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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone! New here.

I would like to simplify my home needs by creating storage solutions throughout my house.

I am considering making my own built ins. I have good construction skills and am very conscientious of my workmanship. I would like others opinions on how I should approach my first project.

I do not need any help with the overall plans but more what type of mat'l others have had experience with and what type of fasteners and joints everyone else is using.

I am personally looking for a good product that is inexpensive. I've heard I can use grades of plywood or melamine. What materials have others used ( maybe paintable too )? 5/8's enough or should I go or 3/4?

Also for the basic construction, I would be more comfortable making everything solid and am not sure butt joints are sufficient. Maybe they are, just don't want to cut everything construct it and have it a wobbly sagging piece of junk.

Lastly what type of fasteners would everyone suggest?

I think I see on HGTV alot of construction being put together with finishing nails or staples? ( and glue I am assuming )
 

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Welcome,

First, to address what you see on the HGTV shows: the majority of the stuff they build is crap. It is largely all MDF with butt joints joined by only glue and finish nails. I guess in the interest of time and money, they build the stuff as cheap as possible. There is nothing wrong with MDF, especially if you are going to paint the piece, but it is best suited for things like carcasses or other components where you aren't going to see the ends exposed.

As for your built-ins, there are way too many unique variables pertaining to your particular space, storage needs, budget, abilities, etc. Generally speaking though, if all of your built-ins are going to be basic box carcass construction, dados and rabbets are usually the best and strongest joints to do. But depending on the length of the pieces, the weight of what items or other structural components will be on them, etc., you might be able to get away with butt joints. Or, what I used to do on my first few projects where I didn't have a good dado blade and didn't want to spend the time cutting dados with a router is to rip a strip of 3/4" ply or pine about two inches wide and screw and glue that to my upright boards (as in sides of a cabinet or shelf) and use them as ledger boards to attach and support shelves, tops or bottoms. So long as those ledger are hidden from plain sight, they aren't in the way and they provide a lot of strength to the joint.

As for attaching face frames to carcasses, pocket screws are normally one of the best bets. Faster than biscuits and plenty strong. If you don't already have a good pocket screw jig, I would highly recommend spending about $140 (or whatever it currently costs) for the Kreg K3 master system. Since I got mine a few years ago, I don't think there has been a single carpentry or woodworking project where I didn't use pocket screws somewhere in the joinery.

Good luck!
 

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What you build it out of depends on how it will be used. You're not building a bookcase out of Melamine. To tell you the truth, there is nothing I would build that uses melamine. Sawdust and glue does not make a good product even if it has a soomth white surface.
Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Welcome,

First, to address what you see on the HGTV shows: the majority of the stuff they build is crap. It is largely all MDF with butt joints joined by only glue and finish nails. I guess in the interest of time and money, they build the stuff as cheap as possible. There is nothing wrong with MDF, especially if you are going to paint the piece, but it is best suited for things like carcasses or other components where you aren't going to see the ends exposed.

As for your built-ins, there are way too many unique variables pertaining to your particular space, storage needs, budget, abilities, etc. Generally speaking though, if all of your built-ins are going to be basic box carcass construction, dados and rabbets are usually the best and strongest joints to do. But depending on the length of the pieces, the weight of what items or other structural components will be on them, etc., you might be able to get away with butt joints. Or, what I used to do on my first few projects where I didn't have a good dado blade and didn't want to spend the time cutting dados with a router is to rip a strip of 3/4" ply or pine about two inches wide and screw and glue that to my upright boards (as in sides of a cabinet or shelf) and use them as ledger boards to attach and support shelves, tops or bottoms. So long as those ledger are hidden from plain sight, they aren't in the way and they provide a lot of strength to the joint.

As for attaching face frames to carcasses, pocket screws are normally one of the best bets. Faster than biscuits and plenty strong. If you don't already have a good pocket screw jig, I would highly recommend spending about $140 (or whatever it currently costs) for the Kreg K3 master system. Since I got mine a few years ago, I don't think there has been a single carpentry or woodworking project where I didn't use pocket screws somewhere in the joinery.

Good luck!
Thanks for the reply, spot on for what I was asking.

I like the suggestion of the ledger boards but think I'll get my hands and tool inventory prepared for dados and rabbets.

Another question can I saw cut to finish all my lengths on the tablesaw or should I rough cut everything and set up router and fence?

BTW, I'll check out the pocket screws. TY
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What you build it out of depends on how it will be used. You're not building a bookcase out of Melamine. To tell you the truth, there is nothing I would build that uses melamine. Sawdust and glue does not make a good product even if it has a soomth white surface.
Ron
Agreed on the melamine!

Melamine is OUT.

Gonna go MDF or something less expensive in solid plywood, depending on if I'm trimming the finished edges I guess.

Any suggestions for which types of plywoods?
 

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Agreed on the melamine!

Melamine is OUT.

