wood and wood joints
Don’t get excited – We’re talking about woodworking here.
As previously mentioned, wood selection for this project will be red oak. It’s a very available hardwood that the local big blue and orange hardware stores carry ( 🙂 another story for another day) and since the area I live doesn’t offer many good sources of hardwoods for sale to the public (are you feeling my frustration here?) it’s what I tend to use most. I can get more “exotic” woods from my one local source (limited inventory; very pricy) or order online (ooh, scary… having a hard time imagining ordering lumber online, poor UPS guy). All materials will be solid wood except for the shelving, which will be red oak plywood. Joinery will consist of a few pocket-hole screws (reinforced with glue), dado and rabbit joints, biscuits, and of course the tongue and groove joinery for the doors and panels.
Matthias Wandel did a recent study of pocket-hole joinery strength that has got me wondering. I still think there is a time and place for this type of joinery so I’ll continue to use it in those situations.
solid vs. ply
I’m torn on whether plywood is really solid wood. Most cabinet makers use plywood for the cabinet carcass (the shell of the cabinet) for multiple reasons: ply doesn’t “move” like solid wood will with temperature and humidity changes, ply is less expensive than a solid wood panel, and due to limitations in widths in solid wood one would have to edge glue multiple pieces of solid wood together to make a panel large enough for a cabinet (see reasons #1 and #2). I’m definitely settled on particle board, MDF (medium-density fiberboard) or hardboard as definitely NOT solid wood (you’d be surprised how much of that stuff ends up in your “custom” cabinets – suckers!), but for now I’ll go with the cabinet makers logic that ply IS solid wood (still doesn’t sound right but let’s go with it).