21 January 2013 at 4:45 pm #6762
I’m making a tool cabinet kind of like the one that Dave has been presenting here: https://woodworkingmasterclasses.com/topic/tool-cabinet-progress/. Right now, my available materials and budget dictates either a plywood back glue/screwed on to the back or dropped in a rabbet in the back, or a frame and panel. I prefer to use solid wood, but I’ve never used a frame and panel back before, so I’m looking for some suggestions. Is it best to set it in a rabbet in the back of the carcase? If so, how wide and deep should it be? How big can the panels be and still keep the benefits of the structure? I think we’re going to do a frame and panel back for the tool chest in the next project series, but I’ve got the carcase ready and would like to finish this in the next week or two. Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated.
Just moved to NE Ohio21 January 2013 at 11:43 pm #6768DaveParticipant
Eric, I would go with plywood. I don’t have space to deal large sheets of plywood which is why I went with pine boards for the back panel on my cabinet. They are easier for me cut up.
-Canada22 January 2013 at 2:16 am #6770ScottParticipant
I am planning a tool cabinet as well. I am eager to see Paul’s tool cabinet build before embarking.
Robert Wearing’s The Essential Woodworker gives some good details and illustrations (pages 153-165) in cabinet construction.
One example shows a rebate cut only into the back edge of the cabinet sides, about 2/3 – 3/4 of the thickness of the side, to the full thickness of the panel. Screws are then installed at a slight outward angle through the back frame. This method requires the dovetails at the back of the carcass to be offset back the edge to accommodate the deep rebate, which weakens the joint slightly. Another example rebates both the sides (to half depth of panel) and also on the framed panel, which avoids the offset dovetail.
Hope this helps. I highly recommend Wearing’s book.
-Scott Los Angeles22 January 2013 at 4:15 am #6775
Hey thanks, Scott. I have Wearing’s book but didn’t even think to look in it. Silly me. I too am eagerly waiting for the toolchest build, but I didn’t want this cabinet to have to wait that long. Anyway, I tell myself, it’s not the last cabinet I’m going to build, so if I make a few rookie mistakes, it’s okay, as long as I learn from them.
Thanks for your thoughts as well, Dave. Plywood is a real possibility at this point, not least because my shop is so cold, it’s hard to glue to things up right now.
Guess I’ll look at Wearing’s book and a couple other references I have to see what they have to say.
Just moved to NE Ohio22 January 2013 at 4:51 pm #6786Paul SellersKeymaster
There is nothing wrong with using plywood for backs of some cabinets, just not furniture pieces you sell. Plywood is fine for rigidity and strength. I would apply a couple of finish coats (either paint or varnish of some kind) if I wanted the plywood to resist the ingress of moisture to the sub fibres. This adds longevity to the plywood. Back in the sixties salesmen told is plywood lasted longer than real wood which has proven not to be the case in general, unless you use a high-grade marine ply. Plywood is of course fast and effective. many woodworkers used plywood to skin the front and back of their joiner’s tool box and then painted the whole thing black and this gave a neat appearance. trouble is now, I have seen these tool boxes with crumpled plywood facings three and four decades later.so I probably wouldn’t use it for my personal boxes.22 January 2013 at 5:46 pm #6787Ron HarperParticipant
I am trying to not use plywood for anything but drawer bottoms. I am sure that I will find good reasons to violate that intention On rare occasions, but not often.22 January 2013 at 6:58 pm #6790
Thanks, guys. I really appreciate the useful advice and camaraderie on these forums. Here’s to WW Masterclasses reaching 2000!
Just moved to NE Ohio
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