American Woodworker

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Woodwork 

Winter 2013-2014

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Friday's Tip for March 21st

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Alright, this one's actually from our old Question & Answer department.

Clean Up Squeeze Out

Q. I saw one of those woodworking wizards on television the other day. As I watched the guy build a three-day project in 30 minutes, I noticed he washed off glue squeeze out with a wet cloth immediately after clamping. Won't the water weaken the glue joint?

Jon W. Von See

A. We went right to the folks who manufacture Tite-Bond glue to help us answer your question. Here's what we found out:

Don't try to rub the glue off with a wet rag. This will probably spread the glue around, water it down and sometimes force the diluted glue down into the joint. 

It's better to use a damp 3M Scotch-Brite pad or synthetic steel wool. Both pick up the glue without spreading it around. Keep the pad in a bowl of water while you glue up your boards. Then, hold the pad up by a corner so all the excess water drains out. Wipe the glue with the damp pad using short, rolling strokes. Use a clean part of the pad for each stroke. The rolling motion creates a scraping action that lifts the glue off the wood rather than rubbing it in. Refresh a glue-soaked pad by rinsing it out in water.

Stick with this method and you'll avoid any problems with forcing watery glue into the joint or the pores of the surrounding wood. And don't believe everything you see on TV!

My Take

There are a few key words in the first line of the answer; "wet", "probably" and "sometimes."  I've been using a DAMP rag for years with no problem weakening a joint. The technique described above makes sense whether you use a rag or a synthetic pad. I'm going to give the pad a trial period and see how it works for me.