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post #1 of 4 Old 09-22-2015, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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MDF Nontoxic Sealant

Hello. Wanted to know what type of nontoxic sealer people are using on MDF speaker cabinets. I've built a vented sub out of MDF, added some enamel flat black paint and now feel made the mistake of using spraying adhesive to glue in the foam fill. I used the product called 3M General Purpose 45 spray adhesive. The can says 65% VOC's and after applying following instructions, still caused some issues affecting my eyes and throat. In retrospect I should have never used something so toxic. I've since taken out the foam fill and allowing the box to off-gas for a few weeks in the garage.
Trying to keep the VOC's, formaldehyde and any other toxic gas out of the house as much as possible, at this point, what's the best solution to "seal" the MDF, paint and remaining adhesive? I've heard of several methods, shellac (buy the flakes and mix with alcohol), water diluted wood glue (50:50 mix or similar), commercially available product such as AFM Safecoat - Safe Seal, etc. What's the best performing, least toxic, cost effective product people have used for this purpose?
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post #2 of 4 Old 09-23-2015, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ben_mn View Post
Hello. Wanted to know what type of nontoxic sealer people are using on MDF speaker cabinets. I've built a vented sub out of MDF, added some enamel flat black paint and now feel made the mistake of using spraying adhesive to glue in the foam fill. I used the product called 3M General Purpose 45 spray adhesive. The can says 65% VOC's and after applying following instructions, still caused some issues affecting my eyes and throat. In retrospect I should have never used something so toxic. I've since taken out the foam fill and allowing the box to off-gas for a few weeks in the garage.
Trying to keep the VOC's, formaldehyde and any other toxic gas out of the house as much as possible, at this point, what's the best solution to "seal" the MDF, paint and remaining adhesive? I've heard of several methods, shellac (buy the flakes and mix with alcohol), water diluted wood glue (50:50 mix or similar), commercially available product such as AFM Safecoat - Safe Seal, etc. What's the best performing, least toxic, cost effective product people have used for this purpose?
Try spray shellac. Once dry it is safe.
It comes in aerosol form at Home Depot or Lowes. It is sold in pints or quarts if you want to brush or roll it on.
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post #3 of 4 Old 09-23-2015, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Try spray shellac. Once dry it is safe.
It comes in aerosol form at Home Depot or Lowes. It is sold in pints or quarts if you want to brush or roll it on.
Have you used this before with good results? Was thinking about buying the shellac flakes and dissolving in alcohol and apply with a foam brush. How effective is this sealing in the VOC's and toxic gas? I haven't been able to find any off gassing reduction test results with shellac. I'm leaning towards the commercial product since its designed for just this purpose. Wanted to find what others have used before on speaker cabinets.
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post #4 of 4 Old 08-17-2019, 08:25 AM
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@ben_mn Did you ever find a solution?

I realize this is an ancient thread, but I was looking to do the exact same thing and considering the same three products. I'm pretty sensitive to the formaldehyde that offgases from MDS. Looking for the best vapor sealer that itself will not offgas anything once dried. Not really that concerned about finish as this will be on a piece of MDF that is not exposed to sight.

I've actually tried AFM Safecoat before and was not impressed. I put on about three coats and it almost made the MDF smell worse when dried. Also it dries to a sticky finish if that matters.

I'm considering using diluted titebond 2 which is a PVA glue and apparently non-toxic or some form of shellac, I'm just not sure if either of these actually will seal in the formaldehyde and which shellac is the least likely to offgas after cured.

Any ideas?

Last edited by Viche; 08-17-2019 at 08:34 AM.
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formaldehyde , mdf , seal , subwoofer , voc

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