I use a new #11 Xacto knife blade to cut the tabs close to the cross. Cutting across the grain is a pain, but cutting with the grain is easy peazy. I pull up the brad nails using a 3/4" wood chisel to carefully pry the wood and plywood enough to lift the brad nails out using side cutters as a pry bar. When the MDF spoil board needs it, I fill the holes with wood filler and sand it smooth with a sanding block. Re-surface plane if/when needed, then roll on a few coats of polyurethane to seal the MDF from moisture again. I just need to drill 1/16" holes at locations in the project's material that won't be in the path of the cutters. Only takes a little time to measure and mark the locations, then drill the holes for brad nails. Unless the brad nails get bent too much, they are re-usable. Being made of soft steel, they don't do any serious damage to the larger carbide cutters if they get hit during cutting operations. Any scrap wood clamping blocks I use are held down to the spoil board with brad nails also. This spoil board has only been surface planed once since the machine was originally built and surface planed four or five years ago. 95% of my projects are built with this home built 3' x 4' machine. My 5' x 12' home built machine is mostly used as a work table. It was built for anything that won't fit on the smaller machine.