Rabbet Size for Back

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So, having messed up (not destroyed, but still not happy) my current project, I have a question.
For a fairly normal bookcase type case with a rabbetted back (1x stock, 1/4" plywood), how wide of a rabbet would you cut?
1/4 inch seemed reasonable until I saw how many brads I blew out. Similar suspect is my nailer aim. Guess which step I didn't make extra pieces for to use as practice? But I'm also curious whether this was a generally stupid design choice.
(Next version will be dadoed).
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On 4/17/2012 5:56 PM, Drew Lawson wrote:

Generally about half the thickness of the stock ... 1/2" in your case.
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On 4/17/2012 6:58 PM, Swingman wrote:

I generally go 1/2" or 3/8ths. 1/4" is too small.

Hah. Worse tool a cabinet maker can own is a nailer. I've installed tons and tons of backs using just nails, always wishing I had a nailer. I never bought one knowing that I really didn't need one, and I would surely get myself in trouble using it. Well, finally I bought one of those Harbor fright air things that shoot pins and staples. Too cheap to pass up. Works fine, and yes, I've over used it, and finally got to pin a back to a bookcase, a utility shelf thing I made for the basement. Yes, a managed to shoot a brad or two through the side, and when I build a non utility piece that needs a back, I will try like hell NOT to use the air gun... Note I said try, as they are hard NOT to use, very easy and quick, and the government would do well to ban them from cabinet shops for those too stupid/lazy to not use them, me for example:-)
Guess which step I didn't make

No, it's not stupid at all, it's how it is normally done. 1/4" is a little small, and nail guns are dangerous.

1x stock is normally 3/4", half would be 3/8ths. With 3/4" I usually go 3/8ths and a bump.
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On 4/17/2012 5:56 PM, Drew Lawson wrote:

Like Swingman indicated, 1/2"
And this is how I do them
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lcb11211/7088836297/in/photostream/lightbox /
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lcb11211/7088836699/in/photostream/lightbox /
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lcb11211/7088837069/in/photostream/lightbox /
On the backs of these, upper and lower
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lcb11211/7087787783/in/photostream/lightbox /
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So, you used frame & panel construction for the back instead of a sheet of ply? Cool! Is there just the intermediate stile, or are there also intermediate rails? I can't quite tell. I don't suppose you have a pic or drawing to share.
John S.
On 04/17/2012 06:31 PM, Leon wrote:

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On 4/18/2012 11:19 AM, John Shear wrote:

It's Leon, John ... trust me, that boy does nothing without a SketchUp drawing. So if you ask him nicely ... :)
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On 4/18/2012 11:19 AM, John Shear wrote:

If you have Sketch up I can send you the file and you can explore all day. ;~)
Just let me know.
Actually John I have gravitated to a front AND back face frame on my last several cabinets, 10 so far.
Both face frames receive the cabinet sides, tops, and bottoms with dado's. And the tops and bottoms of the sides receive the top and bottom of the cabinets in dado's also. This makes for an extremely ridged case even with out a back. For the front face frames I attach the rails to the stiles with floating tenons/Dominoes. Other than the mortise and tenons these are simple butt joints.
For the back face frames I use a lap joint reinforced with the Dominoes also. Similar to a half lap joint but 1/2" on one side and 1/4" on the other and I cut rabbits on all inside sides of the back face frames to receive the back 1/4" plywood panels.
I screw the 1/4" plywood back panels into those rabbits with 1/2" long self tapping washer head screws.
Yes, there are both outer stiles and a centered face frame stiles in most cases and in some cases a mid face frame rail if i want a fixed mid shelf.
Take a look here of cabinets with mid rails.
The top units have 4 glass doors and have a fixed mid shelf with mid rails front and back. The bottom closed in cabinets with top drawers have a mid rail only on the front to separate the drawer and bottom doors. The bottom back face frame has no mid rail.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lcb11211/6194892097/in/photostream/lightbox /
Bottom cabinet during glue up. If you look closely you can see the dados in the front and back face frames.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lcb11211/6194892097/in/photostream/lightbox /
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On 4/18/2012 12:36 PM, Leon wrote:

