How to Remove Glue From Wood

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This is How to remove Glue From Wood, and One Thing You Should Do Instead. Sometimes, even despite your best efforts, you’re going to have glue on your project that you need to get rid of. I’ll show you several easy methods and a big tip at the end. Enjoy.

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Removing Glue From Wood

How-to-Remove-Glue-From-WoodIt’s just a fact of woodworking that you are going to have to remove dried wood glue from your project before you apply finish. Even in cases where you aren’t finishing the project, removing excess glue is still a good idea.

Now, depending on how much, or where it is, there are a couple different things that you can do to remove the glue.

Thankfully they’re all pretty easy, and can get you back to bare wood quickly.

Coming up are four different ways to remove dried wood glue from your project. I’ll also show you when to use each one of them, so that way you can start with the least invasive method. This will mean less work, and less damage to your project.

See Also: 16 Awesome Reasons to Use Titebond Wood Glue

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Chisel the Big Chunks

If you clamped a bunch of pieces of wood together, and didn’t worry about the glue that squeezed out of the joint, you can have quite a bit to clean. In a case like this, one of your best friends is the chisel.

A well sharpened chisel removes glue from the surface of the wood very easily, and if you’re careful, you can do so without any damage. There is only one thing that you really have to pay extra attention to when chipping away chunks of dried glue.

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These little chunks of glue like to fly away very fast, and shatter. Make sure that you’re wearing eye protection when you’re doing this process. You won’t be able to react what a piece of glue flies in your eyes, so it’s good to keep your glasses on right from the start.

See Also: A Beginners Guide to Woodworking

Remove Glue With a Scraper

After you’re done with the chisel, or if you have kind of a moderate amount of glue on the surface, break out your cabinet scraper. A square scraper with a freshly burnished edge is perfect for quickly removing an average amount of glue.

Pay attention to your attack angle, because glue comes off the surface a little different than wood, and you’ll notice right away. Carefully take the wood off the surface without digging any unnecessary pits.

Watch the corners of your scraper to so that way you don’t accidentally create more damage than you were trying to remove. Wipe the surface often, and you should be able to remove the glue very quickly this way.

See Also: 19 Incredible Tips on Working With Wood Glue

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Sand the Surface

If you only have a small amount of wood glue that is dried on your project, the next least invasive way of removing it is to use sandpaper. I also recommend that you wrap that sandpaper around a flat block.

Sandpaper by itself is a grinding process. When you use your fingers behind a paper, and contours to the shape, and transfers that to the wood. Instead of grinding finger marks into the wood, use a flat sanding block.

This black will target the high spots on your project, which should be the glue. It will remove the glue first, leaving as much wood as possible behind. Again, this is best when you only have a small amount of glue residue, because glue is harder to sand than wood.

See Also: Glue Covered Problems Are Harder to Fix

Drum Sander or Thickness Planer

By far the easiest way to remove dried glue from your project, for example a cutting board, is to use a drum sander or thickness planer. These are purpose made tools that create flat surfaces almost effortlessly.

All you have to do is send your piece through the tool, and either the rotating knives of the thickness planer or the rotating drum of the sander will remove material from the surface. A few passes and you should be back to bare wood, with no glue.

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Neither of these tools are inexpensive, however if you are making a lot of projects that require you to spend hours chipping away at glue, and you are selling those projects, one of these tools should probably be high on your wish list.

The planer will be less expensive than the sander. It does require a little bit more finesse to use, but you can save a bit of money in the beginning.

See Also: 11 Killer Tips for Using a Wood Planer in Your Shop

What You Should do Instead

Now that we’ve covered all of the different ways to remove glue from wood, let’s discuss the obvious thing that you should be doing instead. Unless you enjoy the extra work, there is definitely a better way of handling this problem.

Instead of cleaning up dry glue after you make your joints, try cleaning up wet glue right after you get the clamps in place. This is a much better time to remove the glue, because it’s soaking wet, and comes up with a rag and hot water.

Get the rag nice and wet, and remember to rinse it out every once a while if you’re picking up a lot of glue. Wipe as much glue as possible off your project, and keep on coming back with a fresh rag.

The more glue you can remove now, the less you’ll have to deal with later. You may not even notice that you’re taking off a very fine layer of glue when you do your final sanding before finishing. That’s the way it should be, almost impossible to notice.

See Also: How to Save Money on Wood Glue

Your Action Assignment

Now that you know several different ways to remove glue from wood, and clean up your project before applying a finish, it’s time to get out into the shop and take action. The best thing to do, is just don’t let it happen in the first place.

However, if the bloom is already off the rose and you’ve got a glue covered project on your hands, take a look at how much is on the surface and decide where to start. If it’s a lot, then start with either the chisel or the cabinet scraper.

Make sure that they are razor sharp, and start chipping away at the glue. Once you get very close to the wood surface, finish with the scraper or a sanding block. As soon as you’re done, wipe the sweat from your brow and promise yourself that you’ll never do it again.

If you have any questions on removing wood glue from your project, please Post a Question in the Q&A Forum and I’ll be glad to help. Happy building.

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brian forbes westfarthing woodworks llc owner

  • 20 Years Experience in Woodworking
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