I am going to make my panels for my walnut dresser from solid lumber (no
ply). The panels will measure 21" long X 15 3/4" wide. Will 1/4" thick
panels be sufficient or will they be too flimsy? They will sit in grooves
in the rails (top and bottom) and in grooves in the legs (left and right).
If I go with 1/2 thick panels I will need to make my rails thicker.
Will 1/4" thick be sufficient? I know that if I was using plywood it would
probably be too flimsy.
This all boils down to personal preference. Actually 1/4" plywood panels
would be fine. While you may be able to push on the panel and deflect it,
it adds no strength to the panel as a whole. It simply fills in the hole
between the rails and stiles. If however you are going to attach any thing
on the in side side to the panels you want at least thick enough to handle
screws if you will be using screws. Personally I would choose plywood over
solid wood for stability, and ease of construction.
I totally agree that plywood would be more stable and easier, however I feel
that the grain of plywood sometimes does not look natural. This is the
primary reason that I want to go with solid stock.
Keep in mind, and this also has to do with your particular location, that
you can get several type cuts for the grain on the surface of a piece of
plywood. Riff and rotary come to mind. HD is not going to have the
variety that a good lumber supply will have available to you.
Either way, if you prefer the solid wood 1/4" will be plenty.
"plywood" as panels of similar and larger size to yours in a number of
projects: desks, china cabinets, chests of drawers, etc. The MDF is a
great substrate. There is no telegraphing of the substrate through the
veneer so you get a smooth, flat surface; it is dimensionally uniform;
and it can be glued into the rails and stiles for extra rigidity if
desired. Strength is not an issue; however, it is heavier than
traditional veneer core plywood. It does not in the 1/4" thickness
provide a base for attaching anything. On the other hand, with the
sides being only about 19" wide, attaching drawer runners/dust panels to
the stiles should provide plenty of support.
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