laminated melamine over 3/4" MDF for shelves to support plates and bowls. The middle of the shelf has already sagged 3/16" over the last 5 years.


Unfortunately, that retail suicide picture, happened to be true even 15 years ago.  [tongue]

Online antss

  • Posts: 743
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2017, 10:27 PM »
The light oak is one of the least objectionable things in that kitchen.
 
Most people will find the white appliances more objectionable, and the laminate counters, and their color.  The handles are kitschy and too small. Then the fact that they're only partial overlay , and the edge profile is uugh.

That kitchen wouldn't be any better or valuable had it been constructed in cherry or maple.  The oak is only the sparkly sprinkles covering the cherry and whip cream.

Offline JeremyH.

  • Posts: 151
Re: 1/2 ply kitchen cabinets
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2017, 01:57 PM »
uhuh....