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Forum topic by JustinH posted 12-17-2008 05:30 AM 9456 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JustinH's profile


2 posts in 3714 days

12-17-2008 05:30 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

So I had the desire to make my 2 year old a doll house for Christmas. I’m making it out of 1/4” MDF that has a natural finish to it. I’ve got all the pieces cut out and ready to attach together. I was going to use #17 wire brands to build it but they were too big and were splitting the wood. So I bought some #18 wire brands and they were still splitting the wood. I drew a straight line at the halfway point of the mdf to make sure I was centered but it still split it. The only #19 wire brands I can find are only 5/8”. Before I spend any more money can someone tell me the secret of nailing MDF or offer a better solution to build this? There are no special joints just a 1/4” MDF piece butting up to a big piece. Is there a glue that would work?

Only 9 days to go and I still need to paint this.

Any ideas.

11 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3914 days

#1 posted 12-17-2008 05:34 AM

MDF is too dense to take fasteners into the edge without
splitting. You can mill 3/8” square sticks and glue those to
the edges of the MDF to increase gluing area and also give
you something to nail into.

MDF glues much better if you rough-up the face of the board
with sandpaper so the glue can soak in. Spill water on
the face of an MDF board and it won’t soak in for quite
awhile – same with glue.

View JustinH's profile


2 posts in 3714 days

#2 posted 12-17-2008 05:42 AM

Is there a better material than MDF? Should I use plywood or something else that is 1/4”?

View lew's profile


12552 posts in 4022 days

#3 posted 12-17-2008 05:44 AM

Looks like the perfect excuse to buy a pin nailer!

Try here

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View KnotWright's profile


258 posts in 3754 days

#4 posted 12-17-2008 06:00 AM

I use my Senco wire stapler, Model SFW10 with 5/8” staples to shoot 1/4 material all the time. I’ve got a part-time student that takes all my scrap 1/4 material and turns it into birdhouses. He uses glue, and then shoots a few staples to hold things together. The staples are small enough just a dab of drywall compound or wood filler hides em.

Although if I could afford one of those nice NEW PC pin nailers like “lew” suggested I would opt for that, even less of a hole and can get longer pins too.

Gorilla glue is now making a fast tack wood glue, water clean up, its been doing a pretty good job for me, on my first bottle of it. You might try using Blue painters tape to hold the joint till the glue sets up instead of nailing it, just don’t let the blue tape stay on too long (more than a day) or it could take some of your MDF with it.

-- James

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4141 days

#5 posted 12-17-2008 06:01 AM

I have that pin nailer, and love it. You are still going to have to glue, I think. Nailing into the edge of 1/4” ply might be a little better – less blow-out, but I don’t know how well the nails will hold. I’d go for corner blocks.

-- -- --

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4160 days

#6 posted 12-17-2008 06:50 AM

hot melt glue

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 4082 days

#7 posted 12-17-2008 02:12 PM

Pin nailer would be best for the job. Campbell-hausfeld makes one now, fairly cheap. I think $100. And definitely glue first, as the pins will most certainly pull out with alittle playtime (the wire is quite smooth.) Make sure you file them down when you find shiners….when they stick up they scratch and cut your fingers real easy.

Most modelers I know use superglue and Zap (accelerator.) I’ve used alot of CA, but, just started recently using the accelerant. I sold.

I personally have never used hotmelt except for temporary holding. (We used to call it the gift that keeps on giving….don’t know which is worse on your fingers….CA or hot-melt.)

I think CA and Zap would have the benefit of putting it together, like, right now, no waiting, etc. Git-r-done and start the fun painting. I think….that is….I think I would trust the CA without pins. R/C plane builders use it by the bucket full and it always holds much longer than the plane lasts. (kaboom!)

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View Steelmum's profile


355 posts in 4229 days

#8 posted 12-17-2008 03:52 PM

MDF is different. Glue wood to the edge and your problems are solved. It will also be a design accent.

-- Berta in NC

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 3793 days

#9 posted 12-17-2008 04:57 PM

Yup, unless you go with a different type of wood or wood product CA and a 23 ga pinner should work.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Karson's profile


35157 posts in 4667 days

#10 posted 12-19-2008 05:39 AM

I’m building a horse stable and I’m using 1/4” baltic birch plywood. But all of the corners have 1/2 X 1/2” glue blocks. I’m not using any nails or brads.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5167 posts in 4227 days

#11 posted 12-19-2008 06:50 PM

23 ga. pin nailer and glue.


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