Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/Plywood Joinery


QUESTION: Hello Eileen,

I am back with another question.

I wanted to know your opinion on joinery for plywood furnitures.

Actually, I will be sending the furnitures over to customers without assembling them and my customers will assemble it at their homes.

So the joinery should be simple. This actually takes away the glue. Not completely though: for example, I can glue join any two pieces together as long as they make one side, and I can still flat pack all pieces. I hope you got the idea. Basically, I want to reduce the transport cost and let customers do the final assembly.

Now, my question is, what types of joinery can I use? First option is to use hardware joinery by using screws etc. I don't mind it but I don't want to expose any screws on my furniture, it doesn't look good. As long as I can hide them, its fine.

Any advise? I don't mind references to any webpages/pictures also..

Thanks Eileen

ANSWER: Hi Sanjay
I hope this is solid core plywood you will be joining.
If so, if its a flat piece you are joining I would use biscuits.
If its corners, are you covering the edges?
Most of these home assemble pieces I see are simple butt joins using hardware.
Its hard to explain so I am sending this link which should be helpful.

Hope this helps a bit at least

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the reply Eileen. I somehow am not a big fan of ikea style joinery. I have a feeling that if I push ikea furniture, then the joinery will become shaky and loose. Do you think so too?

Here is what I was thinking of: Using traditional woodworking joints like mortis-tenons, dados, etc, but instead of using glue to bind them, use something like wooden pegs to hold them. Is there a way to fasten pegs without glues? If I think this way, then metal screws can also be used. Does it make sense?

Hi again Sanjay
I am also not a fan of such furniture. And the joinery as you say becomes loose if the piece is moved often. Make it, leave it in one spot, it lasts forever.
A mortis-tenon joint in my opinion is not suitable for plywood. But thats only my thinking.
Dado joins are perfectly acceptable for plywood.
Glue is the only way to secure pegs. But in my opinion gluing a peg should not be a problem for the customer doing the assembly.
I'm not understanding about the metal screws Sanjay. But I do know there are screw covers available to hide screw heads. In this type of furniture, they really look OK.
Hope this helps a bit.

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Eileen Cronk


Hi..I can answer most questions about the repairing,stripping and refinishing of all your old furniture and wood items(the things we call antiques)I can give advice about what to buy/avoid at auctions/flea markets. I do not give appraisals on antiques.


I have been refinishing antiques for the past 30yrs. While I have taken several courses over the years,I have found that "hands on" learning is the best teacher. Perhaps I can help you avoid some of the mistakes I made while learning.

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