Author Topic: Plywood cabinet assembly: screws vs. dominoes  (Read 3848 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 863
Re: Plywood cabinet assembly: screws vs. dominoes
« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2021, 08:30 AM »
Fasteners for cabinet boxes have two functions:

1.  Hold the joints together
2.  Prevent racking

Dominoes and dowels (with glue) do a good job on both.
Confirmats do a good job on both but are exposed.
Conventional screws (drywall or construction) do a good job of holding the joint together, but a poor job on racking
Pocket screw also do a good job on holding the joint together, but a poor job on racking.

Conventional screws are fast and cheap, but being exposed and lacking racking strength fall short for me.

Pocket screws are hidden and there is a place for them in cabinet construction.

Dados and glue.  The dadoes locate horizontal boards accurately but offer poor racking strength.  There are no exposed fasteners.  But they gain their strength from the total construction contributions.  As a standalone joint, it comes up short.

My preference is (lately) dowels.  They are fast and cheap and offer excellent racking strength.  For Euro cabinets they can be completely hidden.  For face frame, they can be quickly (with no required jigs) through doweled. 

Dominoes are less accessible (pricy equipment required) and the dominoes are far more expensive than dowels.

Beadlock requires expensive tenons (built or purchased) and are tedious to drill out (10 drillings per tenon) and probably have no place in cabinet construction.


Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Online Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 856
Re: Plywood cabinet assembly: screws vs. dominoes
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2021, 11:06 AM »
    I am not sure I see the need for face frames and cabinet boxes to be able to withstand however many bazillion pounds of force that may be required to break them apart on purpose. Yes, stronger is better but there is also ...... plenty strong enough.  And I am pretty sure any of the methods or combination of methods in this topic will make them strong enough.

    Choose the method that will be the easiest to build them using the tools you have.

Seth

Yeah, that's kind of what I got out of Packard's post above too.
The term "good enough" is often mocked or looked down upon as being marginal or barely adequate, but I think it applies here very well.
Base cabinets need to be strong enough to hold up the countertop and whatever you reasonably would put on it and uppers need to be strong enough t actually stay on the wall and the shelves not sag. Beyond that is overkill in terms of time and materials used.

My house was built in 1929 and still has most of the original kitchen cabinets. They are "built-ins" that were done on-site with solid wood, with the exception of the doors. I think they were replacements at some time though? One of them is rail/style frame with glass and the rest are 3/8" rabbet overlay plywood. The cabinets themselves are painted white as is that glass door's frame. The flat plywood doors are well aged clear lacquer. I assume that they were originally frame/panel and painted too?
Point being that they have been there over 90 years.....good enough.
CSX
DF500 + assortment set
PS420 + Base kit
OF1010
OF1400
MFK700 (2)
TS55, FS1080, FS1400 holey, FS1900, FS3000
CT26E + Workshop cleaning set
RO90
RO125
ETS EC 125
RAS115
ETS 125 (2)
TS75
Shaper Origin/Workstation

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 863
Re: Plywood cabinet assembly: screws vs. dominoes
« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2021, 11:23 AM »
I compulsively over-build everything.  But recently I made a bathroom medicine cabinet using the crudest of joinery.

I used butt joints on 3/4" thick poplar.  Glue and 15 gage nails from a nailgun.  Filler for the nail holes and paint. 

The door as regular rails and stiles with stub tenons. 

It is on the wall.  It seems very sturdy.  It went together quickly.  No regrets.  But I probably won't do that again. 

I am not fond of 18 gage nails for joining boards.  The nails seem to follow the grain and veer off to the side sometimes coming through the side of a panel.  The 15 gage nails don't do that.  Since I was filling the holes anyway and  painting, there was no reason to use the 18 gage nails.

Offline ChuckS

  • Posts: 3034
Re: Plywood cabinet assembly: screws vs. dominoes
« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2021, 11:34 AM »
Snip.
I am not fond of 18 gage nails for joining boards.  The nails seem to follow the grain and veer off to the side sometimes coming through the side of a panel.  The 15 gage nails don't do that.  Since I was filling the holes anyway and  painting, there was no reason to use the 18 gage nails.

Deflection and blowout - David Schmidt offers this useful guide on brad nails vs finish nails, as published in the Wood magazine.

Online Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 856
Re: Plywood cabinet assembly: screws vs. dominoes
« Reply #34 on: October 20, 2021, 07:49 PM »
The same goes for narrow-crown staples, they need to be shot perpendicular to the edge.
CSX
DF500 + assortment set
PS420 + Base kit
OF1010
OF1400
MFK700 (2)
TS55, FS1080, FS1400 holey, FS1900, FS3000
CT26E + Workshop cleaning set
RO90
RO125
ETS EC 125
RAS115
ETS 125 (2)
TS75
Shaper Origin/Workstation

Online SRSemenza

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 9766
  • Finger Lakes Region, NY State , USA
Re: Plywood cabinet assembly: screws vs. dominoes
« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2021, 12:05 AM »
I just want to add that I think testing for this type of thing can be used for comparison purposes and to weed out things that are simply "not good enough". But most common types (maybe excepting cheapo factory cabs.) of cabinet box and face frame joinery will all be strong enough.

Seth

Offline tsmi243

  • Posts: 145
Re: Plywood cabinet assembly: screws vs. dominoes
« Reply #36 on: October 21, 2021, 10:55 AM »
weed out things that are simply "not good enough".

Amen.  Even the "junk" cabinets take some work to remove. 

I think maybe a good studfinder is the real key to quality cabinetmaking.

Offline 4nthony

  • Posts: 70
Re: Plywood cabinet assembly: screws vs. dominoes
« Reply #37 on: October 21, 2021, 12:17 PM »
I found Greg Paolini's Festool-sponsored video series on cabinet construction, which is newer than the earlier video I watched in which Greg used screws, with parts tacked in place with a brad nailer.
In the new video, naturally Greg used dominoes for everything!

Is that the "Mastering Built-In Furniture" series posted in the Popular Woodworking channel or is there another?

« Last Edit: October 22, 2021, 04:03 PM by 4nthony »

Offline fshanno

  • Posts: 1062
Re: Plywood cabinet assembly: screws vs. dominoes
« Reply #38 on: October 28, 2021, 05:27 PM »

Amen.  Even the "junk" cabinets take some work to remove. 

I think maybe a good studfinder is the real key to quality cabinetmaking.

Amen to that!  And for me finding the stud is not the issue.  Finding the CENTER of the stud is the issue.
The one thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history.

Offline fshanno

  • Posts: 1062
Re: Plywood cabinet assembly: screws vs. dominoes
« Reply #39 on: October 28, 2021, 05:36 PM »
Time is not really an issue is it?  Once you've made this case you're done right?  You've already spent more time thinking about it than the time difference between the slowest and the fastest methods.

Since you have a Domino it seems like a no brainer.  A lot more fun.  Less mess.  Way cooler.  And you have to clamp pocket holes twice, once to make the pocket hole and again when you drive the screw.  You just have to leave the clamp on longer with a domino.

Any of the methods is strong enough for built in cases.  A nailed butt joint with no glue is strong enough.  4 or 5 dominos with glue in the mortises will do just fine. 

Now if you didn't have a Domino then pocket holes by all means.  First of all, every household should have a pocket hole jig.  It's like duck tape.
The one thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history.