Cleaning up glue squeeze out

Whitfield

WT
User
Hi All,

So I just slapped a coat of finish on a maple tabletop, disclosing a horror show of ghost glue drabs. Sanded it down, tested the lines with denatured alcohol. Refinished. All's well. But it got me thinking: I probably need to refine my process on cleaning up squeeze-out. Obviously, there are lots of ways to skin that particular cat, so I thought it might be useful to the group if folks wanted to share their procedures. Thanks!

WT
 

Berta

Berta
Corporate Member
I put mineral spirits on the glue lines before finishing. It shows glue marks
 

Wiley's Woodworks

Wiley
Corporate Member
On all inside corners I run a Q-tip full of regular paste wax down the seam. When the glue is dry the squeeze out blobs chip right off with a chisel used carefully. Then wipe down the seams with a rag soaked in mineral spirits to remove the wax. This method doesn't allow any glue to penetrate the surface of the wood.

On outside faces or corners I scrape off the glue when it's fresh wet, then sand normally for final finish.
 

Charles Lent

Charley
Corporate Member
In both of the following cases, I wait until the glue has become slightly firm, about an hour for Titebond II.

A plastic soda straw pressed into the corner hard enough to shape it into the corner, and then pushed along will collect the excess glue squeeze out inside the straw. After each joint, I cut off the end of the straw with the glue in it and then use the remainder of the straw for the next joint.
On outside corners I use an old chisel pushed along to scrape up the glue and a wet rag to clean the glue off of the chisel.

Of course, you should be working hard to learn how much is too much glue so you can minimize the clean-up, but not starve the joint by using too little glue. .Some day I'll get this perfected.

Charley
 

gator

George
Corporate Member
Like Charley, I try for as little squeeze out as possible and wait for it to skim over. I then take a scraper or chisel and run it along the seam. Usually works for 99% of the squeeze out.
George
 

Whitfield

WT
User
And for what it's worth, denatured alcohol evaporates almost immediately, so there's virtually no waiting for the piece to dry before you can get back to work.
 

Joe Scharle

Joe
Corporate Member
Since I use sanding sealer (dewaxed shellac) on almost everything I make prior to glue up, when the glue firms up I flick it off with a chisel.
 

creasman

Board of Directors, Development Director
Jim
Staff member
Corporate Member
There are a lot of good suggestions here to solve a common problem. Probably the best is to minimize the amount of glue you need/use in the first place, thereby attacking the problem at the source. This saves on glue as well as cuts down on the amount of cleanup work needed afterwards.

It also depends on how the glue-up integrates into the overall project. In the photo below I'm gluing 1-1/2"x3" strips of hickory together for the top of my workbench. I intentionally used a lot of glue and gave it a few days to cure. I wanted every void filled and the top to be stable. Squeeze out didn't matter since I knew I would be running the final slab through the planer.

IMG_0983.JPG


In the next photo I'm gluing up two 9" wide cherry boards to make a table top. This time I care a lot more about the final look and controlling squeeze out. My goal is for the joint to "disappear". I don't like sanding and the glued top is too wide to go through my planer. This means spending more prep time to get a tight fit. I jointed the boards so they have a slight bow -- just enough to allow a sheet of paper to be inserted in the middle before they're clamped. With this approach a single clamp in the center is all that's needed. The two F-clamps are there just to align it while I place and tighten the bar clamp. Once clamped I run a putty knife across the joint to remove any squeeze out as soon as it's formed a skin. No mess, no fuss.

IMG_2237.JPG


Corners are harder to manage squeeze out. I like @Charles Lent use of a plastic soda straw and will have to give that a try. In the case of this spice box case I actually shellacked the inside first to prevent any squeeze out from sticking. I also used liquid hide glue so as to avoid stains later on the outside in case I missed some glue. With the shellac any excess glue just flakes off with a little effort.

IMG_2718.JPG
 

drw

Donn
Corporate Member
Jim, thank you for the pictures...your first pic illustrates an impressive clamping set-up!
 

creasman

Board of Directors, Development Director
Jim
Staff member
Corporate Member
your first pic illustrates an impressive clamping set-up!

Indeed! That took about all the clamps I own... which is why woodworkers always say you can never have too many clamps.
 

creasman

Board of Directors, Development Director
Jim
Staff member
Corporate Member
How long is the work bench?

The full top is about 84" x 30". The glue up shown in the previous post is for one of two sections. My planer can take boards up to about 13" in width so that was the max width of each section. The top is hickory with some walnut accents and then trimmed in pecan. Complete, I calculate that it weighs about 250 lbs. A lot of the time spent on this project centered around planning how to efficiently make the top (i.e., segment the construction process, manage the weight since I was doing most of it by myself, and end up with a truly flat surface). Here's a picture of the finished bench. Besides the face vise (shown) there is a wagon vise at the end of the row of bench dogs.

IMG_2251.jpg
 
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jfynyson

Jeremy
User
In both of the following cases, I wait until the glue has become slightly firm, about an hour for Titebond II.

A plastic soda straw pressed into the corner hard enough to shape it into the corner, and then pushed along will collect the excess glue squeeze out inside the straw. After each joint, I cut off the end of the straw with the glue in it and then use the remainder of the straw for the next joint.
On outside corners I use an old chisel pushed along to scrape up the glue and a wet rag to clean the glue off of the chisel.

Of course, you should be working hard to learn how much is too much glue so you can minimize the clean-up, but not starve the joint by using too little glue. .Some day I'll get this perfected.

Charley

I use the straw trick as well but cut the end at an angle and have found that the angled cut (or point that is created) is much easier to get all of the glue vs the rounded end of a straw. Can get into the tightest of corners this way too.
 

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