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Old 1st May 2005, 05:02 PM   #1
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Default Some more info on cabinet construction

I've been doing a lot of reading on this forum and have learned a lot. I'm building a bookshelf sized version of one of my Klipsch speakers using 3/4" MDF. It will have the same internal volume but will be about 10" shorter in height and about 5" deeper.

I have my panels cutout and was wondering about what joints to use. After doing a few searches, I think I'm just going to go for the typical butt joint instead of a 45 miter. My question is:

1) would you have the bottom and top panels the full width of the cabinet with the side panels sandwiched between them

2) or have the sides the full height with the top/bottom panels sandwiched.

I'm thinking option 1 would be better, or does it even matter.

Also,

What about an electric brad nailer (which I have) instead of going with the cabinet screws? I looked at the inside of one of my Klipsch towers, and it looks like they have their panels mitered at 45 degrees with 4 .75"x.75" braces, glued and braded, in each corner running the depth of the cabinet. I do plan on putting an oak veener with a medium finish on it to match my towers. I want it to look as "factory" as possible.

Another thing. Clamps. I have been reading where there is no such thing as too many, but what would be the minimum amount? I have 2 36" long Irwin clamps (the blue and yellow quick release kind) that I got at Home Depot. Do you all think that would be good enough, or would I need more?

Sorry for the long post. I appreciate the help and suggestions. Thanks.
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Old 1st May 2005, 06:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: Some more info on cabinet construction

Quote:
Originally posted by Yesfan70
1) would you have the bottom and top panels the full width of the cabinet with the side panels sandwiched between them
2) or have the sides the full height with the top/bottom panels sandwiched.
Either way will be fine


Quote:
[i]What about an electric brad nailer (which I have) instead of going with the cabinet screws? [/B]
That's fine also. If you are using butt joints, consider using inside corner blocking. (no outside fasteners)

Quote:
[i] I want it to look as "factory" as possible.[/B]
Do you mean good? With a little time you can make them look better than factory.

Quote:
[i]I have 2 36" long Irwin clamps (the blue and yellow quick release kind) that I got at Home Depot. Do you all think that would be good enough, or would I need more?[/B]
You will need a dozen or more. I would consider inside corner blocking instead.

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Old 1st May 2005, 07:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
That's fine also. If you are using butt joints, consider using inside corner blocking. (no outside fasteners)
If that's what I think it is, I think that's how Klipsch put together my towers. There's four braces that run the depth of the cabinet in each corner. It looks like they used brad nails (from the inside) and then wood glue to seal it. The brad nails I have are 1 &1/4" length.

Quote:
Do you mean good? With a little time you can make them look better than factory.
Yeah. I want it to look like Klipsch made it instead of me.

Quote:
You will need a dozen or more. I would consider inside corner blocking instead.


You kidding? Man, I can see where this hobby can get expensive. How many for the inside corner bracing?

Appreciate the replies Cal. Thank you.
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Old 1st May 2005, 09:09 PM   #4
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I have to say that while it is nice to have a lot of clamps. However I've built fairly large cabinets with no screws or nails, and just three strap clamps. You just have to be careful to keep all the edges straight when cutting, and when you start to clamp keep everything square. You just need a little more patience.
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Old 1st May 2005, 11:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Yesfan70
How many for the inside corner bracing?
None, you use the brads or screws to hold it together while the glue is setting. With MDF sometimes it's better to use screws.

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Old 2nd May 2005, 01:19 AM   #6
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Putting wood in the corners as braces is a complete waste of time. The corners are the strongest part of your cab. Bracing needs to break up the longest unbraced dimensions of the panels (the middle of your panels). The purpose of bracing is not for strength. It is to reduce the flexing of the panels to minimize resonances, and strengthening the corners does very little. Shelf type braces attached to 4 sides of cab are best.

If you plan to veneer anyway, just use the nail gun. You won't even need to use clamps with a properly glued and nailed enclosure as long as your panels are cut accurately.
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Old 2nd May 2005, 02:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by johninCR
Putting wood in the corners as braces is a complete waste of time. The corners are the strongest part of your cab.
John, you're misunderstanding the purpose of the blocking. It is used to prevent the need for outside fasteners. It has nothing to do with panel stiffening.

Quote:
[i]Bracing needs to break up the longest unbraced dimensions of the panels (the middle of your panels). [/B]
Agreed but that is panel stiffening, not corner blocking.

Quote:
[i]If you plan to veneer anyway, just use the nail gun. [/B]
Or preferably screws

Quote:
[i]You won't even need to use clamps with a properly glued and nailed enclosure [/B]
The screws are the clamps.

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Old 2nd May 2005, 04:06 AM   #8
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If you can cut the 45 deg corners accurately you won't need fasteners or clamps.

Lay out the box all flat with the mitres down towards a flat bench. Use white 1" masking to tape the corners and then flip all the sides over and run glue in the beads. Fold up wiping the excess glue. Should fit fine and exert 15lbs per sq inch easily. corner blocking should be glued and pushed in place, the suction again reaching 15lbs per sq in and in a few minutes you cannot bust it apart if you wanted.

I began assembling high end veneered bank and office furniture this way nearly (gawd) 30 years ago.

99% of all consumer spkrs are assembled this way. Cut on a Vee groove machine all the way through the panel save for the veneer (or plastic) to act as the hinge.

Have used masking tape on very llarge cabinets and tables where clamps would mar or otherwise not work and fasteners are always a nono anyway (except on TV)

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Old 2nd May 2005, 04:52 AM   #9
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TC,

Using your method requires corner blocking for a strong bond doesn't it. I've tried lower pressure shortcuts before (without the corner blocking) and I've yet to get a good bond. I believe a higher pressure is required so you get a good wood to wood bond instead of just having glue between 2 pieces of wood, at least using normal wood glue. Do you use a different kind of glue?
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Old 2nd May 2005, 05:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by johninCR
I believe a higher pressure is required so you get a good wood to wood bond instead of just having glue between 2 pieces of wood, at least using normal wood glue. Do you use a different kind of glue?
For MDF, I first assemble the 4 sides using yellow glue and pin nails or staples every 3 inches, leaving a small overhang as illustrated. After the glue is dry I trim off the overhang with a router. I then add the top and bottom in the same manner. If you are going to roundover, be careful where you place the fasteners - you don't want your roundover bit cutting into them! You could make a 4'x4' cube this way and it would be plenty strong. If you use a stapler you need a good one and about 110# of air to drive a 1 1/2 inch staple into MDF.

BTW, there is no such thing as a wood to wood bond: it's always glue between two pieces of wood. The glue joint is stronger than the wood itself.
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