Basic cabinet 90 degree joint. New ideas from you. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 08-21-2020, 07:41 AM Thread Starter
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Basic cabinet 90 degree joint. New ideas from you.

Hi all!
I'm a casual and hobby woodworker. I have limited knowladge, limited tools and limited intelegence, especially when it comes to engineering.
For all my woodworking time I have been making cabinets with joints in the most simple way - puzzle joint. I put both planks where they would joint and then draw lines and Xs what I should cut out. Then I did that on my table saw using sled.

Now I'm looking for alternative, yet still strong joint + glue options.
I was thinking I would make a better box joint jig (but on bigger cabinets it's hard for me to trust this.

I have an OK table saw, hand router (no router table). Jigs: tablesaw sled, jointing sled and that's about it.

Any ideas welcomed. Thanks!

Basic puzzle joint in attachment.
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post #2 of 26 Old 08-21-2020, 08:11 AM
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I don't see the details of the joint in the photo. Any end shots of detail?

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post #3 of 26 Old 08-21-2020, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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Hmmm. On the bottom line of the photo, if you look closely, you can see the differiating grain patterns where the joint is.
It's basically a finger joints, with big fingers. I'm not really good with terminology... I like to call it puzzle joint.
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post #4 of 26 Old 08-21-2020, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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Like this...
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post #5 of 26 Old 08-21-2020, 11:50 AM
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I would like to see a wider shot of the cabinet from a farther distance to help me understand what @woodklo's cabinets look like. Finger joints are also known as box joints. I have not seen the term "puzzle joint" until now.

I have seen cabinets with rabbet joints. I have seen cabinets with dado joints. I have seen cabinets with butt joints (not good and not recommended!).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbet
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dado_(joinery)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butt_joint

To add confusion, there are two kinds of joints called "finger joints". They are very different from one another:
Box joint (Shown in the photo of woodklo's cabinet, which some of us call "finger joint"):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_joint
Finger joint (the other kind, also known as a "comb joint"):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finger_joint
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post #6 of 26 Old 08-21-2020, 12:18 PM
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In my decades of being a woodworker, I have never seen that joinery used in that application.

Aesthetically to me it doesn't add anything, and structurally I would see it as less capable than a traditional captured dado joint, yet the effort is about 10x.

It would be interesting to understand the thought process that got you to this point?
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post #7 of 26 Old 08-21-2020, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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@Tool Agnostic Basically it's like a box joint (finger joint seems very hard to reproduce by average home tools) but with much bigger teeth (about 60mm one tooth). So it's a box joint basically.
@shoot summ please read again my post on me not being very wood and engineer smart. :)
My thought process.... :D Whell, I did want to use screws, I wanted some kind of joint that would make a tight fit. So butt joint was out of the question. I have thought about through dado joint that I would make on a tablesaw, but in my limited knowladge and experience I thought box joint would be stronger solution. So that is not the case?

Does it play a role that my boards which I usually make stuff out of (pine, spruce) are 20mm thick?
So to dado it and to move away from the edge would be good at lease 5mm (more?), and then dado 10mm and leave another 5mm on the other side.
Would that be strong enough for such application)

Also somehow I had bad experience with dados (basically I made door panels for cabinets which do kind of fall into groove and tounge (dado) slot does it not), because it was hard for me to catch right thickness so that it would slide in just right, regarding how deep and how snug. You know what I mean? Maybe with practice I would get a hang of it.
The other problem is also I don't have dado blades, but making more passes obviously is not a bit deal, it is only the question of clean cut.

Thank you for helping me improve, I don't like this box joints too much because there is also so much work put into them.



This is how this cabinet looks like, these doors open upwards. My main time thing I would like to differentiate from is that side to top and bottom joint (which is on the picture in the first post)
Size is approx. 1000x400x370mm
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post #8 of 26 Old 08-21-2020, 01:49 PM
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Basic cabinet 90 degree joint. New ideas from you.

I can see going through all that trouble if there is a lot of forces applied to whatever it is that you are constructing, but if you are making a cabinet that just sits there being functional, there is nothing wrong with a butt joint when you are glueing long grain to long grain. That is how most furniture has been built. Frame and panel construction for three sides, with a face frame on the working side. The panels and face frame are held together with glue. Some might use a dowel here and there, but they are built with long grain butt joints none the less.

Now if you are attaching tops and bottoms and shelves or dividers there may better joints then butt joints.

Neither Box joints nor butt joints are appropriate joints for connecting cross grain

Last edited by Terry Q; 08-21-2020 at 02:02 PM.
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post #9 of 26 Old 08-21-2020, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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I don't trust butt joints, I don't know why. (maybe if I would reinforce with dowels, but still, I don't like the idea of butt joint)
These are up below the ceiling and people sit under it, and there in some are few heavy stuff. Not extremly heavy, but still...
I would consider dado joints for joinery but am still not sure if they would realy be strong enough in such application (please read my post about stating the size of dado).

