Lessons Learned #3: Glue joint strength

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by sry posted 09-25-2008 04:41 PM 1155 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: RIP shop vac Part 3 of Lessons Learned series Part 4: Wax makes things not stick »

Over the summer, I finally decided to tackle the jungle/mosquito breeding ground behind my back fence that I inherited from the previous owners. About halfway through, one of the nice wood handles (oak I think) on my loppers snapped:

So being the good aspiring woodworker that I am, I glue them back together with basic yellow glue. A few weeks later I go back to finish up and the handle snaps again. This time though it snapped in a different place. Same handle, but the previous glue joint is intact. You can see it in this picture (looks like a dark grain line along the bottom)
Glue line

Although I think it’s time for some metal handled loppers now, I do think it’s very interesting that the same break didn’t fail twice. But then again that’s what I’ve been hearing all along, that a good long grain glue joint is actually stronger than the wood itself. The scientist in me is happy to have some supporting data.

Or maybe the real problem is that I’m just too strong for any handle to handle… :o)

Also, please excuse the rusty tool, it sat in the grass for a week or so after I decided it would be retired

6 comments so far

View fredf's profile


495 posts in 3732 days

#1 posted 09-25-2008 05:21 PM

Now if the handle had been made with grain at 90 degrees to where it is, like the other handle it would have lasted forever. when I buy a replacement handle for a hammer, sledge or what ever I sort through the replacements paying attention to the grain. Unfortunately in this world of mass production, they just don’t bother to align it correctly :-(

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4044 days

#2 posted 09-25-2008 06:18 PM

Can I ask if the loppers were made in China?


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View sry's profile


147 posts in 3630 days

#3 posted 09-25-2008 07:10 PM

Fred: great point, and something I didn’t notice at first

Bob: I’d assume that they’re made in china, based on the fact that I picked them up at home depot and they’re also available at walmart. But I don’t have the original tags or anything, so your guess is as good as mine.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4044 days

#4 posted 09-25-2008 07:31 PM

Steve, judging from the lack of attention to construction and the poor mortise and tenon ratio and lack of any ferrules it suggests it was designed for the landfill. That is becomming a hallmark of Chinese (or more fairly far east) manufacturing.
I hope you take it back.
That’s the only way you have to get the big box stores to listen to us.
Part of that value added service they are supposed to provide is to make sure that this junk doesn’t burn up the planets’ resources and fill up the landfills.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4099 days

#5 posted 09-26-2008 12:34 AM

if you are looking for one wicked set of loppers . . . check out these Fiskars PowerGear 31-1/2-Inch Bypass Loppers

We have had a set going on 5 years. They are tough.

-- BLOG -

View dsb1829's profile


367 posts in 3649 days

#6 posted 09-26-2008 11:23 PM

Yep, glue and long grain make a pretty reliable joint. I had a set of wooden parallel clamps crack on me. I went a bit overboard in reassembly, but I am sure it won’t be failing anywhere near the same place again.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics