Breaking Joints with Cured Yellow Glue

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Forum topic by langski93 posted 11-27-2015 06:25 PM 930 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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111 posts in 3457 days

11-27-2015 06:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: joinery drawers dovetails repairs disassemble yellow glue steaming steam iron

I had this drawer that was not fitting properly and decided it was worth trying to disassemble and reassemble before starting from scratch. I have never broke apart glue joints before and read about the freezing option and steaming option. I did not spend a lot of time looking, but these suggestions were all from second hand sources. From my own extensive research, including millions of dollars spent, I have concluded that steaming works really well on both thru and half blind dovetails. On the back of the drawer, I flooded the the joint with water and then put the steam iron to it. 5 minutes on the joint and it came right apart. On the front of the drawer with half-blinds, I did not flood the joint but just let the steam do its work and again about 5 minutes per joint. For those of you with a steam iron that has a “clean” button that flushes the vent holes with an extra burst of steam, it really produced lots of steam. As this technique is quite complicated and may intimidate some, I have included pictures. Safety devices have been removed for clarity only.

-- Langski, New Hampshire

6 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


3888 posts in 1792 days

#1 posted 11-27-2015 06:31 PM

Interesting. Thanks


View AlaskaGuy's profile


4205 posts in 2333 days

#2 posted 11-27-2015 07:28 PM

That’s the easy part. The hard part is cleaning the pva glue off the joint well enough to re-glue as PVA won’t stick to itself once cured.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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1430 posts in 1822 days

#3 posted 11-28-2015 02:02 AM

Thanks for post.Ive taken apart some old brown glue joints before with a hair dryer and wet cloth.I will keep the iron method in mind looks like your have a left and right handed iron.Does the iron have to be white? :)

-- Aj

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1176 days

#4 posted 11-28-2015 02:53 AM

I think and never have done with wood, but have read on M and T joints that are too loose use epoxy where wood glue will fill the gaps but add no strength, put epoxy will. Ao that maybe your clean up on yours.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

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5551 posts in 2290 days

#5 posted 11-28-2015 04:35 AM

Thanks for a great new tip. I’ll definitely remember that. I’ve used a wet cloth and an iron to raise dents like everyone else but never thought of this.

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111 posts in 3457 days

#6 posted 11-28-2015 05:32 AM

Aj2, the iron does not have to be white, but you raise a good point. You do need both a left and right handed iron as you will need to address both grain directions. Also, your angle of attack is key. You want to be standing perpendicular to the piece, that is to say “upright” with both feet on the floor. :)

I did my best to clean out cured glue before re-gluing, but I do like conifer’s idea about the strength and gap filling properties of epoxy.


-- Langski, New Hampshire

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