Using 1/2" back on hanging cabinet instead of cleat?

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Old 12-03-09, 09:43 AM
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Using 1/2" back on hanging cabinet instead of cleat?

Does a 1/2" inch plywood back serve as a good enough hanging support for a large cabinet?

I have built a hanging cabinet without any nailer/cleats. The cabinet dimension is 48"x42"x12". Carcass is made of 3/4" baltic birch for the sides, top and bottom and three shelves. Faceframe is 1x2 poplar.

The backing is 1/2" baltic birch. The backing is dadoed, screwed and glued to the back of the shelves. And the back is rabbeted, glued and stapled to the sides.

As you can see, the cabinet is really strong. Just wondering though if I hit 2-3 studs along the top shelf and the bottom shelf, would that be strong enough?

I really don't want to go back and add a cleat/nailer since I have already painted and finished the cabinets.
 
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Old 12-03-09, 09:50 AM
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Well, no expert...but as long as you use cabinet mounting screws (not drywall or deck screws) and hit the studs as you plan...I can't imagine you'd have any problems.

Heck, since it's a solid back you could put in screws at the top, below the middle shelf and below the bottom shelf if you felt like it. It is pretty big..so why not add a little insurance.
 
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Old 12-03-09, 10:45 AM
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That is my thinking - just put the screws in at each shelf to get the strength.

Guess the only week point is the 1/2" plywood where the screw could pull through. But, I can't imagine that being so bad since the screws are the special cabinet screws with washers as you mention.

What is the purpose of the cleat - to make the standard 1/4" backing stronger? Or because the backing is not strongly attached to the cabinet and the cleat provides a stronger connection?

1/2" back screwed/glued and stapled has to be pretty strong when compared to a cleat?
 
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Old 12-03-09, 01:25 PM
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I just looked at the two 30 x 60 cabinets I have in my laundry room. Typical particle board with the white powder coat/melamine finish that you can get at any big box store. The cleats look to be 1/2" maybe 5/8" thick, and w/o pulling a screw..I'd wager they are particle board as well. I fill 'em with pet food, cleaning supplies, rarely used appliances, spare batteries..you name it...they haven't budged with 6 screws per cabinet.

You'll probably be fine with 3 across the top and 3 in the middle...but since your cabinets themselves are heavy..I'd put in the bottom 3 as well.

The screw won't pull through as long as you don't make the holes obscenely oversize.

I think the cleat for mass production cabinets is probably because 1/4" press board or ply is much cheaper than covering the whole back with 1/2' ply. And to just keep the cabinets square..it does its job, but no way it would work as the only hanging points.
 
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Old 12-03-09, 01:54 PM
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I agree, the cleats used on most cheaper cabinets are only 1x MDF, which I question as a holding member. You should be just fine with your design and hanging procedure. If MDF will hold a cabinet, surely your beefed up backing will be superior.
 
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Old 12-04-09, 08:52 AM
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I've made many cabinets with 1/2" backs. As long as the back adequately attached to the cabinet with screws, it is more than sufficient to mount to the wall with.
 
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