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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm contemplating a pair of nightstands and a dresser and really like the frame and panel look. I have several thoughts on how to do this, but would appreciate the experience from the forum members in giving me a little guidance. I can think of 3 good options for building the sides of the carcass using frame and panel construction and would appreciate your advice. I will be using 3/4" hardwood for the frame and plywood panels. In order to build the sides of the carcass, would you:

1. Use a rail and stile matched router bit set with a 1/4" plywood panel. (Basically a cabinet door built to the right size);

2. Build the frame and then cut a rabbet into the inside back of the opening and drop in a 1/2" panel;

3. Build the sides using a single plywood panel and then attach a 1/4" frame to the outside of the panel.

I appreciate all the experience I have greatly benefitted from on this forum.
 

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I like no. 2

A simple frame with half laps or miters and a rabbet on the back the thickness of your plywood is the easiest and will still retain the frame and panel look.

no. 1. is the traditional method if you have the proper cutters for the rails and stiles OR just just a groove for a Mission style look.

no. 3. is a cop out and the plywood edges will show if you don't band them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info.

I do have the proper cutters for #1 but was concerned about strength. It seems that the 1/4 plywood in a 1/4" groove wouldn't provide much strength. Is it typical to do large furniture construction using 1/4" ply?

I am leaning towards #2 because it will be much stronger and still gives the look I'm after.
 

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Being the student of American furniture design...I'll always opt for picking a time period and then build to specs on how that pce would've been done.The "trick",if you can call it that?......is how industry tools/equipment/techniques were then,and how we can fit these methods into our shop profile,now.Using more modern equipment when it dosen't effect the build's historic feel.We spend right much time on this tightrope,balancing where to draw the line.

Next,is the question of materials.....irrespective of building techniques.Plywood today isn't what it was just a few years ago.So that needs some serious thought.Good luck,sounds like an interesting build.
 

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The strength of your sides will be your stile and rail frame. 1/4 plywood is good for the panels. I use mortise and tenon jolnts on all my furniture and have not had any failures.The tenons are 1 inch long and 3/8 thick .
 

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For frame and panel ends, I have a few methods. Since they are only needed on finished/visible ends, in most situations there aren't that many.

If I have to match raised panel doors, that would be the weakest form of a cabinet end (with a floating panel). There are many situations that require either drilling holes or dadoes for shelves, or mounting side mount slides for drawers.

Granted, for slides, the front and rear of the slide can be fixed to the stiles of a F&P. But, for best service, the middle of the slide should be fixed to the side panels.

A floating panel could be added to the existing carcass ends, and the front edge could extend out to the plane of the face of the door. It would give an inset look to the door.

In lieu of a standard raised panel (with solid wood) for a F&P, ¾" plywood can be used for the panel. If you want raised panels and want to use plywood, you could use ¾" plywood. Add a solid wood edge to your plywood panel, and miter the edges. Then you can machine any detail on the edge you want. You also will wind up with long grain on the ends that way, which will finish much better than endgrain. This type of panel can be glued in a rabbet for a R&S type panel. Once that is done, you have a very rigid panel suitable as an end of a cabinet.

Or, while using a rabbet, a ¼" plywood panel can be glued in, which also makes for a rigid panel, but doesn't have the advantage of having the inside of the panel act on its own to carry screws.

Or, ¾" plywood could make up the R&S's, and the outer edges be capped with a stepped profile in solid wood. For the center panel, the opening could be treated the same way. Wainscoting can also be done this way.







.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
cabinetman said:
For frame and panel ends, I have a few methods. Since they are only needed on finished/visible ends, in most situations there aren't that many.

If I have to match raised panel doors, that would be the weakest form of a cabinet end (with a floating panel). There are many situations that require either drilling holes or dadoes for shelves, or mounting side mount slides for drawers.

Granted, for slides, the front and rear of the slide can be fixed to the stiles of a F&P. But, for best service, the middle of the slide should be fixed to the side panels.

A floating panel could be added to the existing carcass ends, and the front edge could extend out to the plane of the face of the door. It would give an inset look to the door.

In lieu of a standard raised panel (with solid wood) for a F&P, ¾" plywood can be used for the panel. If you want raised panels and want to use plywood, you could use ¾" plywood. Add a solid wood edge to your plywood panel, and miter the edges. Then you can machine any detail on the edge you want. You also will wind up with long grain on the ends that way, which will finish much better than endgrain. This type of panel can be glued in a rabbet for a R&S type panel. Once that is done, you have a very rigid panel suitable as an end of a cabinet.

Or, while using a rabbet, a ¼" plywood panel can be glued in, which also makes for a rigid panel, but doesn't have the advantage of having the inside of the panel act on its own to carry screws.

Or, ¾" plywood could make up the R&S's, and the outer edges be capped with a stepped profile in solid wood. For the center panel, the opening could be treated the same way. Wainscoting can also be done this way.







.
Thanks for the ideas cabinetman. All very good suggestions.
 

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i may be corrected, but typically the panel doesn't provide any structural element, it comes from the stile/rail joinery. most panels are floaters and just fill the field. the profile of the stile and rail joinhts, is more preference than anything. likely to matter more for the overall strength is the remaining table design/construction. e.g. will the stiles become the legs, or are the panels between leg members?
 

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If you are using ply for the panels, then you can glue them in as there is no cross grain movement. With ply, even 1/4 inch, glued in, a simple cope and stick router cutter set will give you a neat frame and the panel provides the rigidity you need. You dont say how big these will be but even for doors up to kitchen base cabinet size, a glued in ply panel is very strong. I've made loads of simple kitchen cabinet doors like this and they are fine.

If you want to go the whole 9 yards, then a frame with M&T joints and floating panels is the traditional way to make these, but this approach evolved to cope with the movement of a solid wood panel and is overkill for a ply panel.

Applied frame is 'orrible, as has been commented already, you can see the compromise at the edges.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
All great information! Thank you all. I will use the stiles as legs for the furniture. I think I will be using M&T for the frame and then routing a rabbet into the frame opening and glueing in the plywood panel from the back to provide both the look and the strength.
 

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Here's a simple night stand using the stiles for legs. The carcase has a webframe at the top and the bottom is exactly the same size, squaring it up. Maybe it will give you an idea.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
bladeburner said:
Here's a simple night stand using the stiles for legs. The carcase has a webframe at the top and the bottom is exactly the same size, squaring it up. Maybe it will give you an idea.
Beautiful bladeburner. Can you please define "webframe" for me? Is this a 1/4" panel in a groove in the frame?
 

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Beautiful bladeburner. Can you please define "webframe" for me? Is this a 1/4" panel in a groove in the frame?
I thought I had a pic of a webframe, and success! I had an on-line tutorial for building a pocket hole based cabinet. Make this webframe (Basic Cabinetmaking by Mark Duginske - Kreg website) the same size as the bottom, by trimming it to match the bottom. Then voila!...the sides, front and back are magically squared to each other. Add face frame, back and some drawers. Wipe on some BLO for color, next day start wiping on some varnish etc..... Those elongated slots made by router, could be made by drill, are to allow the top screws to move. The pocket holes are on the other side.



Finished product...

 
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