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I'm a newbee too so take my advice with a grain of salt. As for spreading glue I use small brushes that are sold in the plumbing section of Lowes. I'm not sure what they are supposed to be used for but they are about 4 inches long, silver in color and have short bristles.

As for the nail method you describe, I can remember my dad building cabnets when I as a kid doing that for the face of the door. He wanted a design on the front so he routed a piece of wood in a fancy shape and drove a few nails half way in, cut off the heads and sharpened the point then glued and pressed on the piece. That was over 20 years ago and they still are in place. (He also told me it took him a year to build those cabnets) If you want to spend a little money you can do it a lot easier by using a biscuit jointer. That's the way most people do it these days. I don't have one yet but it's on my list. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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