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Need a brad nail gun / how to build a cabinet

Discussion in 'Wood / Woodwork / Carpentry' started by dariusp, 13 Apr 2012.

  1. dariusp

    dariusp

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    I am currently taking on all the carpentry jobs in a house renovation I am having done. The last time I did 'proper' carpentry was 30 years ago in school, although I spent much of my 20's hungover on the sofa watching Norm on New Yankee Workshop on the Discovery Channel!

    So far I have built some fitted shelves and alcove units but I am now going to build some stand alone shelving units with integrated desk. The whole span is about 4m and this will be made up of individual cabinets about 42cm wide and 284cm high. The joins will then be covered with beading of some sort.

    I managed to download an episode of New Yankee Workshop with a similar project and am following that as a template. So each cabinet will have fixed shelves near the top and bottom dadoed (is that even a word) into the standards. The back will be rabbeted in.

    In the video, the shelves are glued into the dados and then held in place by toenailing brad nails. So my first question is can anyone provide a recommendation for a good electronic nail gun with which I will be able to achieve this toenailing. All the ones I have looked at seem to only be good for 90 degree nailing and I don't want to have to buy a whole compressor system. Or, is there a better/another way of doing this? Is the glue alone enough if clamped well enough?

    The second question is that Norm uses 3/4" ply for this job, could I get away with 3/4" MDF? (I know I should use metric and being from a scientific background, completely approve; however there is something about working with wood that makes me want to work in imperial :) )

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards

    Darius
     
  2. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Dados in the UK are mouldings to prevent chairs from marking the plasterwork - what you are talking about are called rabates here!

    The technique of cutting housings and rebates with a circular saw is common in the USA where they use trenching heads (dado heads in their terminology) but really doesn't get used here half as much. Rather than getting involved with something which requires a table saw ad trenching head plus a pinner there are simpler approaches. With MDF a tight butt joint can be made using black carcass screws or MDF Tite screws. The holes need to be pilot drilled and countersunk by a correctly-sized drill/countersink (clamp the two components together if possible whilst doing this) and the screws driven home with a cordless drill/driver. There are other techniques such as using 1 x 1in PAR softwood cleats to strengthen corners, etc
     
  3. dariusp

    dariusp

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    Many thanks for the advice and the correction in my terminology. I will look into the MDF Tite screws but would pocket holes also be suitable (I have used these on the projects I have completed so far, using a Kreg jig to make them.)

    Also, I was going to use a handheld router to make the rabbets rather than a table saw. I have done this for my other projects too (to route an edge rather than cut a groove) so I know I can do it, although it is a tiresome process.)
     
  4. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    MDF Tite and black phosphated carcass screws are pretty easy to find - even screwfix do them! I'm not keen on pocket hole screws for several reasons - for a start they make a weak joint, especially so in MDF and chipboard (seen and repaired enough broken kitchen units to know that first hand). They're really designed for use on plywood which is much stronger than MDF consequently they can and do blow out far too easily on the waeker materials to my mind. The other disadvantage is that to work properly they really need a special non-standard screw which is expensive. I know that you can use domed head sel tappers, etc but they aren't designed for the job and they lack the thread depth to give you the holding power you get with the right screws

    Goes quicker if you use a rebate cutter with a bearing - although for a decent size rebate in one pass a 1/2in router is a must. It still doesn't get away from the fact that a rebated joint in MDF has little or no strength advantage over a butted joint - it's just one more process to go through to make the joint IMHO and adds to the difficulty of setting out although it can make the job of locating the joint during assembly a bit easier. However a 1 x 1in softwood cleat will do that as well, with much less effort, although I do try to restrict their use to non-visible areas. What I'd bear in mind is that knock-it-out-with-a-nail-gun Norm's approach is particular to North America where the average DIY woodworker often has a table saw, dado (sic) heads are cheap, MDF is less widely available outside of the trade and plywood comes at a fraction of the price we pay here, primarily because they have massive forrests and build a lot of (cheap/quick/dirty) timber houses. What works for plywood isn't necessarily going to be as suitable for MDF
     
  5. Norcon

    Norcon

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    I made an american double chest a while back and used a trend pocket hole jig for a few of the fixings. Wonder what the pro's make of pocket hole jiggery and joinery? :mrgreen: I think Kreg make quite a good one too.
    Here's the NYW edition on the same project which I only came across recently...............
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO6LaMC1DKY


    Wish I had seen this sooner as I can see a few mistakes I made. :(
     
  6. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    I reckon Kreg make a far better one than the Trend which is more prone to wear (aluminium guides) - or at leat mine was. Don't like the 1-piece stepped drills - they break too easily if your cordless battery is getting low (moral: use a corded drill?). But worst of all I find the screws expensive and that they joints of MDF and chipboard are very weak (had to repair a few broken kitchen cabs where the guys on the bench simply hadn't put enough screws in, etc) - good for plywood, though. You can probably tell that I avoid them unless there is no option
     
  7. DIYnot Local

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