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15-Gauge Nail Strength/Weight-Bearing Potential?

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Forum topic by Jonathan posted 06-10-2013 05:22 PM 4111 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jonathan

2608 posts in 2515 days


06-10-2013 05:22 PM

I am wondering what the rough strength of a 15-gauge finishing nail is? How much weight can it bear? I am fixing one of our kitchen cabinets that has come apart. I am trying to make it stronger, and have added an additional crossmember on the back of the cabinet that will also act as a frech cleat. The MDF back pieces are 1/2”-thick, so I milled a piece of pine to 1/2”-thick as well and ripped it in half for the cleat and mating piece.

I’d like to drive a few 15-gauge finishing nails into the sides of the cabinet at the very back to refasten everything together. I am just wondering if the 15-gauge nails are going to be strong enough to accomplish this task? This cabinet is fairly large and typically holds about 40-pounds of items in it I’m guessing, plus the weight of the cabinet itself.

I thought about using screws (SPAX type), but I’m not sure that’s going to be any better, especially going into something that’s 1/2”-thick. I’d pre-drill those holes for the screws if I go that route.

What’s the best option here? The nails and screws wouldn’t really be visible because this cabinet is in a recess above the refrigerator, so the sides aren’t really visible.

Thanks in advance for any information here. I just want to do it right the first time because this cabinet is not the easiest thing to take down and put back up since it’s in a tight spot above the refrigerator.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."


9 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

8307 posts in 3112 days


#1 posted 06-10-2013 05:25 PM

They can bear a lot of weight. They have to be nailed
into something solid though.

It takes a lot for a nail to shear off, but it can be pulled
out by overloading sometimes.

View Jonathan's profile

Jonathan

2608 posts in 2515 days


#2 posted 06-10-2013 05:32 PM

Thanks Loren, that’s why I thought about using these essentially to hold the cabinet together, plus a bit of load bearing. I’m not worried about them coming out I was going to likely use either the 1-1/2” or the 1-3/4” length.

These nails are going to be hold the cabinet together. I’m going to use some large screws to secure the french cleat into the studs of the wall, then use some large screws to secure the cabinet up against the wall, and into the studs as well through the top and bottom MDF cross pieces.

I’d rather go overboard on strength/weight capacities than cut it close.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

3926 posts in 2708 days


#3 posted 06-10-2013 05:34 PM

Don’t rely on nails alone. Use an adhesive also. Make the cleat around 4” wide so you have more surface for glue.

View Jonathan's profile

Jonathan

2608 posts in 2515 days


#4 posted 06-10-2013 05:41 PM

Yes, I guess I forgot to mention that I was also going to glue this all together. The problem with the cleat in the middle is that it’ll only be glued to the thin back, so that’s why I wanted to make sure that attaching it through the rear sides would be enough.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2853 posts in 2695 days


#5 posted 06-10-2013 06:00 PM

Can you scab on a nailer on the inside of the cabinet in the back and have it attached to the cross piece. That would give some extra “meat” to nail into. Also, if you use some Liquid Nails construction adhesive, it should work great and provide extra strength for your joints.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2799 days


#6 posted 06-10-2013 06:01 PM

I like screws better. They are more precise and hold a lot better, plus they can be removed easily if necessary.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View crank49's profile

crank49

3981 posts in 2435 days


#7 posted 06-10-2013 06:51 PM

You will be, if I interpret your plan correctly, driving nails through the sides and into the new 1/2” thick cross member.
- 1/2” is a fairly thin target for a nail.
- you will be driving into end grain which has very poor holding ability, plus it may blow out if you are not perfectly centered.

A stronger joint would be to add a nailer, as suggested above by MT_Stringer. And it would be even stronger if you use screws instead of nails. (does that make it a screwer instead of a nailer?)

Alternately, could you make the cross piece 3/4” thick and use Kreg pocket screws to attach to the sides from the inside?

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2853 posts in 2695 days


#8 posted 06-10-2013 08:04 PM

Post a pic or three. Maybe they will jog our brains some more.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1297 posts in 1413 days


#9 posted 06-10-2013 08:27 PM

I don’t really think you are going to gain much because you are fastening to the end grain of a 1/2” cleat. I would be more inclined to screw some easy anchors behind the cleat and screw the cabinet to the anchors.

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