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Butt joint panels

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Trainee neophyte

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I freely admit that I have been a bit of a Muppet, and now throw myself on the good graces of the forum.

I am replacing the awful bathroom cabinet that sits under (and pretends to support) the basin in my otherwise fabulous bathroom. It is the only bit of MDF in the house, and I have always despised it. So, being the numpty that I am, I thought I would just replicate the cabinet, only using raised panels made from pine instead of the horrible MDF.

The panels (my first, by the way) look pretty much like real raised panels, and I am inordinately proud of them (even though they wouldn't pass muster in a real shop, but these are my first attempt at what I consider to be "proper" joinery.

However, here's the rub - how in hell do I attach the panels to the base, and back? I didn't make any frame, because I am copying the dimensions of the little MDF cabinet, so these panels need to butt up against each other, as the MDF ones do. The panels are stile & rail 19mm thick, 750mm tall and about 300mm wide, one on each side. The front will be two raised panel doors, total width 600mm, each hanging off one of the side panels; the back is a bit weird because it has to have space for the plumbing, so will be a around 400mm high with another stretcher (is that the right term?) above it, and no top, because the basin sits on top of it.

I have used what appears to be scaffold planks as stock (it's all I can get here in sunny Greece), but they plane up nicely, and glue up into panels etc - it's all going swimmingly well, and I'm about €10 down in costs, or €20 if you include the spares I now have, that weren't quite as anticipated, if you know what I mean :lol: If nothing else, I have learned how to make passable raised panels on the table saw, and I can use them for doors on something else if necessary. Quite what, I have no idea, but something will need some doors one day....

My thoughts were dowels (which I would have to make as I can't find any locally), loose tenons (ditto, no festool thingamajig), or a spline. It seems to me that dowels are just skinny loose tenons, or loose tenons are fat dowels, although I know that dowels are frowned upon, yet loose tenons are the best thing since sliced bread.

Do I need to start again, with a proper frame for the cabinet? Can it be done properly as is? Am I, as it would appear, a Muppet?

Available tools: table saw, router, router table -sort of (but only the one router), drill press (Lidl special, still in its box), clever drill bits that claim to make dowels, although never used in anger, an assortment of not sharp hand tools, pocket hole jig, although I would rather not.

Apologies for being a numpty.

A view of the evil MDF cabinet here below, if allowed...
 

MikeG.

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By panels, do you mean you've made a complete door, but without a frame? Perhaps a few more photos might help, especially a photo of what you have made.
 

Jacob

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Best way to find out about trad joinery is to have a good look at some trad joinery. Much easier than trying to spirit up details from the back of your mind, from stuff you never really looked at in the first place.
Even better if you have to mend, scrap, or otherwise take something apart.

Or to put it another way; have you ever seen an example of something with "Butt joint panels"?
Very probably not.
 

dzj

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Try Googling framed cabinet carcass or frame and panel cabinet construction, or something similar.
I'm sure there are many images and drawings that will be of help.
 

Trainee neophyte

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MikeG.":3oeoqnu9 said:
By panels, do you mean you've made a complete door, but without a frame? Perhaps a few more photos might help, especially a photo of what you have made.
Thus far, I have two raised panels, with stile and rail frames. Currently bbqing, so can't check the exact dimensions, but the rails/Stiles are about 65mm, I think, surrounding the raised panel. So, yes, exactly a kitchen door, sans knob.

I see flames, so must dash. Will attempt pix after siesta. (A difficult life, but somehow one has to struggle through)
 

thetyreman

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the problem is you are comparing industrial design with trad woodworking, if you want to make a cabinet with panels you need to be able to design and make the new design work in solid woods so that movement is possible, as real wood especially in a bathroom will move a lot, and ideally you want it acclimatised first to the environment.

From what I've seen there is nothing wrong with using pocket hole joinery on things like kitchen and bathroom cabinets, it's obviously far easier than real joinery and faster, however I'd still go with joinery where possible.
 

Trainee neophyte

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thetyreman":rgqt9wwv said:
the problem is you are comparing industrial design with trad woodworking, if you want to make a cabinet with panels you need to be able to design and make the new design work in solid woods so that movement is possible, as real wood especially in a bathroom will move a lot, and ideally you want it acclimatised first to the environment.

From what I've seen there is nothing wrong with using pocket hole joinery on things like kitchen and bathroom cabinets, it's obviously far easier than real joinery and faster, however I'd still go with joinery where possible.
When I made my kitchen, I knocked the carcases together using pocket holes (hence my having the jig), and I think that you are exactly right with my copying a commercial design - which is why I suddenly realised my conundrum. Pocket holes will do the job, as this is a tiny little cabinet, but I was hoping for a more elegant solution. By elegant, I mean less industrial and more traditional. However, what I have made is a euro style cabinet, so I might as well use euro style cabinet methods. Ho hum.

I think it fair to say that everyone has confirmed my thinking, as the euphemism goes. A good lesson, so thank you. All I need now is time to finish the thing - it has taken weeks to get to this point, which is not very far at all. Will post some photos once it is cool enough to go outside - although I believe it was hotter in London yesterday than it is here today. Thank you all for your time on a Sunday to help the village numpty.
 

thetyreman

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when you say 'euro' style, what exactly do you mean? would be good to see some examples of what you have made so far.
 

Trainee neophyte

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By euro-style, which I think might be an American term, I mean cabinets without face frames,so all doors meet together without any spaces between (and by that, I mean the hinge sides of the doors, assuming you have several cupboards side by side). You get more cupboard space, and chipboard and MDF kitchen suppliers find it easier to assemble, I presume.

IMG_20190630_182411.jpg


IMG_20190630_180117.jpg


IMG_20190630_180327.jpg


Pretty basic stuff, I think, and pocket holes will work. I was just hoping for a more "woodworky" solution. The rear panel I am thinking to attach as separate, unglued planks, so if they want to change shape, it won't affect their neighbours - it is an under-basin cupboard, so no one will see, hopefully. My only worry is the base which is two bits of wood glued together - if that starts moving, things could get embarrassing. Still, at total cost of €20, plus finish, it is a worthy experiment.

Thank you all for your time and consideration.
 

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Ttrees

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I am understanding this now.
Plenty of solutions for this, one might be...
Since there's not much meat on the bottom panel, you could laminate some more blocks, the same
grain orientation as the bottom, which would mean it needs to sit off the ground.
You can add a curve to make it invisible and graceful.
Make some biscuits like you would see for end caps on a Scandinavian workbench.

Would that work for ya?
Tom
 

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Ttrees":3ed2hnoe said:
I am understanding this now.
Plenty of solutions for this, one might be...
Since there's not much meat on the bottom panel, you could laminate some more blocks, the same
grain orientation as the bottom, which would mean it needs to sit off the ground.
You can add a curve to make it invisible and graceful.
Make some biscuits like you would see for end caps on a Scandinavian workbench.

Would that work for ya?
Tom
Thank you, but I think (probably but not definitely), I will use pocket holes and have done with it. It was my intention to steal the plastic feet from the existing cabinet, as the bathroom is somewhat a wet room, and so I need to keep any wood off the floor. This all came about because this is my very first "real" woodwork, and I wanted to do it justice, but it is actually just a basic bathroom cabinet that needs finishing asap because the old one is falling to bits and looks skanky, which is a no-no for tourists. Time to pull my finger out and get on with it. Besides, I have already been given the next job by the management: https://www.picnicbenchs.co.uk/acatalog ... 38G15.html
 
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