Do you use salt for glue-ups?

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Forum topic by lumberjuniorvarsity posted 04-24-2016 07:52 PM 1051 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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61 posts in 316 days

04-24-2016 07:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: trick tip

I was just watching a show on TV (‘A Craftsman’s Legacy’ on PBS), and the woodworker sprinkled a few grains of salt on his glued up board before clamping them together. He explained that the salt grains keep the boards from sliding as you increase clamping pressure.

Makes sense to me, but I had never heard of it, nor could I find a discussion about it on this site.

So I’m posting this question to see if anyone does this and has tips on how to do it correctly, and also to potentially save others heartache when they see their glue-ups go wonky.

11 replies so far

View JAAune's profile


1614 posts in 1738 days

#1 posted 04-24-2016 07:58 PM

I’d take that tip with a grain of salt.

Never tried it but it’s possible it would perform the stated function. A test on scrap before attempting a real joint would be advisable. Personally, I don’t have much problem with boards sliding. I just use multiple clamps and gradually increase the pressure and everything stays put.

-- See my work at and

View JayT's profile


4681 posts in 1632 days

#2 posted 04-24-2016 10:53 PM

I have done it a few times in the past. It does help to keep the two pieces from sliding, but have never really tested a joint to see if there are any adverse effects. Used that trick on a couple Krenov style handplanes I built that needed to keep things very precisely lined up.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View Dark_Lightning's profile


2620 posts in 2530 days

#3 posted 04-25-2016 12:44 AM

Never used salt. I will use blocking to control any sliding. Once the clamps are tight, the blocking can come out. That or pin nails to control the sliding (if the project allows for pin nails- i.e., you won’t see them when finished).

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Julian's profile


1010 posts in 2112 days

#4 posted 04-25-2016 02:45 PM

I have tried it a couple of times when I had a difficult glue up on angled pieces. It worked surprisingly well. I only added the smallest amount of salt I. I have read this somewhere other than the TV show you mentioned.

-- Julian

View Planeman40's profile


788 posts in 2182 days

#5 posted 04-25-2016 03:52 PM

Interesting! I never thought of using salt this way. I have often imbeded very short pieces of small straight pins in the to-be-glued surfaces to keep them from sliding while trying to clamp. I may give salt a try.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4408 posts in 3382 days

#6 posted 04-25-2016 06:03 PM

I use sand, not salt.


View Underdog's profile


879 posts in 1457 days

#7 posted 04-25-2016 07:23 PM

I’ve tried the cut off pins trick, and heard about the sand, but never heard of using salt.
I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, unless it degraded the glue somehow.

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View hotbyte's profile


826 posts in 2397 days

#8 posted 04-25-2016 07:25 PM

On the rim of a glass while glue dries :)

View oldnovice's profile


5654 posts in 2789 days

#9 posted 04-26-2016 12:52 AM

I do what underdog does because I want to keep my projects on a salt free diet!
I just wonder what effect, if any, this has on the glue itself?

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Aidan1211's profile


188 posts in 247 days

#10 posted 04-26-2016 12:09 PM

Try pinch dogs on the ends. Then nothing slips and you don’t have to introduce something that you aren’t sure chemically if they meld well with modern glues. Never had anything wonder when I beat a couple of those things in the end. They’re pretty cheap too! Couple of bucks a piece.


-- its better to plan on the task at hand than actually doing it........ You look smarter.

View DaGentooBoy's profile


5 posts in 557 days

#11 posted 04-26-2016 01:21 PM

I use the 4-way panel clamps to do my big panel glue ups.

I would be really concerned with what the salt would do to the strength of the glue up. A friend of mine always said to use dowels to keep everything aligned. With the strength of modern glue I never really saw the point in dowels.

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