Lock-rebate or dovetail on a cabinet shell


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16 Jan 2024
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I've got some 15mm thick birch ply panels to build an acoustic cab, roughly 400x500, 350 deep, 15-20Kg once populated.
It's meant to stay on the floor most of the time, but it'll be carried around as well, from the top.
Here I handmade a scaled version of what I believe is called a lock-rebate (? please do correct me), 1/2 1/2 1/2.
Do you recon this could be an alternative to the largerly used box/dovetail joint?
Not taking any shortcuts here, I'm basically just trying to reduce the amount of powertools I need first to make a strong, nice and pure wood joint.
Hand-dovetail joints are not an option right now, as I'm not consistent yet. It will take time and I don't wanna burn these panels.
I figured I could make a proper rebate joint by using just a table saw or a router.
Mind there will be two perpendicular inner panels attached to the shell, reinforcing the structure.
Could this work?


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I’m sorry but not really following what you are trying to do, are you making frames as in the photo with the plywood used as panels in the frames?
Perhaps a sketch might help. I’m presuming that it’s to put a loudspeaker in?
Thank you both. I've seen those, quite interesting, although the outside edge needs to be rounded, and might get into the locking grooves losing the purpose.
@Cabinetman, this pic should clarify what I meant. The part I made corresponds to the green marker. I'll use birch ply for all the parts.
speaker baffle and back panel will be screwed/glued to the shell.


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Seen that too, which suggests it's a OK for a pulled drawer, but what about a cabinet weighing 20Kg?
Does it work in my case or shall I give up the original half-half idea and stick to the dovetails?
Along with the front and back panels in place and fixed I cant see why not, you could dowel the joint as well to add mechanical strength, if you don't have access to a domino machine, as I said in my other post

Or go for a lock mitre as @Spectric said, its a method I also use, but on solid timber for things like newel posts, you still have material around the joint to be able to shape it:

lock mitre 1.jpg newels.jpg
When you say 'pure wood joint', are you ruling out screws? Square battens along all the joints using glue and screws would be very quick, easy, strong and avoid nearly all use of power tools. (You /could/ screw from the inside out, if that is an issue. Just use more screws!)
My guess (and I don't know) is that making those lock joints with a router (unless, I suppose, on a router table) would be as hard to get right as dovetailing. No?