Do you finish before gluing?

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Forum topic by Josh posted 06-07-2010 05:00 PM 2759 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Josh's profile


106 posts in 3224 days

06-07-2010 05:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip finishing joining

I’m working on a planter box for my wife and I’m at the point where I would join the four sides. I want to put a finish on it to help protect it from moisture from the soil and what not and so I’m trying to decide if I should apply that finish right now before I join everything (which would be easier then finishing after its completed) but I don’t know how that would affect glue.

If you finish something before you glue it does it compromise the ability of the glue to bond to the wood?

5 points to the best answer and an additional 2 points will be rewarded for recommendations on how to make the wood weather proof. Right now I just have stains and poly, will that be good enough?

First person to total 10,000,000 points wins a new delta planer :) Good luck

-- Josh, South Jordan Utah

13 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3779 days

#1 posted 06-07-2010 05:03 PM

Hey Josh
Yes I finish before assembly when possible but put some tape over the areas that will be glued for a better bond.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3276 days

#2 posted 06-07-2010 05:12 PM

The first answer is “depends on the project”.

On bigger furniture projects I usually finish before final assembly but, I often do some sub-assembly before finishing. I also tape areas that will be glued.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View drax0r's profile


18 posts in 3113 days

#3 posted 06-07-2010 05:25 PM

Often I’ll finish sub-assemblies before final assembly. I especially find myself finishing the bottoms of tables before I put the top on. It just seems to be so much easier to sand and stain when I have greater access to the surfaces.

If I’m doing slats on a table top I’ll at least put one coat of stain on the “sides” of the slats before I assemble, too. It’s so much easier to apply stain before doing so requires an artist brush to get between boards that are all but edge-joined.

I try to avoid getting any finishing products on joints that I’m going to glue. If I do, I’ll sand away any product.

I’ve been using Gorilla wood glue lately, which works best with water activation anyway, so I need a clean surface.

I’ve never tried gluing (with any glue) on a surface that had already been treated, but I don’t imagine that just staining it would have a great deal of effect on the glue performance. I suspect you’d have problems if the joint had varnish before glue tho. :)

View drax0r's profile


18 posts in 3113 days

#4 posted 06-07-2010 05:27 PM

Oh – for outdoor stuff:

I use Spar Urethane (like Helmsman) after staining on outdoor stuff (unless its cedar, which I tend to leave alone.)

View Josh's profile


106 posts in 3224 days

#5 posted 06-07-2010 05:38 PM

Thanks for all the quick replies

so far points are awarded thusly

a1jim: 5pts
richgreer: 5pts
drax0r: 7pts

Keep it up guys, you’re only a few million points away from a brand new planer.

-- Josh, South Jordan Utah

View Josh's profile


106 posts in 3224 days

#6 posted 06-07-2010 05:41 PM

One more question, lets say I use that spar urethane. If I just want to use the natural colors of the wood, do I need to apply any varnish or stain before the urethane?

-- Josh, South Jordan Utah

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3345 days

#7 posted 06-07-2010 06:15 PM

Let’s see if I can do this. This (if the pics come through) is a cedar garage door that some “painter” applied some unknown sealer onto, less than a year earlier. It was probably polyurethane, as I have seen something similar on other objects. After lots of sanding, I applied one coat of Spar Urethane, with no coloring. This door still looks like this, about 3 yrs later.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3345 days

#8 posted 06-07-2010 06:21 PM

By the way, tape glue up areas and finish away. How many points? I need a new planer! lol

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View CampD's profile


1732 posts in 3688 days

#9 posted 06-07-2010 06:28 PM

I’ll trade you 2,000,000 campd points for 1,000,000 josh points.

-- Doug...

View Stevinmarin's profile


838 posts in 3277 days

#10 posted 06-07-2010 06:43 PM

The only time I finish before assembly is if the joints are in some sort of tight spot where I won’t be able to easily get to with spray or a brush. Then, I will certainly mask off the areas to be glued. Glue won’t hold very well on anything other than bare wood.

Say, Josh Points aren’t anything like Itchy and Scrachy Dollars are they?

-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3682 days

#11 posted 06-08-2010 04:52 AM

I most often finish after glueing.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View stnich's profile


121 posts in 3126 days

#12 posted 06-08-2010 05:11 AM

For me it really depends on the wood, the project and the type of finish. I always try to prefinish panels in frame and panel construction. On projects where there are alot of directional changes and I’m using a heavily pigmented stain I generally try to prestain things to avoid lap marks. Any time I prestain I tape off areas that will be glued.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18390 posts in 3878 days

#13 posted 06-08-2010 07:18 AM

Use Log On to protect outdoors. You have to tape off the glue spots or the finish spots, so it doesn’t matter. Ya gotta tape no matter what you do. How many bonus points for pointing that out ?? :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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