Glue Covered Problems Are Harder to Fix

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Fix your problems before they become glue covered problems. I have been saying this to new woodworkers and guitar makers for years. It only takes a few minutes to do a dry run before gluing something together. This will help you diagnose anything that needs to be fixed. If you catch something at this point, it’s much easier to fix.

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A dry run is just going through the clamping and gluing steps without applying glue. It’s a test run of sorts to see how everything fits.

glue covered problemsI realized my love for a dry run before gluing while making guitars. When you glue down the top, you need to make sure that the braces have clearance under the kerfing.

If you don’t, the top will not sit flat. This is important.

In the beginning, I thought I had the gaps right, and lathered the kerfing with wood glue. When I pressed the top on, I realized that a couple of the spots were wrong. 

At that point I had a huge glue mess to clean before I could address the fit.

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Had I done a dry run, I would have easily seen that the top still needed a little more fitting. It would have been far easier to address too.

Glue covered problems are tough to work with for a few reasons. First, you need to clean off the glue in most cases before you can fix the joint.

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Wood glue dries fairly quickly, so unless you can fix your problem in a minute or two, the glue needs to be removed. This is best done with a wet rag if you are using wood glue.

Second, glue tends to get everywhere when you run into a problem. This means extra sanding. It also means more work to get you back to where you were before you applied the glue. 

Next, when something is covered in glue, your clamps tend to disappear. If you do a dry run, you will know exactly how many clamps you need. It’s much easier to find more clamps during a dry run than try to find them while the glue is drying.

Lastly, glue residue under a finish will show in most cases. Even a super thin layer that you couldn’t see before finishing can end up showing through. In a case like this, you need to sand through the finish to remove the glue and finish the piece again.

When you are about to glue two pieces together, just try it without the glue first. Use the same clamps, the same area, and the same process. The only difference is not using glue. This will let you identify any potential problems.

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Once you see something that needs to be addressed, fix it. Once you have it all worked out, you will not have any glue covered problems to deal with.

If you have any questions about Glue Covered Problems are Harder to Fix, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends online. It helps me reach more new woodworkers and spread my love of the craft. Happy building.

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brian forbes westfarthing woodworks llc owner

  • 20 Years Experience in Woodworking
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