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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Union, NJ
    Posts
    168

    Default Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    I just wanted to relay my experience to all who care. I recently picked up a compressor with an 1 1/4 nailer for some trim work around the house. I had the bright idea that the nailer might take the place of clamps in box building. I figured if I nailed the glued joints as I went along, I would save alot of time as I wouldn't have to wait for glue to dry.

    The bottom line is that the nails simply do not pull the seams together adequately. I guess it could be passable in some situations, but for the typical over-builder(myself included) it was a no-go.

    Oh well. No wonder they say you never can have enough clamps.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    3,437

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    Yup, been there, done that, got the tee-shirt, ball cap, coffee mug, tattoo and the scars...I even tried the little crown staples...same results. Even a 2 1/2" finishing nail gun doesn't get a grip in MDF or edge plywood. "Clam(p)s got legs!"-"BC"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    i have had good results with mine. i just turn the air pressure up more than stock and i use 1" nails

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Manchester Mo
    Posts
    1,678

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    I imagine 1/ 1/4 inch brads in 3/4 inch MDF being a problem, but I've not had a problem with 2 inch brads in 3/4 inch MDF. I make sure they curl or "break" to the inside.

    Also I'm using clamps to tighten the joint together and the brads to hold it in place.

    Typical sequence is to glue, align, nail, then clamp, then move to the next piece until I'm out of room or clamps. Then it's 30 minutes for the glue to set (PL or Yellow) then pull the clamps and start again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    council bluffs iowa
    Posts
    7,361

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    sorry that happend. glue, clamp and nail, remove clamps, move on. works great with 18 gauge 1 1/2 brads. the brads dont replace clamps, just allows one to move on and not be afraid to handle the box..
    " And it's not just the end result -- nice speakers or a cool amp -- but the creative process that adds richness to my life; and an artistic outlet. A cool looking speaker qualifies as art in my book."
    Tom Zarbo, January 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by hongrn. Oct 2014
    Do you realize that being an American is like winning the biggest jackpot ever??

    http://www.midwestaudioclub.com/spot...owell-simpson/
    http://s413.photobucket.com/albums/pp216/arlis/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    3,500

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    I am on the positive side of brading. I've used brads in 1/2" MDF, Arauco, 3/4" MDF, all kinds of ply, no problem.

    I do as Arlis said, glue, clamp, brad every 6 inches or so. No problems. And I'm an overbuilder as well.
    HT: Denon 3311ci, Emo XPA-3 and UPA-2, QSC CX902
    Khanspires, Dayton RS Center, MarkK's RS225/28As
    Two Elemental Designs 19O's in 2.25 cubes sealed
    Four Elemental Designs 13Av.2 in 2.0 cubes sealed
    1300lbs of audio gear.........

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Prescott, AZ
    Posts
    1,979
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    I use 1-1/2" brads to keep things aligned and a few clamps for pressure. Can cut and glue up standard sorts of boxes in no time at all. Not too creative, but effective boxes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    4,640

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    I use brads + glue constantly. As long as I'm holding the joint tight as I'm nailing it, I've never had a problem. Honestly, once I got going with these, that was the last time I used my biscuit joiner... and about the only time I clamp a cabinet is when I can't hide the nail heads.

    I once shipped a sub cabinet (built with brads + glue) with a HiVi SP10 mounted in it. The package was jostled so much during shipping that the woofer frame sheared in half. The cabinet was fine, though
    No one is listening to your band. Maybe you should be LOUDER!

    Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
    Oh no, I'm tweeting now: @undefinition1

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    I just started using a 16 gauge pnuematic nail gun this past weekend to build an enclosure, with success. I was joining 1" MDF with 1 3/4" long braids (16 ga.), using Grizzly 90 degree alignment clamps just on the ends. I glued, fitted & end clamped, final fitted - tapping with a hammer, then nailed every 3". Excessive glue was effectively squeezed out of the joint, indicating a tight fit.

    Before the first actual joining with glue, I performed a trial test. I pneumatically nailed two pieces of 1" MDF together without glue. The 3" wide MDF boards were joined with brads about 3" apart. The nailed joint was very tight, with no movement when attempting to flex by hand.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Northern NJ
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    I built some tiny single-driver surround speakers with 1/2" MDF and glue+brads (1 1/2" i think?). Project itself was a disaster but i can't blame the brads. Wouldn't trust them to hold together anything with any size to it tho... i like the idea of holding panels together with the brads and then clamping on top. Have to give that a shot.

    Aside: I'm a huge proponent of safety goggles. I was installing some shoe molding a while back and the nailer head wasn't flush against the wood. Brad hit the round moulding at an angle, bent like a fish hook, bounced off the wall and hit me 1" below my eye. I was wearing goggles, but I shiver at the thought of what could have happened if i wasn't and things had gone slightly differently. Safety gear all the way - even when you think you don't need it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    near Rochester, NY
    Posts
    1,727

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Carmody View Post
    ...HiVi SP10 mounted in it. The package was jostled so much during shipping that the woofer frame sheared in half. The cabinet was fine, though
    You're the one! Got to remember that the next time someone asks about driver bracing...

