I want to build some shelves to store trays of dice. The trays are 13.7" x 8.6" x 1.37" and are ~4.5 lbs when completely filled with dice.

What kind of lifespan can I expect if I use 1/4" pine plywood for the shelves and 3/4" pine plywood for the outer box with pocket holes?

Here's my design as I would try to build it today: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/jsiPei6bP1y-dice-tray-storage enter image description here

  • 1
    Too. Many. Questions. In. One. Additionally, some of the queries you have can't be answered definitively, making them a bad fit for the SE format anyway . Recommended material? This basically comes down to what you want to use, since anything from pine to rosewood could be used if going with solid wood. And ply or hardboard or MDF if using man-made boards. Ditto joint type — for the expected loading/strain literally anything up to and including dovetails will work, with even the weakest option (unreinforced butt joints) giving long service.
    – Graphus
    May 25 '20 at 7:22
  • Can we start with the trade offs for the materials? I've been using hardwood plywood for my projects so far (bookshelf, off-feed table, crosscut sled). It seems to me like a dado supporting weight wouldn't last very long since the plywood is layered. I don't really care about how nice it looks. I'm looking to make it functional, last a long time, and keep costs to a minimum. May 25 '20 at 14:41
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    @DiegoAndresJAY The comments section is not a good place to ask new questions. I suggest you reword or replace your current question with a revised and simplified approach. You may also get better answers if you provide a sketch of a design you are considering and ask for feedback. Please take the tour for more information on how to participate effectively on this site. Thanks for participating.
    – Ashlar
    May 25 '20 at 14:48
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    Edit your question and narrow it down to a quick intro, gives us the specific details, and then pose a specific question. (Also, note that web links will be dead in an Internet moment -- especially those pointing at an online shopping site. This means that future visitors will not get the value from them. Recommend providing a simple drawing of what you want to do instead.)
    – jdv
    May 25 '20 at 18:02
  • Thanks everyone. I've updated my post. May 25 '20 at 21:29

The devil is in the details, but plywood is so stable that as this design will probably work for years and years if kept indoors and not used as part of an AD&D wet bar.

I question that each tray is 5lbs, though. But whatever mass is present is spread over the entire surface, so whatever.

You will still have to allow for plywood to expand and contract as relative humidity changes. But this will only happen along the width as the plies swell a little.

Assuming you are using butt-joints for the box, as long as you prepare and clamp the glued faces appropriately, modern PVA glue joints will be stronger than the material around it.

  • Plywood movement is generally so minimal, and the overall dimensions so small, that I wonder about the need to mention it..... maybe a 64th? And if the material is used consistently any movement becomes irrelevant as shelves and case move together.
    – Graphus
    May 27 '20 at 15:50
  • @Graphus, it's true. I only mention it so some care is taken to consider relief for the shelves, since I'm not 100% of the design at this point. There seems to be a non-wood part that is encases on the drawer, and if things swell up that might be a problem.
    – jdv
    May 28 '20 at 13:45

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