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Thread: Question re: MDF Cabinet Repair

  1. #1

    Question Question re: MDF Cabinet Repair

    I'm looking for some suggestions for reattaching a door frame to the raw edge of an MDF board. I purchased this cabinet thinking I could fix it easily enough. The issue is that the staples used to attach the frame to the cabinet came apart from the MDF. None of the MDF is damaged, just pulled away from the frame.

    Any suggestions for a specific glue or other method of re-attaching this piece? I tried to link a couple of images but couldn't figure out how to rotate the pics.

    Thanks for any suggestions.
    Aimee
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    Good ol' yellow glue -- titebond, elmers, etc will bond to MDF or particle board. (From the pics, I think I see particle board.) If you haven't installed the cabinet yet, you should be able to use pipe clamps or the like to pull the wood to the particle board while the glue cures.

  3. #3
    What Jamie said. Remove as much of the old glue as possible with a scraper and sanding block, without damaging the mating surfaces.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    Good ol' yellow glue -- titebond, elmers, etc will bond to MDF or particle board. (From the pics, I think I see particle board.) If you haven't installed the cabinet yet, you should be able to use pipe clamps or the like to pull the wood to the particle board while the glue cures.
    Thanks Jamie,

    I have ZERO tools like pipe clamps. These 2 pieces were originally stapled together I think but obviously didn't hold. Would you recommend pulling the entire frame off the cabinet and glue the whole thing? I'm assuming that I need to get those staples out in order to fit the particle board back in the channel on the frame. I thought the particle board was MDF, lol. That's how much I know about this stuff.

    See additional photos....

    Thanks for your help!!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
    Hi Kevin,

    Luckily, no glue to scrape but plenty of staples to remove.

  6. #6
    It's hard to see exactly what happened. Is the box still in one piece and the face frame separated from it on one vertical edge? In any case, you will have to pull the staples. Maybe yo can clip them off with dikes or a cutoff wheel in a Dremel. You might be able to knock the joint back together with a mallet and block and re-staple or toe-screw it but clamps are what you really need.

    It's nice to see some real quality workmanship is still being done these days.
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 07-23-2021 at 1:50 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    It's hard to see exactly what happened. Is the box still in one piece and the face frame separated from it on one vertical edge? In any case, you will have to pull the staples. Maybe yo can clip them off with dikes or a cutoff wheel in a Dremel. You might be able to knock the joint back together with a mallet and block and re-staple or toe-screw it but clamps are what you really need.

    It's nice to see some real quality workmanship is still being done these days.

    Yes, the box is in one piece and the face frame has separated. That last line makes me laugh because I've never done any wood working and just trying to make something I purchased broken, work for me. It looks to me like an easy fix, yet to be seen, so I'm going to give it a shot. I think I'll try to remove the entire frame, remove all the staples and glue everything back together. I'm going to lay it on its back and see if I can maybe put weights on it to hold it together. If that doesn't look like it'll work, I'll have the clamps on hand.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimee Dutton View Post
    Yes, the box is in one piece and the face frame has separated. That last line makes me laugh because I've never done any wood working and just trying to make something I purchased broken, work for me. It looks to me like an easy fix, yet to be seen, so I'm going to give it a shot. I think I'll try to remove the entire frame, remove all the staples and glue everything back together. I'm going to lay it on its back and see if I can maybe put weights on it to hold it together. If that doesn't look like it'll work, I'll have the clamps on hand.
    Before you go to all that trouble look at the back side of the front frame where the staples are attached and the edge of where the staples pulled out. If either or both of those surfaces are covered in vinyl wood grain, wood glue is not going to stick to it. You would have to use something like Gorilla polyurethane glue, which can be messy if you aren't used to working with it.
    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 07-23-2021 at 7:56 PM.
    Lee Schierer
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  9. #9
    Lee makes a good point. Judging by the first set of photos both sides of the cabinet side panel are either plastic or finished veneer, thus not a good surface for wood glue. The best hope for a decent glue joint is between the panel edge and the bottom of the groove in the face frame, if that is not contaminated with finish, and you will have to pull those surfaces together or use a gap filling glue- construction adhesive might work. Or just rely on mechanical fasteners as the original maker did. You're not rebuilding a Steinway here.

  10. #10
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    Glue might work, but I would, if possible, reinforce the patch with lightweight L-brackets, or a wooden brace on the inside of the cabinet. I would also use Melamine glue from Rockler.

    It appears that the inside is accessible, and the braces should not show. As mentioned before, it's not fine furniture.


    EDIT: I would not be surprised if a local Creeker would loan a fellow contributor a few clamps.
    Last edited by Rick Potter; 07-24-2021 at 3:04 AM.
    Rick Potter

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  11. #11
    I don't know how to find members close to me.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimee Dutton View Post
    I don't know how to find members close to me.
    Post your location they will find you
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aimee Dutton View Post
    I don't know how to find members close to me.
    Just post a general area, you don't need to get specific.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Harms View Post
    Just post a general area, you don't need to get specific.
    For example, I am in (mostly) Columbus Ohio, as in the middle! :-)

  15. #15
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    Looks like it's going to need mechanical fasteners, screws.

    They could be exposed or as Rick suggests in some added metal.

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