OoPs
Top cabinets
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lcb11211/6485169773/in/photostream/lightbox /
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If I look at your stuff too much, I'll get too intimidated and go back to daydreaming on the couch.
When I hit the lottery, I want you to do my kitchen.
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Drew Lawson | What you own is your own kingdom
| What you do is your own glory
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Ya, I have Sketchup, though I don't know what to do with it yet. ;) I will be going through Bob Lang's stuff hopefully tonight and get his book. I appreciate all the detail advice.
John S.
On 04/18/2012 12:36 PM, Leon wrote:

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On 4/18/2012 1:06 PM, John Shear wrote:

If I remove spam from your address will you get the sketchup file?
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Yep, got it.
On 04/18/2012 01:33 PM, Leon wrote:

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Called me old fashioned if you like. I'm from t'other side of the pond, so won't mind. Whatever happened to panel or moulding pins and a pin (toffee) hammer? I have used these on more delicate work. I imagine these would work perfectly well in the work you describe. Could be wrong. Frequently am. Never used a nail gun. Hope I never will. Also hope to see brass screws used in my coffin.
Nick.

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On 4/17/2012 7:33 PM, Nick wrote:

Nail guns have added a whole new way for the wood work to go to the hospital. You can shoot nails into your hand, your arm, and fingers. If you try real hard you can shoot them into you assistant.
You really should try one. ;-)
I live in North Carolina and have never had one. Like you I can put nails in more accurately with an hammer of a size appropriate to the task.
I watched the man build my garden shed and in there place that significantly speed up the construction process.
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Let me attest that they let me prove what I didn't know much faster that I otherwise would have.
I considered a hammer and brads/tacks for the back on this thing, but was intimidated by my lack of speed while the glue set up. That's largely filed under: beginner with no experience on how long the open time really is.
This wasn't just a "brads until the glue sets" thing. I want the back on this case to protect against the sides bowing out, so want a connectuon stronger than I know i can expect from the glue. I also know that means I should have a better design to avoid bowing.
The thing is, at every snag I stop, walk away and redesign the whole damned thing. As a result, this project has been procrastinated longer than I'd like to admit. That wouldn't be a problem, except that this is supposed to be for my wife to use. She is very patient, but the delay is becoming a joke that is only funny to one of us.
In hindsight, my first project that is too big to throw across the room shouldn't have been for someone else who is waiting.
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This could make assembly interesting. Art

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Maybe I'm using the terms wrong (even aside from whether dado is only cross-grain). Groove all around, like a drawer bottom. Slide in the back. Attach the last of the sides, as joinery of choice allows. I'd as soon have dovetailed the top, which would do this fine, I think. It is just that I have yet to cut my first dovetail.
Many useful mistakes learned on this project. At least that's what I try to tell myself.
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On 4/17/2012 6:56 PM, Drew Lawson wrote:

As others have posted, half way will usually do the job although I have gone wider with no problem. In many cases (yes, I know) it is not necessary to use any more mechanical fasteners than those required to keep things square and the back and sides in contact until glue dries. On occasion, just to change things up, I've skipped the sheetgoods back entirely and done something fancier
http://johnmcgaw.com/image/ch-back.jpg although as I get older I seem to be veering toward the cheap-n-dirty approach. My aim with a brad nailer isn't all that good either, if it is any consolation, and I once shot a 1-1/2" brad through the edge of a piece of stock and into my thumb.
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On 4/17/2012 3:56 PM, Drew Lawson wrote:

1/2" wide 1/4" deep and use small staples over brads. The staples are much stronger in my opinion and don't blow out as bad as brads.
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On 4/18/2012 9:31 AM, Pat Barber wrote:

Absolutely. That's all I use (18 ga 1/4" crown staples, fired from the same, dual purpose, brad nailer) for attaching backs to most cabinets.
Each crown staple has at least twice the holding power of a single brad, and if appearance is an issue you can always use some thin trim in a judicious manner.
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