Particle board heck

Submitted by csims on Sun, 12/18/2011 - 19:05

sorry for double posting this on facebook- I was late finding this forum:)
I'm attempting my first project, and feel like i'm floundering here. I'm making the cube bookshelf. I decided to use the 1x12 shelving for the price. I bought special screws for particle board. but, even with predrilling, the board crumbles every time. I thought to use glue and nails, but with practice I cant even drive a nail into this stuff! I have shopped for a nailer, but don't know what to get. They all seem to be pneumatic? Any advice?


Wed, 12/21/2011 - 08:53

The biggest problem you're facing is that particle board is a beast to work with. It won't nail, and glue is ineffective.

Since you've committed to using it, your best bet is to use a proper particle board screw. It's designed to grab and hold in this material. It's about the only thing that will hold, other than some specialized and expensive knockdown fasteners. Don't waste your time with nails or glue. They don't hold in particle board.

There are a couple of other tricks to successfully building with particle board:

1. Size the pilot holes correctly. The drill bit should be the same width as the shaft of the screw (the solid part beneath the threads). Particle board won't spread to accommodate the screw, as you've seen: it just crumbles.

2. You need to countersink the screws. Again, the material won't compress.

The happiest result will come from using either a good grade of plywood (i.e. not sold at a home center) or solid wood. 1x12 pine has some tricks to working with it though, first of which is that it tends to be warped, cupped or bowed. If you have the means to address that bowing though (planes or a jointer), solid wood will give you the lightest and strongest shelves, and the easiest experience with building.