I'm thinking about switching to 1/2" backs exclusively to streamline and standardize things a little better. I currently use 1/4" backs with a 3/4" hardwood nail rail... It's just getting too time consuming.
How do you construct your cabinets (face frame) with 1/2" backs and why do you think it is the best way? Dado them in, rabbet, or just attach directly to the cabinet sides and shelves? If you dado them in, say 3/8 to 1/2 from the back, do you then attach fillers behind where they are mounted to the wall?
From contributor C:
1/2" back... Sounds to me as if that might raise your material costs. There is nothing wrong with 1/4 backs and it depends if you have a finished end or not on the cabinet. My shop only rabbets the sides if there are finished ends; otherwise, we simply staple them on. If the customer wants 1/2" backs, then they pay accordingly. Our typical cabinet (paint grade poplar) is all cut by one guy who uses the table saw to rip the sheet goods. Then another guy uses the panel saw to cross cut and number the parts according to the cut list generated by Cabinet Vision. (One day soon we will invest in a CNC.) Then he uses the line borer to line bore all the sides and partitions. We have a face frame guy who rips all the wood down to the appropriate widths and then uses a dedicated digital upcut saw (sure beats the old way with the chop saw) to cut to the correct lengths. Then he uses the pocket hole machine to pocket hole all the rails. Then they are all marked and placed in a bend.
Now the cabinet builders will get all their parts together and take them back to their work station and glue, screw and staple the cabinet together. The nailers and stretchers are screwed in with square drive screws. They are lined up flush with the sides and the partitions are notched accordingly, then the backs are simply stapled on (no glue). The face frames are nailed on and then puttied with Famowood wood filler. The face frames are then sanded and the cabinets are lined up like they would be installed and set up for delivery by our installers (subcontractors).
We have 10 workers in our shop and we all get along and have a good time. The entire job cut list is generated by Cabinetvision and each person responsible for their particular job gets their own cut list (face frames, drawers, case work, etc.). The whole thing flows smoothly and if any mistakes are made, we know exactly where they occurred and they are corrected.
That's the way most every shop I have worked at does business. Not once have we had complaints on the 1/4" backs. If the designers or architects that were hired by the customer want 1/2" backs, then they get it (and pay accordingly). Otherwise, it's 1/4 as our main method.
I'm a one man shop, so any increase in material cost is quickly offset by time savings - and it really looks and feels like a solid cabinet when done (most of my work is remodels, so the homeowner sees the cabinet construction prior to countertop install).