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Thread: Clean glued joints

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Indianapolis, IN

    Clean glued joints

    Up until recently, I always glued and screwed everything I built: tables, shelves, boxes, outdoor chairs, etc. But, recently I decided to build a nice little box...10"x10" for my 1 year old son to store the poplar 2" letter blocks I made him. So I bought some 4" wide oak boards (never used oak before, only pine because I'm cheap), glued the edges to make an 8" board, and built a beautiful box with no screws or nails. 1 week later, it started to fall a part, piece by piece. Here's my question...

    1. How do you ensure a tight bond between the 2 pieces of wood? I've done this with pine plenty and never had problems, but this time I used a wood glue specifically for hard woods instead of the typical yellow wood glue. I also built the box in my garage (don't have a shop) and it was winter so the temp was probably around 45 degrees.

    2. How do you get all the run-off glue OFF your piece of work before it dries so that you can stain the wood without seeing the glue spots? For this box, I didn't clamp the pieces together as tight as I usually do because I was more worried about keeping excess glue off the wood (probably a bad idea in hind sight)

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    first off most glues dont work well in 45 degree weather.. also clamping is nessacary to get a good bond and the surfaces should be flat and mate well withone another..aas for the glue off try tape on each side of the joint or after it has almost dried, skinned over you can scrape it off and have very little to sand of.. you can wipe it off with a moist cloth but that can just put the glue in the grain more so i try to not do that..with practice you will find out how much glue to apply so as to not have alot of squezze out.. welcome to the forum and if you put your location in the profile you may have neighbor here
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    Is it the top that is coming apart? You have cross grain expansion issues and that may also be part of the equation. Undoubtedly, the cold has had an effect. Cold and dry has now met up with warm and more humid. Wood moves under those circumstance.

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

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    Carol Reed

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Indianapolis, IN
    The edges split open too, but I my joint method was just dumb...I should have used box joints I just haven't done it before and haven't made a jig for it yet.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    A picture of the failed joints would help us diagnose. Your "parquet" pattern top has a couple issues; end grain to long grain and alternate wood movement directions; not a good combination. I would either tongue and groove those joints and allow for movement or better yet, slice some veneer and glue to a substrate. For a child's box I would probably just use a single piece and call it good ;-) I am wondering about the " wood glue specifically for hard woods". I use yellow PVA glue (Titebond, whatever) for almost everything but, your temperature issue is clearly a violation of the instructions on most glue products that I have around the shop.

    It sounds 'smarty-pants' but the best cure for glue and stain is to make sure the glue doesn't get where you don't want it. Knowing that all of us manage this at one time or another (I just managed this last night) there are different camps as to removal methods. I have never had success with the damp rag method on a porous wood like oak; I just seem to smear it around and force it into the pores. I set a timer for 30 minutes (in the temperature range acceptable for the product) and then come back and use a sharp chisel to peel the now gummy consistency excess off. Dental picks and small card scrapers come in handy too when the glue is this consistency if it is in tight quarters. I also will pre-finish tight spots as the glue will peel off the finish if I get squeeze out and the final colorant evens things out. That's just me. YMMV.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    store your wood glue indoors during the cold months.
    gluing in 45 degree temps never gave me a problem as long as I didnt starve the joint. Excess squeeze ensures you didnt underglue.
    Human Test Dummy

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