    I've had good results with a simple rabbet on the edges, and a strap clamp. Glue, strap, align, clamp. No chance of leaks and ~50% more glue surface area in the joint.

    Have fun,
    Frank

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    341
    Blog Entries
    15

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    count me in the nail and glue camp... never a problem
    David

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Union, NJ
    Posts
    168

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    I guess there is hope after all.
    ]
    The real lesson learned is the simple fact that the nailer will not take the place of clamps. I was really hoping to see the excess glue squeeze out. That is the sure indication of a successful joint.

    Thanks, all for sharing your experiences!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    3,500

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    I will not use clamps once in a blue moon, but am pushing pretty hard, so soft woods get damaged.....
    HT: Denon 3311ci, Emo XPA-3 and UPA-2, QSC CX902
    Khanspires, Dayton RS Center, MarkK's RS225/28As
    Two Elemental Designs 19O's in 2.25 cubes sealed
    Four Elemental Designs 13Av.2 in 2.0 cubes sealed
    1300lbs of audio gear.........

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    council bluffs iowa
    Posts
    7,361

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    One tip. Somtimes a mail will poke put. I use dykes to lift it, cut it off and best in down with a ballpeen hammer. Then fill.
    " And it's not just the end result -- nice speakers or a cool amp -- but the creative process that adds richness to my life; and an artistic outlet. A cool looking speaker qualifies as art in my book."
    Tom Zarbo, January 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by hongrn. Oct 2014
    Do you realize that being an American is like winning the biggest jackpot ever??

    http://www.midwestaudioclub.com/spot...owell-simpson/
    http://s413.photobucket.com/albums/pp216/arlis/

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Londonderry, NH
    Posts
    1,635

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    I personally find that waiting 1.5 hours for some panels to dry is far less time consuming than having to Bondo over a bunch of brad holes. Waiting this small amount of time allows me patients to clean the workshop in between making a mess.
    TBII glue is hard in 1 hour, quite strong after 1.5 hours. I wouldnt plan on dropping the cabinet on the floor for atleast 6-8 hours though.
    I know clamps are rather expensive, but doing your best to have enough clamps for an entire tower cabinet is a good goal.
    I have used brad nails, but never had good luck using them without clamps- I always had to clamp-brad-wait 10 minutes for security-release.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    3,437

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    RO, same here. filling and sanding is a bigger pain than clamming. That's why I don't pre-drill and use glue-and-screws with a pin-clutch drywall gun (and fear of hitting a screw head with the router bit). Got a GREAT deal on a 1 1/2" radius round-over router bit mail-order, but it will only be used by me, anyways, in the router table. A 3 1/2" cutter is just too darn big to sling around "by hand". That's shaper sized. That thing's why I have a 3 1/2 HP VS router. I'll probably take at least four passes with it rather than try to "hog off" all the stock at once. Learned that lesson making raised panel doors.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Manchester Mo
    Posts
    1,678

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitneyville1 View Post
    Got a GREAT deal on a 1 1/2" radius round-over router bit mail-order,.
    Can you share the details on where you found the deal on the router bit?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    council bluffs iowa
    Posts
    7,361

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    yes please do.
    i recetly bout=ght a 1" bit that wont fit through the hole in either of my routers. hogged the whole thing in one pass and made a mess of the pl ywood.
    " And it's not just the end result -- nice speakers or a cool amp -- but the creative process that adds richness to my life; and an artistic outlet. A cool looking speaker qualifies as art in my book."
    Tom Zarbo, January 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by hongrn. Oct 2014
    Do you realize that being an American is like winning the biggest jackpot ever??

    http://www.midwestaudioclub.com/spot...owell-simpson/
    http://s413.photobucket.com/albums/pp216/arlis/

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Willowbrook Il
    Posts
    420

    Default Re: Lesson Learned-Brad Nailer, Wood Glue and MDF=Fail

    Quote Originally Posted by ROTECH View Post
    I personally find that waiting 1.5 hours for some panels to dry is far less time consuming than having to Bondo over a bunch of brad holes. Waiting this small amount of time allows me patients to clean the workshop in between making a mess.
    TBII glue is hard in 1 hour, quite strong after 1.5 hours. I wouldnt plan on dropping the cabinet on the floor for atleast 6-8 hours though.
    I know clamps are rather expensive, but doing your best to have enough clamps for an entire tower cabinet is a good goal.
    I have used brad nails, but never had good luck using them without clamps- I always had to clamp-brad-wait 10 minutes for security-release.
    Right On Rotech! Why fill all those holes. Instead of spending money on a nailer, buy more clamps! I like biscuits, but a good rabit is fine too! Nailers do have their place, but cleaning up and sucking on a beer, while watching glue dry, is kinda fun too. Mark

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