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I'm building some cabinets out of 3/4" plywood, and I'd like to use 2x2" (nominal) stock as furniture squares. These squares will be on the interior only; it's not visually necessary for the interior wood to match the wood of the piece.

I'm planning on using a setup like this, except I'll be using 18 gauge brads instead.

Checking at my local lumberyard, it looks like this 2x2" stock is very pricey.

Would it be acceptable to use pine or poplar from Home Depot for these squares instead? The prices look much more tolerable.

Anything else I should consider?

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My suggestion is to dump the use of the 18 gauge brads. There is absolutely no reason to use anything bigger than 3/4" x 3/4" material for this type of internal joint block. Use flat head wood screws placed into pre-drilled countersunk clearance holes in these glue blocks. Then apply glue to the block faces where it meets the cabinet sides and install the screws.

It is OK to use any type of material you want for this type of glue block but I have found from practical experience that soft woods like pine are too prone to splitting when using as described above. Oak is great as it glues very well but poplar would be acceptable.

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    Sooner or later, someone will bang into the furniture and stress the joints. Modern, cheap pine won't handle that well. – Wayfaring Stranger Mar 1 '15 at 13:58
  • If using this approach, is it necessary to use any kind of joinery on the plywood pieces themselves? From what I've read, if using an internal joint block like this, a simple butt or miter joint (without dowels/tenons/etc) is sufficient. – rinogo Mar 1 '15 at 18:16
  • Sure. Join them together with dowels, biscuits or pocket screws. Often when joining to plywood in a corner one piece wants to be a solid wood piece so that the edge of the plywood does not show. Alternatively the edge of the plywood can be covered with a glued on banding. I've used 3/16 to 1/8" thick like lumber for the banding that is glued on. – Michael Karas Mar 1 '15 at 22:52
  • Excellent. Super late question, but worth asking anyway - Why do you recommend screws over brads? Shouldn't the strength of the joint come from the glue on the internal joint block, not the brads/screws? I'm leaning toward brads because they're much faster. What are the advantages to using screws? – rinogo Mar 16 '15 at 19:55
  • I recommend the screws because I believe they do a far better job of tightly drawing the wood pieces together to make the glue joints as thin as possible. When you get done with screws you will have a piece that looks like and provides functionality similar to old world craftsmanship. The use of brads and nailers are for fast production shops that think they have to crank out stuff fast and at minimum cost. But afterwards it looks like that! My philosophy is that if you take your time and do a quality piece of work the time to install screws is really a small part of the equation. – Michael Karas Mar 17 '15 at 1:28

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