And I'm wondering, would I cut the groove into top/bottom piece or side pieces?
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post #10 of 26 Old 08-21-2020, 03:26 PM
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Your joints are in this style......

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodklo View Post
I don't trust butt joints, I don't know why. (maybe if I would reinforce with dowels, but still, I don't like the idea of butt joint)
These are up below the ceiling and people sit under it, and there in some are few heavy stuff. Not extremely heavy, but still...
I would consider dado joints for joinery but am still not sure if they would really be strong enough in such application (please read my post about stating the size of dado).

And I'm wondering, would I cut the groove into top/bottom piece or side pieces?


The Green and Green style of large finger joints with some protrusion of the fingers showing is similar to your method without the protruding fingers. There is no harm in making that style of joints, but they were typically used in finer Craftsman Style furniture. It's a lot of work for joints that won't show or that don't require that type of force distribution.



In a cabinet like you show, the weight of the contents is trying to pull the bottom off the back and sides. Typically the back is set into a rabbet that runs all the way around the top,sides and bottom. It is most often glued in place and nailed AND it will help "square up the case" IF the back is itself made square. I've been making cabinets this way for 40 years with NO failures. This upper cabinet measures 10 ft wide by 4 ft tall and is about 13" deep, and is filled with heavy dishes. The sides are typically rabbeted to mate with the top and bottom or vice versa, or even just the bottom and the top is full width. I make book shelves that way and storage cabinets with side rabbets.


I don't know if this answers your questions, but it's what I do.
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/...ethods-123314/


There are two easy ways to make a rabbet. Use a sacrifical fence and dado head on the tables saw and run all your sides, bottom and top along the fence at the proper offset for your rabbet.... 1/2" X 3/8" for 1/2" plywood backs for large heavy cabinets. OR 1/4" deep by 1/2" wide for most other lighter, smaller cabinets. I prefer this method.
Using a router and an edge guide is another way. Sometimes moving the lightweight tool is easier when working with large, heavy panels. Routers are loud, noisy machines, so I avoid them if possible. Sometimes making two passes is required which means more noise and dust ..... just sayin'

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 08-21-2020 at 03:46 PM.
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post #11 of 26 Old 08-23-2020, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the link to video and link to your thread. It's hard for me to understand all the things that are being done, but I try to :)
Yes, this kind of joinery as shown in your video is a lot of work, even though I do it on my table saw, that's why I'm looking for alternatives. I like the idea of pegs, I could dirve a dowel in also, but as far as I see it this does seem a strong joint as it is.

Rabberting the sides or bottom/top is an option of course (I think I would do it on table saw, single blade, multiple passes since I dont have dado stack).
Rabbet does seem much better option then butt joint, yet is it stronger then if I would cut a 10mm groove with 5mm on one side of it? Maybe a 10mm groove (dado) moved 10mm from edge and jointed with a 10mm tounge would aslo work? It would look something like this in my tetris drawing in attachment.



But if I'm understanding correctly, you have been succesfully using rabbet joints for kitchen cabinets for many years? So the strength of joint should not be a problem?
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post #12 of 26 Old 08-23-2020, 05:51 AM
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I often see butt joints discounted, but standard cabinet construction is butt joints and screws. Ive been building cabs like this for 25 yrs.

Dados are for alignment purposes & don’t add any strength. Personally I think the time isn’t worth the benefit, but I know of one commercial cab shop that routinely does them.

In your case what you did worked, right? But you made a lot of work for yourself IMO.

With wood that dark, you could do screws and plugs. Dowels would also work if you don’t like that.

And don’t laugh, you’d be surprised how good trim head screws and a matching filler can do.

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post #13 of 26 Old 08-23-2020, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I made a lot of work for myself and I dont like that to be honest. Even though I build quite a lot of this kind of cabinets, yet I doubt I will have energy and time in the future to go trough all that trouble. I did not do it for esthetic purpuse, because I don't even find them good looking and if it would be up to me I would hide them with some framing or something.

I do believe though that dadoing a 90degree joint does make it stronger then butt joint.
And yeah I agree, plugs cut form same wood can be very hard to spot. This is pine wood just painted (poorly) dark.

The more I think and considering inputs from all of you, the more I lean in favor of dado (nr1 in picture above, just that the sides will have groove and bottom/top will have tounge). But am also considering rabbet joint because it's less work and easier. But does it have the same holding power as dado?

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post #14 of 26 Old 08-23-2020, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodklo View Post
Yeah, I made a lot of work for myself and I don't like that to be honest. Even though I build quite a lot of this kind of cabinets, yet I doubt I will have energy and time in the future to go trough all that trouble. I did not do it for esthetic purpose, because I don't even find them good looking and if it would be up to me I would hide them with some framing or something.
what part of the world are you in ?
here in the U.S., finger joint lumber is usually reserved for painting only.
you said you make a lot of projects with this lumber. is it possible to upgrade
to better quality lumber that does not have the butt joints like you picture ?
that may be your only option if you don't like the butt joints.
your craftsmanship is good - it is just the material that you use is the issue at hand.

