T Nut Despair - Irritating Failures

This evening, for the third time in a year, I’ve had a T nut failure - My wasteboard consists of two 3/4 mdf panels. The lower panel has t nuts recessed and well-seated on the bottom, on two inch centers. The upper panel, which is sacrificial over time, has corresponding 1/4 holes for my hold-down bolts.

I’m diligent in both vacuuming and blowing debris out of the holes, but I think sometimes there is residual left and I end up with a bolt that goes in rather easily but then seizes when I try to remove it and in order to free the workpiece I have to exert so much torque the t nut fails. I then have to disassemble all the way down to get the bolt out and either replace the tnut or construct an all new lower panel. This also happened the one time I tried threaded inserts rather than t nuts.

Anyone else had this problem and found a solution? I really like using bolts on a 2 inch center pattern rather than using t-track for hold downs.

I don’t know if this would work but would some sort of an anti-seize lubricant work? You likely wouldn’t want to use official automotive anti-seize as that stuff has a habit of getting on everything. But what about running the threads over some wax before inserting them?

I used the threaded inserts and have a couple spinners. If I was to do it over I’d put a couple drops of CA on before threading one in.

Replace the bottom MDF layer with hardwood plywood. MDF is poor at retaining fasteners.

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