Dealing With Excess Glue Squeeze Out

by Dale on March 11, 2013

I think it’s true if you put five woodworking instructors in a room and asked them how they deal with glue squeeze out you would get 7 or 8 different opinions. That’s the creative mind at work!

The problem: if glue dries on a piece of wood and then removed without due consideration, when you finish there will be a light spot showing the tell tale glue mark. The glue must be either sanded or scraped completely away.

This can be a problem in woodworking because you want the best: No you want a perfect finish for the project. I recently read an article describing waxing the wood where the glue squeezes out was likely when the piece was dry-fitted and clamped tightly together. Next, glue the piece together with lots of glue. Then after the glue was dry you can easily pop the glue off. Next you have to clean the wax off with a solvent, like denatured alcohol. This was to be done everywhere it was waxed. As I read it seemed to be a much bigger task than necessary.

Here I would like to share my own solution for the same problem. When doing this task I try not to use so much glue. I usually put a fair amount of glue inside a mortise, but take extra care not to when applying glue to the tenon. Here needs just enough glue on the tenon to wet it, even wiping off any excess blobs or drips. Then assemble – clamp, usually there is no squeeze out. But occasionally, I will have some. I just get a paper towel, wet it with water, and with the use of it and a denture brush remove the squeeze out. Once all is dry I re-sand the raised grain.

This is much quicker than the waxing, scraping, removing the wax etc. I read about with the same excellent results. One of the secrets I have found in making my professional woodworking easier is the simplest way is usually the best.  As I was taught early in my career, while still employed with my father, was to learn the necessary details no matter how slowly and painfully, to make the project perfect, then learn to do it the fastest and safest way possible.

That’s why I am always reading about and listening to other woodworker’s, eager to learn from the best to the novice. Everyone develops their own strategy to accomplish the goal. So when I read about method and techniques within my profession my mind is open to learn. In this particular case; dealing with excessive glue squeeze out, it can be remedied in much less time and effort than published in famous magazines by the experts.

Share your woodworking tips and ideas with me on my FB Page or here. Look forward to hearing from you – The Cabinetmaker, Dale Barnard

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jim Holmes March 20, 2013 at 6:51 pm

The wet paper towel method is what I have used with the best results. The caveat is that if you use too much water on the paper towel, it can compromise the joint by seeping into the joint and weakening the glue (done that!). Dale taught me to use the denture brush which helps me keep the amount of water to a minimum.
By the way, how did the Limbert Double Oval Table class turn out? I’m anxious to hear if you had a good turn out…


Dale March 20, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Jim, we finished the class today and everybody happy, I’ve got all the patterns and I made one as well. Very interesting glue up, a wooden puzzle for sure! Your prototype served well The website had the teaching fee for 4 days , but we did it in 3. Thanks , Dale


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