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A simple system for classic casework

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Casework basics

If you typically build furniture with sheet-goods carcasses, it's hard to imagine a world before plywood and MDF. There was one, though, filled with sturdy, lightweight furniture made of framed panels. Such assemblies shrink or swell with the seasons without splitting or their joints pulling apart. Other frame-and-panel furniture advantages still hold true today:

The technique offers design flexibility. For example, by extending the frame stiles 2" below the rails on each side panel for a project, such as the one shown, you raise the height of your nightstand or end table. Or make the stiles square and longer, and you've created legs for an end table.

Even when using plywood panels, frame-and-panel furniture weighs less than comparable cases made from 3/4" plywood or MDF with hardwood trim or a frame attached.

Download of drawing

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