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This question popped into my mind earlier today, so thought I'd survey those who would probably know the answer.

I am mentally designing a router table and one of my thoughts was raised or flat panel sides. Then I thought - how do you attach a panel to the rest of the structure. Do you rabbet the sides and glue the front/back to the side panels as you would with plywood cabinet sides? Or do you create a framework and somehow attach the panels to this? Probably some will say biscuits but I'm not set up to do them.

Making the panels presents no problems - I've done several - but they have always been doors that attach with hinges. I've seen several cabinets with panel sides but guess I never gave a thought to what type of joinery was used to connect the pieces.

I'm sure there is probably a real simple answer to this question but right now I'm drawing a complete blank.

Jim
 

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One of the bookshelf choices in my shop class for my students is plywood sides or frame and panel sides. The plan is the same except for building the frame and panel. Dado into the rails and make the stiles wide enough, I use 2 1/2" so that you can put adjustable shelf pin holes. I still use a face frame either way, this hides the shelf pins and the small gap. This also keeps the plans more consistent and creates the opportunity for pocket hole joinery in my class. I just glue and nail or glue and clamp the face frame on. One thing I mention to the students is to adjust the width of the stile on the front so that when the face frame is attached, the stiles look the same width. The face frame makes it alot easier to attach doors also.

PM me and I can send you a copy of the plan I use for a 48t, 32w, 12d bookshelf.
 

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For me joining panels is a question of intended application and the ratio of panel size to thickness. If the panels aren't too large compared to their thickness or if strength/rigidity isn't a huge issue, I'd just pocket screw the panels together on the inside (assuming it won't show). Otherwise, I'd also use an internal frame with glue and screws.
 
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