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View therest's profile

1/2 inch kitchen cabinets, sort of

by therest
posted 08-20-2017 11:23 PM


29 replies so far

View JackDuren's profile

JackDuren

388 posts in 1349 days


#1 posted 08-20-2017 11:40 PM

I seen home depot selling 3/4×48x96 chinese birch for $24 a sheet….

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1288 days


#2 posted 08-20-2017 11:47 PM

Your not going to get a good material yield from 5×5’s

If I were building my own, I would use 3/4” pre finished maple, or birch for the interiors. (4×8)

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4037 days


#3 posted 08-20-2017 11:57 PM

You can certainly build face frame cabinets
with 1/2” sides successfully. I’ve not seen
frameless cabinets built out of 1/2” material
but I’m sure it has been done.

Baltic birch is tough material but at that
thickness you’ll have to be attentive to detail
when executing the joinery. If you plan to
use nails, staples or screws 1/2” leaves little
room for error.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5279 posts in 2698 days


#4 posted 08-21-2017 01:45 AM



Your not going to get a good material yield from 5×5 s

If I were building my own, I would use 3/4” pre finished maple, or birch for the interiors. (4×8)

- jbay


+1

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12804 posts in 2769 days


#5 posted 08-21-2017 02:12 AM

The 1/2” cabinets are probably glued and stapled together. And to be frank, the boxes will probably last as long as you want them, the whole is stronger than the parts. It’s the drawers and doors, or the hardware, (moving parts) that wear out. The original cabinets in my house were built in place in 1959 from 3/8” and 1/2” plywood and lasted until I bought the house in the 90’s (actually until early 2000). They were glued and stapled and were solid until demo day. Even the drawers were glued and stapled and held up better than the dovetailed drawers in my current kitchen. I still use some of the original cabinets in my shop and in my storage shed, 58 years old and still going. If you really want to save money, build in place rather than building component boxes. It’s a different method of construction, faster, less material, and cheaper (as an individual); but the hard part is learning how as there are no books today that teach it. All that said, I have built cabinets for myself and find 3/4 material easier to work with in some respects. It’s heavier and slightly more expensive but the joinery is easier.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

1805 posts in 1604 days


#6 posted 08-21-2017 02:15 AM

Ditto Loren – Before the age of internet; I came across Danny Proulx https://www.amazon.com/Danny-Proulx/e/B001JS8V6M
I bought his books and developed a professional cabinet business. He teaches 5/8” melamine; I use Panolam thermo fused; but joints, secured with 2” particle board screws. Here is a pic of a kitchen, that I sold circa 2000

And this is the pic circa 2016.
Also, you linked to a commercial cabinet company; other than “box” prices; please direct me to: how are these and the cabinets, that you want, show us some drawings.

-- Desert_Woodworker

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3183 posts in 3620 days


#7 posted 08-21-2017 03:04 AM



Your not going to get a good material yield from 5×5 s

If I were building my own, I would use 3/4” pre finished maple, or birch for the interiors. (4×8)

- jbay

+1 What he said.

In fact, that is what I did when we remodeled our kitchen. Knotty alder for the face frames, doors and drawer fronts. 3/4 inch Prefinished birch for the boxes. Looks factory made, and very well built.

I am currently building cabinets just like ours for a house built in the 1950’s. I am starting the bottom cabinets tomorrow. I have all the drawer parts cut out and ready to go. They are 1/2 inch Baltic Birch.

Our kitchen

1950’s house kitchen remodel

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1255 posts in 884 days


#8 posted 08-21-2017 03:15 AM

Save yourself a lot of headaches and build your boxes from 3/4” pre-finished birch ply. I don’t use anything else these days.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Rarebreed68's profile

Rarebreed68

148 posts in 690 days


#9 posted 08-21-2017 03:51 AM

I build all my boxes from 1/2” birch. The sides are dadoed to accept the tops and bottoms for wall cabinets, and the bottoms on the base cabinets.
Everything is glued and nailed with 1 1/4” finish nails.

Backs are 1/4” birch in a rabbit.

Face frames are 3/4” thick, 1 3/4” wide with a dado, that get glued and nailed to the sides. Nails are shot from the side so there are no holes in the face frames to fill.

I’m in the middle of a build right now, so if you have questions, I’ll try to take pictures to clarify anything you need more info on.

