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Full Shelf/Partitions or Stretchers??

Posted: Tue, Mar 26 2019, 2:00PM
by Terry Thillemann
I'm building a bathroom vanity and cabinets for my shop, am a bit of a newbie, and need some advice from the experts.

When I drew the shop cabinets, I used full shelves/partitions in my design without any thought, and began cutting. As I went to resume cutting today, I wondered why I'd used full panels rather than stretchers. I drew the cabinets again with stretchers and the plans changed from 10 sheets to 6 sheets of plywood for 4 cabinets which is a savings of $240!! I already cut one sheet a bit to short per the original design but can re-purpose for a smaller cabinet down the road if needed.

That said, for the shop cabinets, since the interior will never be exposed and only has drawers, is there any reason to use full panels for shelf/partitions? These cabinets will be on casters so perhaps full partitions would help prevent sag but don't see full shelves doing anything. FWIW - These are 24" D x 48" W cabinets and I plan to move the casters at least 6-12" in from the ends which will limit the span between them to 2-3'. If needed, I can also put one to two boards, up/down orientation, underneath the cabinet to help prevent sag?

Lastly, for the bathroom vanity, a full partition is standard as far as I'm aware and I assume I'm fine using stretchers for the drawers since nobody sees whether it's full or not so it's a waste to do full?

Here are some images to help ...

Full Panel Shop Cabinet -
Stretcher Panel Shop Cabinet -

Re: Full Shelf/Partitions or Stretchers??

Posted: Wed, Mar 27 2019, 6:22AM
by tim lucas
Good morning,

I don't think you need full shelves but using stretchers is a lot of work, try using the insets for the shelves like (inset the rear shelf say 10") you can also use negative numbers for insets and make things stick out. The partitions work the same way but in your case I would leave them almost full.
The sag may come from the partition as it will distribute weight to the center so you should stiffen up the deck.

Hope this helps

Re: Full Shelf/Partitions or Stretchers??

Posted: Thu, Mar 28 2019, 8:21AM
by Terry Thillemann
Hi Tim,

I'm not sure I follow about the insets and why I'd inset the shelf. Are you saying it's a lot of work using eCabinets in designing with Stretchers? If so, I've already done that and is quite easy. Thanks for recommending stiffening of the deck, I was thinking the same just wasn't sure as I've never really loaded a free floating cabinet.


Re: Full Shelf/Partitions or Stretchers??

Posted: Thu, Mar 28 2019, 8:40AM
by tim lucas
Stretchers are simple enough, but shelves are simpler

Say you add a shelf and need it to sit inside the front of the cabinet 1/2" - you would set a 1/2" insert on the shelf setup screen for the front, when you add the shelf it will be 1/2" inset on the front. Any resizing of the cabinet, it will automatically adjust.

Re: Full Shelf/Partitions or Stretchers??

Posted: Fri, Mar 29 2019, 8:06AM
by Terry Thillemann
Thanks Tim, makes sense!