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Thread: Alternative Cabinet Construction - Mostly a Rant

  1. #1

    Alternative Cabinet Construction - Mostly a Rant

    Finally have new 30x40 woodshop space under roof and wired and ready to start constructing cabinets. The local lumberyard, to put it mildly, takes advantage of the fact that it's a 40 minute drive to the nearest box store, and I won't support what I consider unethical if not criminal price gouging. Then, I start looking at the prices for sheet goods at the box stores and realize I'm now officially an old fart because my response to $50 a sheet for just-barely-usable birch plywood is "..that's bullhockey...."

    There's always MDF, but it is just sooooooo heavy and dusty to work with. Anyone have good experience with framing cabinets out of common lumber and skinning them with luan? What about drawer construction? That's about the only idea I've come up with - trading lots of construction time for reduced costs...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Tasmania
    Posts
    1,211
    As a rule, the more work you do yourself, the lower the dollar cost. You are paying your own wages. That being said, there is no right or wrong with this. You look at what resources you have available and decide what to do based on your analysis of your resources.

    I would be cultivating a relationship with the local sawmill/timber yard. What will a slab of coldies get you? It works like a dream anywhere I have ever been and you may even be obliged to assist in testing the quality of said coldies. Cheers
    To break the rules, you must first master the rules.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    42,057
    More and more "real" plywood suppliers will sell to serious amateurs and small pro shops and even deliver. That's how I buy sheet goods. Their "shop grade" is multiple times better than anything in the home centers for reasonable prices, too. Do a little research for who operates in your area. And if buying direct from them doesn't work, quite often, smaller pro shops are willing to include material for you in their own orders if you're nice and give them a few extra bucks for their trouble. Nobody should have to force themselves to use crappy material!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    Well, since you mentioned skinning ,consider gluing canvas to good one side cheap plywood. Makes a fine long lasting surface. Do two sheets at once face to face with plastic film between ,spring clamps around perimeter ,something heavy in the middle. Doesn't have to be canvas. If you don't want that much texture use smooth dollar a yard fabric store marked down stuff.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    418
    Many moons ago I built cabinets in a frame and panel style that I got out of an issue of Woodsmith. All in all, they have held up very well. The frames were common 1 by 4s with stub tenons, and I used 1/4 hardboard for the panels, but luan would work well too. They have moved from my shop to my garage and are still holding up after 20 years.

  6. #6
    I have made shop cabinets and tool base cabinets from fir 2x4's. with 1/4" plywood panels. This is rail and stile with a exterior door shaper set. I made something this way as a base for my mill/drill which about 600 pounds. I used a 2x4 steel channel to span the front so I could put a 40" tool chest inside the cabinet. It is very strong but I designed it with specific vertical pieces so the weight is carried straight down. I glued the plywood in place for added rigidity.
    or shop stuff like this I believe in overkill!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    1,216
    Order RTA cabinets from Home Depot or Cab Parts.

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