-- EARTH FIRST! We'll log the other planets later. Trust your neighbors, but brand your calves. Opinion worth price charged.

View therest's profile

therest

11 posts in 674 days


#10 posted 08-21-2017 09:24 PM

Thanks everyone. As far as I know chinese birch is some of the worst ply you can use, or am I wrong? About the 5×5 and material yield, yes I can agree with that.

I want to make these cabinets either inset or full overlay. I’m not sure if that makes using 1/2 ply less desirable or not. I think the joinery will be tight but still doable. At this point I”m not sure what to do but I know at the end of the day if I’m not sure to just go with 3/4 ply.

Your not going to get a good material yield from 5×5 s

If I were building my own, I would use 3/4” pre finished maple, or birch for the interiors. (4×8)

- jbay

+1 What he said.

In fact, that is what I did when we remodeled our kitchen. Knotty alder for the face frames, doors and drawer fronts. 3/4 inch Prefinished birch for the boxes. Looks factory made, and very well built.

I am currently building cabinets just like ours for a house built in the 1950 s. I am starting the bottom cabinets tomorrow. I have all the drawer parts cut out and ready to go. They are 1/2 inch Baltic Birch.

Our kitchen

1950 s house kitchen remodel

- MT_Stringer

How are the 1/2 cabinets coming along? How do they compare to the 3/4!


I build all my boxes from 1/2” birch. The sides are dadoed to accept the tops and bottoms for wall cabinets, and the bottoms on the base cabinets.
Everything is glued and nailed with 1 1/4” finish nails.

Backs are 1/4” birch in a rabbit.

Face frames are 3/4” thick, 1 3/4” wide with a dado, that get glued and nailed to the sides. Nails are shot from the side so there are no holes in the face frames to fill.

I m in the middle of a build right now, so if you have questions, I ll try to take pictures to clarify anything you need more info on.

- Rarebreed68

That sounds great. Post pics!

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1288 days


#11 posted 08-21-2017 09:36 PM


Thanks everyone. As far as I know chinese birch is some of the worst ply you can use, or am I wrong? About the 5×5 and material yield, yes I can agree with that.

Yes, Avoid the import material. Find domestic for sure.
I would figure the cost for the 1/2” compared to the 3/4” and then make a decision.
10-15 bucks a sheet difference for 10 sheets =100-150 dollar difference. I would rather use 3/4.
1/2” would be fine though, but if I had my rathers….
I would prefer 3/4 for all my shelving.

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3183 posts in 3620 days


#12 posted 08-21-2017 09:48 PM

@therest – only the drawers are 1/2 inch BB. Everything else is 3/4 inch thick.

While I am thinking about it, a few years ago I was searching YouTube for cabinet building ideas and ran across a guy that I liked. No BS, just describes and demonstrates how he builds his custom cabinets. I adopted his basic work flow and haven’t changed since. That was 70 + cabinets ago! :-)

Kris Reynolds Custom Cabinets.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3uOkMK4UqM&t=17s

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

1073 posts in 3207 days


#13 posted 08-21-2017 09:51 PM

Material yield from 5×5 is actually very good. These panels are specifically sized for kitchen cabinet construction in the European system. Sides of bottom cabinets are a bit less than 30 inches high by about 2 feed wide. You can get 4 of these per panel, with exactly enough for the side panels for upper cabinets (a foot wide) left over. I did my kitchen in baltic birch (3/4 inch thick or whatever that is in metric) and the leftover waste piece were really minimal.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4037 days


#14 posted 08-21-2017 11:36 PM

Full overlay is typically a frameless application.
The European hardware is designed for 19mm
sheet board.

Inset looks great with face frames. It looks
pretty good with 3/4” frameless but would be
a mistake to do it with 1/2” ply, imo.

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1288 days


#15 posted 08-21-2017 11:36 PM

We have a different idea on what is good yield,
but I guess you could make the bases smaller with a taller (5 3/8”) toe kick.
And, as long as you keep all your cabinets under 30” wide.
And don’t want your finished end panels to go to the floor.

You could probably get a kitchen sink that would fit into a 30” cabinet.

A 48” wide cabinet uses 2 sides and a middle divider.
Cutting 5×5’s in half you would have to make 2- 24” cabinets meaning you need 4 sides.

