Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14

Thread: Cleaning up the squeeze out (and other tidbits)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Wapakoneta, OH

    Cleaning up the squeeze out (and other tidbits)

    I'm curious what other hobbyists do, since I suspect the answer might be very different for those sell their pieces. I'm building a bath vanity right now, one of the newer designs that look more like a table than a cabinet. Anyway, a lot of M&T joints and I had a fair amount of glue squeeze out. Not to bad to clean up, but I find myself skipping it in the areas that won't be seen, the inside of the joints and so on. Worse, I've used some less-than-perfect wood (this one is QSWO) and hid the knots and some other unsightly features (including some tear out I got from a hand plane). Heck, I even had one overly loose M&T joint, and I used epoxy to fill the gap! I feel so cheap! Anyway, am I the only one who does such subversive things? To me, I'm the only one who will know....and I'm not really that worried about it. But I do feel I'm violating the honor code of hand craftspersons/woodworkers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    I have a bookcase that was a carcass design prototype for a dresser. I thought it would end up on the burn pile and so have squeeze out that was not taken care of and other such nastiness. The prototype morphed into a bookcase and lives in my office where I swear I can see that hidden squeeze out via some perverse sort of X-Ray Vision every time I enter the room . Since living with that for a few years I try to follow many of the methods to control or prevent squeeze out whether the piece is a keeper or not. Practice makes perfect, right?

    I certainly do not hesitate to use a bad looking board surface on the inside of a unit where no one will ever see it. There are a lot of interesting figures I would miss out on if I were not willing to have a bad side on the back of a drawer's false front. The more interesting figure in a material often comes near or includes a defect of some kind. On the sloppy mortise I would laminate additional cheek material to the tenon and plane it back down for a good fit but, to each their own. We should be having some fun doing this. If a defect will torture you, work around it or don't use it. If it is a no-harm, no-foul scenario, rock on.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 10-28-2014 at 06:13 PM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    I like the way Jim Heavey put it when I sat for his class on cabinet assembly at The Woodworking Shows in Tampa earlier this year. He said the greatest failing we have as woodworkers is pointing out the warts on a piece we've built. We see them and it's almost that we want the world to see them. His take on it is to complete the piece, present it to the receiver and SHUT UP!

    Now, like Glenn, I take precautions on most pieces I build to minimize or capture squeeze out so it won't show after the fact. If appropriate, I use a wet sponge and/or toothbrush to clear away glue that squeezes out of a joint. And, I learned to SHUT UP and not talk too much!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Fred i think this point is something that impacts the financial viability of the small pro shop. If u go to a museum and take a look a some of the old pieces, they are NOT perfect to the extent we expect to achieve thesedays. They were handmade with handtools. They deliberately used cheaper lesser woods in areas not to be seen.
    I have for the longest time felt we deter others from the hobby by emphasizing a quest for perfection like that of a machinest toolmaker making a precision mold then expect that a customer pay for all this time and appreciate the effort they dont get to see the value in.
    Form, fit function and purpose should dominate. Imo.

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Cape Cod, Ma.
    imperfections before the presentation are like Edgar Allen Poe's "Telltale Heart"!!

    I never try to clean up squeazings while theyre wet. With yellow glues it often times serves only to work it further into the wood. And in corners or other tight spaces that translates into a royal pain to try and clean up when dry. Or worse, to see no evidence only to have it go off like a metal halide spotlight when stain hits it!
    The best Ive found is to work preventively in that department. Any glue that squeezes out (cannot be eliminated 100 percent) is extra glue that the joint didn't need (assuming you aren't the Hulk and over torqueing your clamps which sets a time bomb ticking for joint failure) Ive found using just enough to wet and have a little glue sitting on the surface, going back and lightly re wetting a long joint such as in a counter top glue up is sufficient. Making tops slightly over thicknessed allows for addressing any tear out. I will usually try to limit such glue ups to the end of the day when I wont need my bench then leaving them flat to dry overnight. Door panels don't always lend themselves to this practice due to the number of them glued at once but.... that goes back to limiting squeeze out. After the glue has dried I use a paint scraper followed by a sharp card scraper is all that is needed to clean up the joints then when final sanded any glue residue is gone and I rarely run into those "OH NO!" moments.
    We all have imperfections in our work and as you mentioned that occasional loose tenon. Nothing wrong with putting epoxy or some other structural filler in there provided the joint isn't too loose a 32nd to a 16th is fine for epoxy. greater than that then you may want to either remake the part or plane and sand down a shim and glue that in place.

    When I was out in the field trimming houses I always dreaded walking in on Monday morning and seeing My Friday afternoon work. And then Tuesday morning seeing what I did on Monday morning while angsting over my Friday afternoon work.... Funny the customers never noticed it but man I would look at it every time I walked by it.. And most times what we view as horrific is quite minor and never even noticed by the customer.

    I think that demonstrates a level of care and pride of craftsmanship that we all share and separates us from those who just want to get it done and move on...
    He who laughs last, thinks slowest

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Perfection is thee goal but not the end all. Navajo rug weavers always make an imperfection in there work

    to allow bad spirits to escape. I hate boo boos but they happen and most end users don't hardly notice.

    Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Arnold View Post
    ...If appropriate, I use a wet sponge and/or toothbrush to clear away glue that squeezes out of a joint. ...
    Lots of people call this heresy, but I followed Norm Abrams (New Yankee Workshop) for years, and that is what he did, and what I do.

    Finally I realized that with Titebond Original (not II or III), and with Borden's Carpenter Glue, and most of the generic PVA glues, that works fine - the glue is sufficiently water soluble that it cleans out of the pores as well as off the surface. If a glue fingerprint is discovered later, it can be washed off with water and a lot of elbow grease. But the water resistant versions of PVA are extremely hard to clean, if not impossible. This is one of the reasons I primarily use Borden's or Titebond Original.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    My process.

    Use enough glue but not too much.
    Let is bead or squeeze out.
    Check every 30 minutes or so until it turns rubbery. Good time to pick up and put things away in the shop! Even sweep!
    when rubbery, use a sharp Xacto knife and slice away the excess glue. If freeze glue runs out of the riubbery skin, wait s while longer. Just get it before it hardens all together.
    MAYbe a little extra attention will be needed. Dampen the surface. That will tell you if you have glue problems. You still have final sanding to do anyway, so no biggie.

    If you forget (and I do all too often) and it hardens, use a sharpened small paint scraper. Mine is about an inch wide. Best glue scraper I ever had. It is more robust than a card scraper on glue. The corners get in the corners, ya know? Use the card scraper to address messy wood fibers as necessary.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	small paint scraper.jpg 
Views:	9 
Size:	58.3 KB 
ID:	86941
    Last edited by Carol Reed; 10-30-2014 at 06:33 PM.

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

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Yorktown, Virginia
    If I don't want squeeze out on a surface, I mask it off with blue painters tape.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Calver View Post
    If I don't want squeeze out on a surface, I mask it off with blue painters tape.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

Similar Threads

  1. Removing glue squeeze-out???
    By Al Launier in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 04-19-2014, 11:32 PM
  2. Handling glue squeeze out.
    By Brent Dowell in forum General Woodworking Q&A
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 12-27-2012, 03:26 PM
  3. Glue squeeze out marks
    By Dietrich Trenner in forum General Woodworking Q&A
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-02-2009, 08:33 PM
  4. Squeeze Bulb Blower
    By glenn bradley in forum New Tools
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-19-2008, 05:33 AM
  5. Cleaning, cleaning, thinning out.....
    By Douglas Jones in forum Old Ads
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-24-2008, 09:59 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts