Gluing Aluminum Strips to MDF

Craftsmen who have tried various adhesives to attach metal to panel goods report their experiences. August 12, 2007

I'm looking to glue aluminum strips to the edge of a project using 3/4" MDF. I wish to finish the edge with strips of 3/4" (width) aluminum, and do not wish to use screws or have anything showing. Can it be done, and what kind of adhesive should I use?

Forum Responses
(Adhesive Forum)
From contributor L:
I would do a test and see if epoxy would work. Scuff the back of the alum with 60-80 grit and glue it to some scraps.

From contributor C:
I have done a similar application recently. I used regular Weld-wood's solvent based (small can from Home Depot). I glued a 14" x 24" piece of particleboard. It was high density particleboard. I used that glue because I use water base for my lam and that was cheap and easy to go get. Scuffed the back with 80 grit and finished the surface with 320 grit. Actually, I don't think it was aluminum; I think it was thin galvanized metal. Hope you have a lot of flush trim bits! No problem at all with the adhesion.

From contributor B:
We did this on a project using Formica's Decometal strips; they are aluminum. We ran it through the edgebanger using a high performance glue (Dorus 205). The glue alone didn't hold well; we had to prime the strips first with Dorus' edgebanding primer. Using that process, we had to use pliers to try to remove the strips, and it was taking big chunks of particleboard with it.

From contributor R:
Chem-metal and companies like Formica have aluminum laminates. See what they are using. Another option is to use T type molding and secure with screws underneath and/or laminate something over the screws. We've done T type stuff with stainless and brass and had a barbed T secured with epoxy.

From contributor E:
We've been gluing quite a bit of aluminum to MDF recently. We tried epoxy, panel adhesive and PVA. The latter, CP's MPA 2, held the best. In all cases the glue side of the aluminum was belt sanded and cleaned with a solvent. Only the PVA caused the MDF to separate under stress. Both the epoxy and the panel adhesives failed at the glue line.