I guess what I’m saying is it all depends on the kitchen layout and the quality,
It’s MY opinion that I can get a better yield using 4×8’s over 5×5’s
and not be forced to design my cabinetry based on material size.

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8305 posts in 3187 days


#16 posted 08-21-2017 11:46 PM

Baltic birch is way too good for kitchen cabinets. 3/4 Birch (import is fine as long as it’s flat) is plenty strong enough. These are after all boxes and once assembled and installed 1/4” would probably be “strong” enough. The reason for going to 3/4 thickness is basically flatness and ease of construction.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1288 days


#17 posted 08-22-2017 12:00 AM

(import is fine as long as it s flat)

- shipwright

That’s the problem.
I’m a cabinet maker and buy from lumber company’s, not big box stores.

I did a kitchen using imported pre finished birch and it was the worst material I ever used.

Flat to start with, but make a 24” wide rip and the material would bow and twist. (Not to mention 12” rips)
I spent more time trying to work with warped material that I vowed to Never use it again, and haven’t.
This was just my experience and as they say, your mileage may vary!

Yes, 1/2” could be plenty strong enough. Proper cleats and backrails to shore everything up.

View Rarebreed68's profile

Rarebreed68

148 posts in 690 days


#18 posted 08-22-2017 12:29 AM

There is no way I’d use the 1/2” for frameless cabinets. It just doesn’t have the strength and stability needed for that application. However when using the dadoed face frame, it gains plenty of reinforcement. My biggest reason for going to the 1/2” system is working by myself, I can still handle and hang even 36×36 wall cabinets with no assistance.

I really don’t have a preference for domestic birch over the import birch, other than the import face veneers are getting extremely thin. With the new tariffs and fees being imposed on the Chinese plywood, the prices are fast approaching being a wash on saving money.

If you have prefinished available, I would advise using it. It will save you time and money in the long run.

My yield for base sides on a 4×8 sheet is 5 if I’m doing integrated toekick, 6 if doing non-integrated.
Integrated sides are cut at 23 1/2” x 34 1/2”, Non-integrated sides are cut at 23 1/2” x 30” or 31” (depending on customer’s preference for toekick height.

Wall sides are cut at 11 1/2” x 30”, 33”, 36”, 42”, or 48”. Obviously the 30, 42, and 48” sides offer the least waste in a sheet.

Once I rip my face frame stock to width, I run a 1/2” wide dado, 1/4” deep, set 1/4” from the edge of the stock. My face frames overall width is the “finished” size of the cabinet. (9”, 12”, 15”, and so on.) The outside to outside dimension of each cabinet box is 1/2” smaller than the finished dimension.

I assemble my face frames with pocket screws and glue, and as I mentioned before, I glue the face frame to the box and nail it from the side with 18 gauge finish nails.

I crashed this afternoon when I got finished teaching classes and didn’t make it into the shop to take any photos, but I will get some tomorrow to show some of the details.

-- EARTH FIRST! We'll log the other planets later. Trust your neighbors, but brand your calves. Opinion worth price charged.

View Rarebreed68's profile

Rarebreed68

148 posts in 690 days


#19 posted 08-22-2017 12:37 AM

(import is fine as long as it s flat)
- shipwright

I agree with you shipwright, and jbay, I’ve gotten some pretty bad batches of China birch back when it was 1/3 the price of domestic.

It seemed to be more prominent with the pre finished than unfinished. One thing that seemed to help with it though was storing it flat until I was ready to use it, and I’d try to have face frames ready to install on the boxes, instead of building boxes first and then fabbing my face frames.

-- EARTH FIRST! We'll log the other planets later. Trust your neighbors, but brand your calves. Opinion worth price charged.

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8305 posts in 3187 days


#20 posted 08-22-2017 04:33 AM

Never had trouble with import Birch that was flat to start with. (If it’s not I won’t buy it,)
I also don’t buy prefinished which may make a difference.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12804 posts in 2769 days


#21 posted 08-22-2017 04:42 AM

Last time I looked into buying pre-finished, it was one place and they would only sell to trades. And not anyone who walked in with a business license, I have that, but you had to be in the cabinet or related business. But I really like this discussion.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5279 posts in 2698 days


#22 posted 08-22-2017 05:01 AM



Last time I looked into buying pre-finished, it was one place and they would only sell to trades. And not anyone who walked in with a business license, I have that, but you had to be in the cabinet or related business. But I really like this discussion.

