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Cabinetmaking/Woodworking Question (Amateur)

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  • Cabinetmaking/Woodworking Question (Amateur)


    I'm about to start a project which involves building the storage units for my walk in closet. I will be using a combination of cabinet boxes purchased from Ikea (mainly for the drawers, sorry I'm a rookie) and other components which I will make (supports and shelves for hanging rods etc...). We're going to go with white for these cabinets/shelves.

    Now, my question. At HD, I've narrowed my options for the material from which to make the non-Ikea pieces from down to 2 options. First one is 3/4" paint grade maple veneered (both sides) ply ($55 for 4x8 sheet). I would cut this into 12" wide x 8' long pieces and work from those. The other are 12" x 3/4" x 8' long pine ($12 per piece) which are made up of 3 or so pieces butt jointed together. Just wondering if the pine option is OK? It's cheaper, and would be easier for me to work with I would think. My concern is that it would cup or warp over time. I will be painting them however.

    Would the fact that the pine is made up of 4" wide pieces butt jointed together make it less susceptable to warping than a 12" wide single piece of pine? I would think so.

    Any assistance or advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks a lto,


  • #2
    Re: Cabinetmaking/Woodworking Question (Amateur)

    I'm no expert and like you an amature... if I was you, I'd do the pine. Like you said, it would be easier for you to handle. As for warping, I've read that if you paint both sides you can reduce warping. Hope this helps.


    • #3
      Re: Cabinetmaking/Woodworking Question (Amateur)

      It seems a bit silly to use maple ply for a piece that's just going to be painted anyhow. You can save a lot of money going with AC ply or MDF or something similar, you'll never see the actual face anyhow. Going with solid wood, especially wide boards, can result in warping, especially in high-humidity environments, I'd recommend ripping it down to 6" widths, reversing the growth rings and re-gluing into panels if you want to go that way.

      Honestly though, I'd go with some sort of ply, it's more stable and so long as you prime it before painting, which you should anyhow, you'll never know it's ply. Just make sure you make a face-frame from solid wood.


      • #4
        Re: Cabinetmaking/Woodworking Question (Amateur)

        I think from a practical point of view the life span of the Ikea stuff and the pine would be about the same so I'd go with the pine.
        I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


        • #5
          Re: Cabinetmaking/Woodworking Question (Amateur)

          The maple ply I mentioned is paint grade maple. The cost difference is maybe $100 for the amount I would need.

          I don't think I'm going to go through the effort of ripping the pine and reversing the growth rings. Thats just too much for me at this point in time.

          The Ikea cabinets are actually pretty good quality. I've used them for my bathroom vanities. 3/4" thick. 25 year warranty. Great price.

          I guess I'll need to make a game time decision on this one. I'm leaning towards the pine at this point since I won't need to get it ripped down. Also easier to deal with I would imagine.


          • #6
            Re: Cabinetmaking/Woodworking Question (Amateur)

            The paint-grade pine shelving (i.e. glued together pieces) should work fine for your project. Altho it may warp like a solid pine board, you won't have a splitting /cracking problem like you can have with the spruce boards. If it secured on the back edge, warping should be minimal.

            To prevent too much shelf warping, I would put the supports about every other stud (every 32"). Over 36" will probably sag with a 3/4' thick board. If you need to make a longer run between shelf supports, you should put a stiffener on the front and back of the shelf. If the back is fully supported (i.e. you put a cleat along the wall to rest the shelf on), you will only need the stiffener on the front. The width of the stiffener will depend on the length of run without support. For a 4' run, a 1 1/2" stiffener should work.

            For the supports, you may want to make them from 2 x lumber. Try to find a board that is yellow pine, rather than spruce, and if you can, choose one in which the grain runs parallel to the top of the board (flatsawn). When you cut out the support and stand it on edge, that will put the growth rings vertical, giving the best strength.

            Practicing at practical wood working


            • #7
              Re: Cabinetmaking/Woodworking Question (Amateur)

              I made a somewhat similar project about a year and a half ago.

              I used laminated pine boards for cabinet doors and drawer faces. The pine has not warped or cupped after two Summers and two heating systems (significant changes in humidity)

              For the shelves and drawer boxes I used melamine particle board shelving - durable and no painting required.

              In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion.


              • #8
                Re: Cabinetmaking/Woodworking Question (Amateur)

                It would help a lot if we knew what your project looked like and exactly how you are going to employ 12 x 8 ft boards. Are you cutting them into shorter pieces, using them in vertical positions, or utilizing them as one long 8-ft shelf, etc.?

                I'd probably go with the pine though, just keeping in mind the sag properties for a given expance. Last winter, I built a "cookbook" library for my wife and this year I'm in the final stages of our main library. All the shelf and bookcase units were built with pine and though there were some cupping and twist issues, the construction took care of everything and I have had no issues with regards to warping or splitting.

                The boards, for the most part, were 10" x 8 ft and in the cookbook room I used quite a few 10" x 12 ft boards. Biggest challenge was finding stock that wasn't too damp and of course buying too many boards before I was ready to actually use them proved to be an initial problem, resulting in cupping. I learned quickly to hand pick the stock (especially if from Home Depot... and forget about Lowes, their stock is more like firewood). My local lumber yard had better stock, but at a real premium and they wouldn't let me hand pick it. So, I generally buy no more than eight boards at a time, stack it with "stickers", working it as quickly as possible.

                First thing I do upon getting it into the shop, is fill all the rough cut surfaces, nicks, dents, etc. The next day I sand, and then mark, drill, cut, etc. After that I paint all sides and edges (except for areas to be glued of course.) After the paint has cured, I do the assembly.

                So far I've been pleased. The bookcases I made several years ago (pine with same procedures) are solid, and the boards are straight and level with no warpage, twist or cupping. That been about seven or eight years now.

                I hope this helps,