kitchen carcass ply

Discussion in 'Wood / Woodwork / Carpentry' started by jfsoar, 20 Aug 2019.

  1. jfsoar

    jfsoar

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    Hi,

    I'm planning to remake our kitchen. I think I've settled on 18mm ply for carcasses (perhaps with 12mm ply for backs).

    Shaker-style doors from 12mm ply framed with tulipwood.

    I plan to (spray) paint. I know MDF or MFC would be cheaper, but having looked at a few kitchens, I dislike the perfect vinyl look most have -- I want the wood grain to telegraph through the paint a little bit. I can use edge banding on the exposed parts of the frameless cabinets prior to painting.

    The biggest expense is the 18mm ply for the carcasses -- I was looking at getting 10+ sheets of Birch throughout / BB grade 18mm, and with delivery and VAT it comes in well over £600.

    Even though that's still a bit cheaper than buying pre-made, it is still is a bit silly for wood that will be painted.

    Looking at the ply in B&Q, it is much cheaper -- and I can get it home a few sheets at a time as I need it for £32 a sheet, making storage much easier. It's anonymous "hardwood plywood". Not perfect, but cosmetically good enough.

    However, will this stuff warp over time?

    Am I right in assuming that if the cabinets are constructed appropriately and once all bolted together they should be fairly immune to warping --- and I would probably only need more stable plywood for the doors?

    Thanks in advance
     
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  3. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Which is why MFC (not MDF - too much like blotting paper for use in a kitchen) is often the material of choice. Unlike plywood it is always dead flat (plywood by its' nature cannot be perfectly flat), of consistent thickness (again, unlike plywood which can vary a bit) and normally won't warp when cut

    Sometimes cosmetically good enough. You'll often see sheets with face veneer joins, cracks which have been filled and sanded and sheets with rippled faces - especially from cheaper outrlets like B&Poo who don't stock the better quality boards. Another couple of issues with cheap Chinese plywood are voids (always visible on the edges and sometimes visible on the surface as hollow shadows), bumps (where the core has been overlapped instead of butted) and delamination of the veneers (due to poor glue line). For that reason if I had to use plywood I'd probably go with an iron-on edging or (better) a solid hardwood lipping to hide the nasty interiors of the {cheaper} sheets. Frankly I use lots of Chinese hardwood plywood for sub-floors, but I don't consider it to be good enough for furniture making

    More to the point, will it warp when you cut it? This can and does happen with cheaper hardwood plywood (especially Chinese stuff) and is the result of tension being released in the sheet by the act of cutting.

    You'll sometimes find that plywood carcasses need to be heavily cramped to get them to pull together in the first place. in order to avoid this the furniture industry often opts for European (ideally Finnish) birch ply in a higher grade such a S/BB. The greater number of thinner plies and the superior quality of the glue used means a less problematic material
     
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  4. opps

    opps

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    I made all of my kitchen doors and carcasses from MDF, which I then hand painted. When I worked out the materials plus labour time, I realised that it would have been far cheaper to have purchased premade carcasses. The key advantage however was that each carcass was exactly the size that I wanted, additionally, given that my worktops were 900mm deep I could utilise the extra space.

    I do not see anything wrong with using ply rather than MDF but the edges of your cuts may have the odd little void here and there.

    Have you considered using bog standard (or moisture resistant) MDF for the carcasses and veneered MDF for the doors? That said, the grain on the veneer may be a tad too subtle, mind you the grain on ply is often pretty minimal.
     
  5. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    I've lost count of how many times over the years I've resized bought-in kitchen and bedroom carcasses. Piece of cake with a track saw
     
  6. opps

    opps

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    Fair call, but have you ever managed to make them 200mm deeper to take advantage of deeper worktops?

    I agree that cutting down units is fairly trivial but preformed doors are generally standard sizes.
     
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  8. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Yes, a couple of times, b ut I really didn't like doing it. TBH when you get much deeper than 500mm (internal dimension) it gets increasingly difficult to get wirework, etc to utilise the extra space not to mention being a real faff to retrieve items stored at the backs of the cupboards. Also built-ins like fridges can't use the extra depth, so I don't see any practical advantages in going deeper. I'd prefer to have more floor space
     
  9. opps

    opps

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    I agree about the wire work. The carousel unit has quite a bit of wasted space.

    I actually prefer having the deeper worktops Vs floor space. Another advantage is that we didn't have to replace all of our freestanding white goods. I just made doors to hide them. Where possible I used draws, a great way to utilise the extra depth.
     
  10. jfsoar

    jfsoar

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    I got a couple of sheets of 18mm hardwood ply froom wickes to give it a go. The face of the ply looks quite nice. The edges have various voids and discontinuities but they won't be seen.

    The resulting test cabinet looks decent enough that I'm now thinking I can get away with brush painting just the (edge banded) front face and maybe back/sides for sealing, and use polyx oil on the inside.

    What order is best to apply the finish? paint first then oil inside, or other way around?
     
  11. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Don't oil the insides! Some oils can end up smelling rancid over time or taint food stored inside and it seems to take an age to cure. Not very durable either. Better to go to something like a clear water-based floor lacquer IMHO
     
  12. jertum

    jertum

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    A friend just made his own kitchen from plywood - it's a large room and the materials came to around £500. Rather than trying to recreate the look of a standard fitted kitchen (shaker doors etc.), he just cut out small sections at the top of each door with a jigsaw for the handles before treating/painting. Looks really smart and saved on materials, but it's a matter of personal choice I guess. Search 'Plykea' and you'll see what I mean.

    Also, don't buy any materials from B&Q, wickes etc. - it's almost all unusable.
     
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