.

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post #15 of 26 Old 08-24-2020, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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@John Smith_inFL Sorry, I'm not following you... What do you mean by: "better quality lumber that does not have the butt joints"?
Mainly I'm using pine and spruce hardwood and I did not use any butt joints if I'm not mistaken. For the cabinet itself were used box joints (as in first two pics shown), the doors are made with normaln groove and tounge technique.
I'm from EU.
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post #16 of 26 Old 08-24-2020, 07:16 AM
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I was referencing your posts #3 and #4 where different wood is joined together.
here in the U.S., that is considered "paint grade" lumber - not meant to be stained.
the higher grade is of solid wood (all one piece) that we call "stain grade".
purely for cosmetic reasons - like you said.
sorry for any confusion.

.
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post #17 of 26 Old 08-24-2020, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodklo View Post
@John Smith_inFL Sorry, I'm not following you... What do you mean by: "better quality lumber that does not have the butt joints"?
Mainly I'm using pine and spruce hardwood and I did not use any butt joints if I'm not mistaken. For the cabinet itself were used box joints (as in first two pics shown), the doors are made with normaln groove and tounge technique.
I'm from EU.
Just a heads up, spruce and pine aren't classified as hardwoods, only broad leaf trees are hardwood. I'm not trying to be a know it all smart butt.

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post #18 of 26 Old 08-24-2020, 09:33 AM
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Use an edge rabbet or splined miters

Quote:
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Yeah, I made a lot of work for myself and I dont like that to be honest. Even though I build quite a lot of this kind of cabinets, yet I doubt I will have energy and time in the future to go trough all that trouble. I did not do it for esthetic purpuse, because I don't even find them good looking and if it would be up to me I would hide them with some framing or something.

I do believe though that dadoing a 90 degree joint does make it stronger then butt joint.

And yeah I agree, plugs cut form same wood can be very hard to spot. This is pine wood just painted (poorly) dark.

The more I think and considering inputs from all of you, the more I lean in favor of dado (nr1 in picture above, just that the sides will have groove and bottom/top will have tounge). But am also considering rabbet joint because it's less work and easier. But does it have the same holding power as dado?

Just to be clear, a rabbet is an "L" shaped section always along the edge of a piece.

A dado is a "U" shaped groove always through the panel at any location, near the top or bottom or in the center.

Dados are typically used to provide support to a base panel or a divider that will carry additional weight AND to make the entire case more rigid.

Rabbets are used in corners where panels are joined at 90 degrees OR along the back edges to allow inserting a thinner back panel for structure and to "square up" the case. I use rabbets where I don't want the back panel to be visible from the side and for strength with glue and nails holding it in place until the glue sets up. Then the case is incredibly strong and won't "rack" from sideways or lateral forces. A cardboard box without a bottom that's folded and taped will collapse with very little side force applied. Once the bottom is taped on, it's much stronger.



https://www.pinterest.com/pin/24488391700304982/


https://www.pinterest.com/pin/351562314653494833/

Miter joints are end grain to end grain and therefore are not the strongest. If you can get accurate miters, always a challenge, then run a spline along the entire edge it will add considerable strength.
However, making bevels that are straight along panel edges requires an accurate table saw and fence that will give you enough width for the cuts. Cross cutting the miters on longer panels is also a critical accuracy operation and requires a perfectly setup crosscut guide or miter gauge/sled. I stopped using miters when I learned how difficult it was to get accurate cuts for tight fitting joints.


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 08-24-2020 at 09:49 AM.
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post #19 of 26 Old 08-26-2020, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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Ok. Yeah I know spruce and pine are not considered hardwoods, my mistake, I was just trying to say that it's sawn up wood planks, no plywod or enything similar, it's too expensive where I live.
Yes, I agree, miter joints are very easy in theory but practice proves much harder. They present challenge even when gluing for me. So mitered edges are no no for cabinets for me, I don't have good enough equipment and by far not enough experience. The material quality is also questionable. The spline does make them much stronger I agree.

I guess what I was trying to say up there is that I'm very keen on trying maybe a mix of dado + rabbet for basic frame of cabinet. The sides would have dados of 10mm wood from edge + 10mm groove - 10mm deep (the width of the plank on which this dado would be cut is approx 80mm), and it would joint with rabbet that would be 10mm from edge and with other side 10mm (the thickness of board are 20mm). This would be glued up in such way that they are leveled with no protrusion of either side.
If there would be questionable holding power, which I doubt, I would use dowles for reinforcment, they would be drilled after glueup.
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post #20 of 26 Old 08-26-2020, 10:08 AM
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Butt joints have been used on cabinet faces for a long time. We did hanging library cabinets for a law firm that hung above head with tilt up fronts to get to books. All butt joints and done with wheat board...
My bar all but joints...
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