Similar techniques apply to all furniture or cabinet projects. Almost any project can be built utilizing a few basic woodworking techniques. Today's furniture and woodwork projects are almost all built with both hardwood plywood and lumber solids. The combination of both components work to create better built projects that last longer than traditional solid wood cabinets or furniture items.
Mitering is an upper skill level technique of cabinet and furniture making. Mitered plywood utilizes a 45-degree angle on all sides that connect together. This technique is somewhat difficult to achieve but yields results that show true craftsmanship. Mitered corners can be used on freestanding island bases or cabinet corners to provide a seamless edge. Use miters on small chests, podiums or anywhere that exposed plywood edges need to be hidden. Mitering takes practice. Before attempting it, all 45-degree angles should be tested and pre-fit. If any discrepancies are noted, adjustments can be made to the angle before assembly.
Three-eighths lip (3/8-lip) is a technique that woodworkers use on cabinet doors so that they fit half way into a cabinet opening. It is also a type of joint utilized to connect cabinet jambs together when the joint is not visible. It is a strong joint also used in small furniture items like coffee and end tables, desks and chests. It is accomplished by cutting a 3/8-inch channel or "dado" down the side of a piece of 3/4-inch plywood on two pieces that connect. The two channels are joined with glue and pin nails. The accumulative thickness balances out at 3/4 inch to form the joint.
Butt joints are the most common of all joints. Use the butt joint to build large bookcases, shelving or simple cabinets. With modern glue and staples, the butt joint is almost just as strong as any other type of joint when assembling cabinets or headboards, chests or small tables. Butt joint construction is faster than any other production joint and used by more production cabinet shops than any other type of joint.
For all cabinet and furniture projects, including those built with mitered edges, 3/8-lip edges or butt joints, face frame construction is the strongest. Face frames give projects the hardwood appearance sought after by those who appreciate craftsmanship. After the cabinets are built with plywood, face frames are built out of hardwood. They are then glued onto the front of the cabinets or furniture projects. Almost all cabinets have traditional face frame construction.
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