Do you use salt for glue-ups?

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Forum topic by lumberjuniorvarsity posted 04-24-2016 07:52 PM 1181 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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76 posts in 399 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


1694 posts in 1821 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

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4893 posts in 1715 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.

-- Pay heed all who enter: Beware of "the Phog" Rock Chalk, Jayhawk

View Dark_Lightning's profile


2644 posts in 2613 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


1069 posts in 2194 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


810 posts in 2265 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!

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Bill White

4484 posts in 3464 days

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

I use sand, not salt.


View Underdog's profile


937 posts in 1539 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


864 posts in 2479 days

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

On the rim of a glass while glue dries :)

View oldnovice's profile


5797 posts in 2872 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


189 posts in 330 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 639 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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