Cutting dados for thin shelves

Making an open front (no doors) sheet-music cabinet. This is to replace a similar (garage sale) one that has failed. The failed on was particle board sides with 1/16" shelves dado-ed every 1/2". The shelves were able to slide. I would like to re-use the shelves since they are thin and I cannot find similar thin particle board. Home Depot had masonite slightly fatter than 1/8 inch.
Anyway, the cabinet failed because the dado cuts broke through. I am contemplating using plywood for the new cabinet. Advise needed: 1)What's a good grade of plywood for strength after cutting dados? 2)Should I laminate 1/8" masonite onto the the 3/4" ply. and make cut the dados through the masonite for strength and wear?
Note, this is not furniture, simply storage. I have over 20,000 song titles collected over the years and want to organize prior to my demise. All suggestions appreciated.
Ivan Vegvary
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The 1/2 is rather small spacing, how deep you are making the dados is also key. So, if you were to take the 3/4 ply, any 7 ply cab grade would be starting point. A higher count birch would also be good. But you don't have to. If you start by attaching front and back of the vertical units with Any solid wood of 1/2 to 3/4 thick, you will take the pressure off the ply below the dados too, as the front takes most abuse. Then cut the dados you will have a stronger piece. You do not need to face with masonite. The failure point is definitely the front area of the vertical.
On 3/12/2012 11:28 AM, Ivan Vegvary wrote:

similar (garage sale) one that has failed. The failed on was particle board sides with 1/16" shelves dado-ed every 1/2". The shelves were able to slide. I would like to re-use the shelves since they are thin and I cannot find similar thin particle board. Home Depot had masonite slightly fatter than 1/8 inch.

collected over the years and want to organize prior to my demise. All suggestions appreciated.

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On Monday, March 12, 2012 8:57:10 AM UTC-7, tiredofspam wrote: You do not need to face with

Hi Tiredofspam, You are absolutely right. The front is exactly where the cabinet failed. I definitely will use solid wood 'rails' for the front and back. Thanks, excellent suggestion. I never would have thought of it.
Ivan Vegvary
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On 3/12/2012 10:28 AM, Ivan Vegvary wrote:

similar (garage sale) one that has failed. The failed on was particle board sides with 1/16" shelves dado-ed every 1/2". The shelves were able to slide. I would like to re-use the shelves since they are thin and I cannot find similar thin particle board. Home Depot had masonite slightly fatter than 1/8 inch.

collected over the years and want to organize prior to my demise. All suggestions appreciated.

Look for Baltic Birch plywood, a real lumber yard is going to be your best bet. This plywood has many thin ply's, typically 9 for 1/2" material, and is all hard wood.
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'Hardwood' is overkill. These 'shelves' aren't going to either carry significant weight, or be moved in/out frequently. Even a pine inset would work. Or has been suggested a 'face' strip.
If you want really 'easy-sliding' shelves, consider using either strips of HDPE (or UHMW) in the top/bottom of the slots, or an inset block.
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