- Rick M


That sucks, even way up north we have a business that cater to cabinet makers but they sell to anyone.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Rich's profile

Rich

4484 posts in 979 days


#23 posted 08-22-2017 05:17 AM


Last time I looked into buying pre-finished, it was one place and they would only sell to trades. And not anyone who walked in with a business license, I have that, but you had to be in the cabinet or related business. But I really like this discussion.

- Rick M

Print up some new business cards. Works for me.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3183 posts in 3620 days


#24 posted 08-22-2017 05:29 AM

The place I use sells to anyone. I have been there on numerous occasions when John/Jane Doe came in looking for something for a project. The salesman always take the time to help them out. Saying that, Saturday is what they call “public day”. I try to avoid Saturday if possible. They tell a story of the guy in the foreign sports car that bought a board and then had them cut it down so it would fit in the trunk. That got a good round of laughter.

I can browse their entire warehouse and pick and choose what I want, and they carry a lot of stuff. The last time I was there, we had a lot of rain so I got the guy to break down the sheet goods so it would fit under the bed cover on my Chevy. They never complain.

...and I always cruise the isle where the “discount bin” is located. First one on the left when you walk in the warehouse. Everything is 50% off the regular price. I have bought a lot of poplar for paint grade face frames or drawer fronts or doors. One time, the guy tried to sell me the whole inventory so they could clear it out. That would have been tempting but I don’t have any room to store it. Red Oak, White Oak, poplar, and other species in random widths and thickness up to 48 inches long.

They are located in the Houston area about 12 miles from my house.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12804 posts in 2769 days


#25 posted 08-22-2017 05:36 AM


Print up some new business cards. Works for me.

- RichTaylor

Business cards? LOL. Sounds like The Rockford Files. Rarely does anyone ask for a business card these days, they want your website and EIN. I guess I could make a fake website but I just needed a few sheets, not really worth it.

There was a place that sold to anyone, at 2-3X the price, but they went out of business.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Rich's profile

Rich

4484 posts in 979 days


#26 posted 08-22-2017 04:31 PM



Business cards? LOL. Sounds like The Rockford Files. Rarely does anyone ask for a business card these days, they want your website and EIN.

- Rick M

That was a great show. Too bad those guys are so picky. I have business accounts around town, and only a couple of them required my EIN. Most just wanted to see my business card and maybe scan it for their records.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View therest's profile

therest

11 posts in 674 days


#27 posted 08-22-2017 05:09 PM



The place I use sells to anyone. I have been there on numerous occasions when John/Jane Doe came in looking for something for a project. The salesman always take the time to help them out. Saying that, Saturday is what they call “public day”. I try to avoid Saturday if possible. They tell a story of the guy in the foreign sports car that bought a board and then had them cut it down so it would fit in the trunk. That got a good round of laughter.

I can browse their entire warehouse and pick and choose what I want, and they carry a lot of stuff. The last time I was there, we had a lot of rain so I got the guy to break down the sheet goods so it would fit under the bed cover on my Chevy. They never complain.

...and I always cruise the isle where the “discount bin” is located. First one on the left when you walk in the warehouse. Everything is 50% off the regular price. I have bought a lot of poplar for paint grade face frames or drawer fronts or doors. One time, the guy tried to sell me the whole inventory so they could clear it out. That would have been tempting but I don t have any room to store it. Red Oak, White Oak, poplar, and other species in random widths and thickness up to 48 inches long.

They are located in the Houston area about 12 miles from my house.

- MT_Stringer

What place is it? I’m in Houston

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3183 posts in 3620 days


#28 posted 08-22-2017 07:44 PM

Clarks Hardwoods in the Heights. They can fix you up with whatever you need.
Their 1/2 inch BB is about $26 as you had mentioned earlier.

Don’t forget to check out the discount bins…first isle on the left when you walk into Building 1.

Note: Don’t tell them Mike sent ya. They might charge extra! :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12804 posts in 2769 days


#29 posted 08-22-2017 08:43 PM



That was a great show. Too bad those guys are so picky. I have business accounts around town, and only a couple of them required my EIN. Most just wanted to see my business card and maybe scan it for their records.

- RichTaylor

Frankly a lot of places around here are just dicks.

Rockford Files is one of my all time favorite series. I watched it as a kid and rewatched it a few years ago and it holds up, still great.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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