While planning and designing a cabinet, I made a wrong assumption of making two butt joints J1 and J2 on the same side of a piece of wood. While doing the work, I realised J1 needs screws from bottom to top, and J2 needs screws from top to bottom, and if I do either one first, the other is not possible. I'm thinking one of the joints needs to be done using pocket hole screws. All pieces are 3/4" hardwood. Is there a better alternative? How do I salvage this?


Side view -

Side View

Front View -

Front view

Here is a pencil sketch

  • 1
    Welcome to WSE. It would be helpful if you gave us some dimensions and showed us how the piece in the sketch integrates into the cabinet.
    – Ashlar
    Jul 13, 2020 at 0:34
  • Have edited the question with a pencil sketch of the cabinet Jul 13, 2020 at 3:00
  • Looks to me like the top cabinet is inset a bit from the base cabinet which offsets the butt joints. Problem solved. If not, add a cleat to the inside of the top cabinet and use it to make the joint to the bottom cabinet.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 13, 2020 at 10:54
  • "I'm thinking one of the joints needs to be done using pocket hole screws." That's certainly one option, but there are many other ways of tackling such a joint, including not attaching the upper to the lower permanently. As per @WhatRoughBeast's Answer it would be commonplace to have the two halves of the unit as separate pieces, which are then held together with e.g. a few screws (and in general not pocket-hole screws).
    – Graphus
    Jul 13, 2020 at 15:32

1 Answer 1


I think a much more common approach would be to make the upper cabinet a stand-alone unit with its own bottom. Then, when you assemble the two units, you'd use short screws driven up through the top of the lower unit.

This would have a secondary benefit as well. As you currently envisage it, getting the doors right on the upper unit will be a very, very tricky (and probably frustrating) exercise in fitting. If the upper unit leans even a tiny bit forward, the doors are going to make contact with the top of the lower unit when they open - and with 15 inch doors that's not going to take much. Going to a separate upper unit would allow a face piece to fill in a small gap (say, 1/8 to 1/4) under the doors. This would give you a bit of clearance to allow the doors to swing freely.

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