Best choice of wood for garage cabinet? - Router Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2009, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Default Best choice of wood for garage cabinet?

Now that I have a new tablesaw, I have been thinking about building a large cabinet in my garage to hold some random tools. I am curious about building cabinets out of MDF or particle board. I do not want to spend top dollar since they are just for a garage. I planned on painting them, and building a simple raised panel door out of some extra pine 1x's and 1/4 birch plywood. I plan on using my pocket hole jig to build the face and was hoping to use a cheaper grade material for the sides/top/bottom.

Is there any way to dress up particle board? Does it paint well? The only experience that I have is my cheap college compter desk with the fake looking oak. How do they make it look like that? I imagine it is somewhat like formica, just not as hard. Is it some form of wallpaper? Or should I just paint it if that is the route I decide to go.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-08-2009, 11:40 PM
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First let me say I have no cabinet making experience, just a lot of reading under my belt. MDF is fine for garage cabinets and painting them will help protect the wood from moisture and spills. It takes paint very well. The major con is it is heavy, and the dust is nasty stuff so wear a mask.
You could use plywood, it's lighter and if you use G1S grade you will have decent looking wood cabinets even without paint.
The "fake" stuff I think you are talking about is a paper veneer made to look like oak. Something like "mac-tac". You can buy actual wood veneer in many different types of wood, some even come with a heat activated adhesive on it. It can be stained and finished like wood and dresses up low grade plywood very nicely. It can be a bit pricey.
I am sure the guys here will be happy to make some more experienced recommendations.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-09-2009, 12:02 AM
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I agree that plywood would be a better choice, preferably exterior grade. Eventually, you'll have water on the floor, or a spill inside the cabinet. Either can reak havoc on MDF or particle board.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-09-2009, 02:05 AM
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Go the plywood using AB or at worst BC. If the area is damp, you could go marine grade.

The challange will be the edge of the plywood, you can get a "t" molded plastic or use a glue on edging. The glue on edging often does not stay on like one would hope but the "T" molded plastic goes into a grove and really does't have to be glued but I would recamend it. Just use contact cement. I got my vinyl edging at Rockler. You will need to router a grove in the edge to hold the vinyl in place. Plastic T-Molding Edging - Rockler Woodworking Tools
The cost is not bad, the finished product looks professional and it will hold up to the service in the garage. This is usually used when p-lam is used but I would use it with just painted or stained plywood. BTW I would go with "cabinet grade" plywood just because it will finish better the cost is more but the finished product is worth it. I used this product for some tables I made for food service at our church but I don't think I took any pics. you can check my gallery if you wish.

Be sure to take pics along the way and keep us informed.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-09-2009, 08:42 AM
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Trevor
I'm a fan of veneered plywood when it comes to cabinets. I made the ones in my shop out of veneered birch. I used seconds which were resonably priced but not the best looking stuff. You can paint it or stain it, I never did anything to it and it seems to be holding out well. For the edging I used solid birch it takes the abuse well, I'm quite hard on them. One suggestion though make your uppers right to the ceiling so you don't have to deal with the dust.
Good Luck
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-09-2009, 09:25 AM
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Hi Trevor

I would suggest using poplar or MDF for ALL the frames and 1/4" thick MDF for the panels....I would also suggest you make all the cabinets in the frame way that's to say the sides would be frames just like the doors with flat panels..

The bottom and the drawers would be 1/2" or 3/4" MDF , you will be amaze how fast you can made the cabinets and how low they will cost you to make them up....

I will say MDF can be use to make all the parts for the cabinets,below you will see small frame I keep around the shop for a setup frame..if you use the T & G way you will be amaze how easy the parts can be glue up..the T & G bits set can be used to make all the parts for the cabinets..one bit set will do it all..plus if you use the pocket type hinges you will not have a problem hanging the doors to the sides...

The nice thing about MDF is that you can use all of it all unlike plywood or real wood..the cut offs can be used for the panels..if you design it right.. and it's always true size (thickness )unlike plywood
=====

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Originally Posted by jeep_man View Post
Now that I have a new tablesaw, I have been thinking about building a large cabinet in my garage to hold some random tools. I am curious about building cabinets out of MDF or particle board. I do not want to spend top dollar since they are just for a garage. I planned on painting them, and building a simple raised panel door out of some extra pine 1x's and 1/4 birch plywood. I plan on using my pocket hole jig to build the face and was hoping to use a cheaper grade material for the sides/top/bottom.

Is there any way to dress up particle board? Does it paint well? The only experience that I have is my cheap college compter desk with the fake looking oak. How do they make it look like that? I imagine it is somewhat like formica, just not as hard. Is it some form of wallpaper? Or should I just paint it if that is the route I decide to go.


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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-09-2009, 06:18 PM
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I'd be a bit leery of CDX ply, there's lots of voids in the ply layers and the species of lumber makes for a warped/bowed sheet. Even though the unit will be in the garage, know that CDX isn't plugged like AC, underlayment or cabinet grade ply.

AC ply is laid with -0- voids better for gluing, biscuiting, pocket screws and nails.
Next 1/2" luan what I use most for utility and kitchen grade carcasses.

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