Gonna go MDF or something less expensive in solid plywood, depending on if I'm trimming the finished edges I guess.

Any suggestions for which types of plywoods?
Unless your putting these built ins in the shed, I wouldn't use MDF either.
It has no structural integrity, so you can't use them as shelves, unless you like the sway back horse look.
I use 3/4" birch plywood for bookcases, built ins, etc. It paints up well and you can stain it.
Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Unless your putting these built ins in the shed, I wouldn't use MDF either.
It has no structural integrity, so you can't use them as shelves, unless you like the sway back horse look.
I use 3/4" birch plywood for bookcases, built ins, etc. It paints up well and you can stain it.
Ron
See thats what I'm looking to hear! :thumbsup:

I was wondering the structural strength of MDF, and no I don't like the look of sway back horse. :laughing:

I'll look into the birch and now I can price out "my projects". :thumbup:

Any suggestions for a good website or supplier for drawer slides and hinges? :whistling2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Google is a great search engine.

I'll have no problem finding something sufficient if I need but I like to live through others experiences, and sometimes those that do have something relevant like to share those experiences.

Thanks to the honest and good help from this one post I am already a better tradesmen.
 

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Well here, I'll give you something "relevant" then:

I wouldn't ever think about just using plywood shelves for anything over 12" in length or so, without some support moulding on the front to keep it from sagging.

I've used this quite a few times for shelves spanning 36-42", sometimes with a 2" oak piece on the back for really long shelves with heavy loads.















 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I appreciate the "relevant" info. :thumbup:

I never meant for it to sound like your post was irrelevant, but looking back I can see how my wording may look like that.

I love that suggestion. My shelving will be approx. 2 1/2'. and there is some moulding in my sample design but I would've just added it without fully understanding why. Maybe the next project would've had some sag not realizing this so it is truly appreciated.

I love your work. The 3d design is awesome and the finished product looks even better.

Two questions, what software did you use? ( Autocad 3d ? ) And are you a custom home builder or renovator?
 

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Thanks, I use chief architect and the last few years have been a remodeling gc, handling the carpentry/cabinetry stuff myself, depending on work load, and working with my trade subs for the rest....I think it will be a lot more carpentry/cabinetry stuff for awhile due to the economy.

We specialized in basement finishing with most projects in the $80-150k range...ahh the days of home equity :laughing:.

Regarding the shelf moulding, I always glue before nailing.

Here's a set of chief architect drawings done earlier this year (along with some other albums).

http://picasaweb.google.com/jjfwoodworks/PremierBasementsAlbumP1#
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I caught a commercial for a free trial of chief architecht but couldn't find a free trial on the website. It does look really appealing. Is it user friendly?



What is your take on which types of hardware would you recommend for the heavier construction of built-ins?

Screws seem stronger but I see alot of things put together with finishing nails guns.
 

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I got the program in 2003 and at that time they sent me a demo disc with full use of the program iirc...just keep in mind it's about 2,500 or so for the program.

They have a lite version for less I believe.

I've mostly used 3/4" birch plywood for cabinet carcasses (boxes) with a hardwood face frame.

You'll be totally fine using glue and butt joints on the box (I usually have the bottom of the box dadoed into the sides...and glued and nailed/pocket screwed).

Same with face-frame...glue and face nail/pocket screw depending on the situation.

I would definitely do a small "practice" cabinet first, just to play around with your materials and methods, something you can work out the kinks on....:yes:
 

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I use 3/4" C-2 maple plywood with a MDF cross band for paint grade cabinetry.

The MDF is a 1/8" thick layer under the finished skin. The center cores are made of poplar.

One of the benefits of this type of plywood is that there is no "telegraphing" of the grain from the layer below the finished skin. Not all plywood has the same quality of core. Some has more voids than others and the contours of what lives below definitely shows through the finish, more so on a high end paint job than any other finish.

I like to use Maple for all the solid stock as well. It is hard and holds paint real well. A lot of cabinetmakers will use poplar for their frames as it is cheap, machines well, easy as heck to sand and holds paint very well. It is just too soft for my tastes. I will use poplar for crown moldings and other add ons that up and out of harms way.

For hardware I use Blum. Their Tandem drawer slides have changed the industry standard to full extension with soft close action. They have everything you need in hinges as well. Google is your friend for that.

Just like others have said, a combination of joinery is where you will end up. Don't under estimate the power of a butt joint and pocket screws or standard screws. You can almost always find a way to get by with one or the other. Adding dados is fine if you can comeup with a system that doesn't drive you crazy.

The most important element of cabinetry is your ability to break down your sheet goods into nice and square parts without any tear out of the finished skin. You need a good table saw and a cross cut sled as a minimum. Google cross cut sled and there are good plans available.

Nothing to this stuff, anyone can do it.:laughing:

We just spent the last two days installing this paint grade job. Has all the materials mentioned.

Have fun and be safe:thumbup:

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