Screwed up Glue up

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Forum topic by rbterhune posted 09-29-2010 08:06 PM 2001 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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176 posts in 3245 days

09-29-2010 08:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question shop glue up

Have any of you ever completed all of the joinery on a piece, done a dry fit to see that all is perfect, and then lose the piece in a poor glue up because the glue set too fast for you to make everything right?

It just happened to me on a planer stand for my shop. Although it was just a planer cart I took great care witht he measurements and joinery as a practice excersise…I’m new to woodworking. I didn’t mess the fit up beyond use for my shop but if it were a furniture piece I would have to start over entirely…I essentially have a shelf that isn’t flush to the front on one of the sides and a back panel is fully seated.


34 replies so far

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3315 days

#1 posted 09-29-2010 08:27 PM

Yes. I read a post right here on LJs (as I recall) by one LJ who said he not only did dry fits, but actually practiced the complete glueup sequence until he could do it within a certain time limit, just so this wouldn’t happen.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Rick  Dennington's profile (online now)

Rick Dennington

5910 posts in 3218 days

#2 posted 09-29-2010 08:42 PM

Hey Brad,
Have you tried Titebond Extend? It will give you a few more minutes before setting up….. which is a big plus, especially if you have a big project… I used to use Titebond III (which I still do), but after trying the Extend and using it for a long time now, it’s my go-to glue….Give it a try…..

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View rbterhune's profile


176 posts in 3245 days

#3 posted 09-29-2010 08:44 PM

I used Titebond III for this project but it didn’t cut it for me. My biggest mistake was not asking for a helping hand.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3197 days

#4 posted 09-29-2010 08:48 PM

Sort of to jjohnston’s point … I read enough about glue-ups, before actually doing one, that I understood that ….

- everything must be RIGHT THERE, before you start
- you should have your clamps set up so that they are only slightly bigger than the width of the intended glue-up

And … I make a dry run—not just a dry fit. I sort of do a dress rehearsal, where I ensure that I know which edge (if it’s not going to be ALL edges) gets glue, which way it gets flipped, when I lay it back down (sometimes, I’ll mark that with an arrow, in pencil), etc., etc., etc.

I also

- determine—in advance—if I’ll be using/needing cauls, or if a few taps with a dead-blow hammer will git ‘er done
- figure out what—if anything—I’ll do to keep glue off the clamps (paraffin wax, painter’s tape, wax paper, donuts made from foam pipe insulation, etc.), and get THAT in place.

Like many things, and like most things woodworking (or auto body !), I’ve decided that glue-ups are about 95% preparation, and then—if that’s done right—the other 5% is pretty much a breeze.

Lately, I’ve gone without biscuits or dowels, for alignment/flattening. Mostly, that’s worked out okay. In one or two cases, though, I had to belt sand a touch more than I’d wished, but …..

So … yeah: prep is everything, with glue-ups …. IMHO.

-- -- Neil

View Adam's profile


46 posts in 3177 days

#5 posted 09-29-2010 09:00 PM

If it makes you feel any better I too am fairly new to woodworking, making a cart for my planer, using it as practice taking more time & care than needed for a shop piece, did a dry fit etc. When I glued it up I forgot to install the shelf that fit into some dadoes. Luckily I was able to fix it with a hammer and some cursing.

View lew's profile (online now)


12100 posts in 3779 days

#6 posted 09-29-2010 10:51 PM

I’m not new to woodworking and have had this happen, especially on complicated assemblies. I have started doing glue ups in stages, when possible to reduce the chances of this type of mistake.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View levan's profile


472 posts in 3003 days

#7 posted 09-29-2010 11:42 PM

I agree with Lew. If any way possible do it in sections. I guess I was always fortunate to have plenty of hands available if I started to run short of time.

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10526 posts in 3452 days

#8 posted 09-30-2010 12:40 AM

Don’t beat yourself up about it.
Of course, I have NEVER done anything like that, though. Ha!

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 2979 days

#9 posted 09-30-2010 01:10 AM

A dry fit is always a good idea … mostly to make sure that you haven’t effed up your joinery.

Might I also suggest that you do a bit of research on glues … there are other glues available than PVA that are probably better for a variety of reasons.

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


405 posts in 3045 days

#10 posted 09-30-2010 01:43 AM

I have screwed up plenty of glue ups. But I’ve also discovered it doesn’t have to be terminal. As crazy as this may sound, I can assure from personal screw-up experience that it works. Fill an aluminum baking tray with small stones, throw it in the oven and make them plenty hot. Scoop the hot stones into an old tube sock(s), tie it off, and place the sock(s) like a heat pad on as many sides around the glue joint as possible. As the heat soaks into the wood, it will soften the glue and allow you to pull it back apart. I’ve completed more than one “do over” using this technique and the completed project shows no signs of my mistake.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View rbterhune's profile


176 posts in 3245 days

#11 posted 09-30-2010 01:50 AM

I’m glad I’m not the only one who will admit to doing this. Although I know I shouldn’t beat myself up about it, it’s hard not to because everything was spot on when I did the dry fit. I really wanted a check in the success column for my first project, even if it was just a shop project.

With regard to glues, I thought the Titebond III would help, but I think I’ll look into the Extend, as my next project will actually be something worth putting in the house, I hope. I’ll also look into some of the other non-PVA glues to see what’s out there.

View Bradford's profile


1434 posts in 3846 days

#12 posted 09-30-2010 02:12 AM

From Titebond’s data sheet.
Titebond Original Glue = “Assembly time after glue application 5 minutes ”
Titebond II = “Total assembly time 10-15 minutes”
Titebond III = “Total ssembly time 20-25 minutes”
For all the rest..

Rockler has the whole line of glues. So your best bet is the EXTEND @

-- so much wood, so little time. Bradford. Wood-a-holics unanimous president

View rbterhune's profile


176 posts in 3245 days

#13 posted 09-30-2010 02:25 AM

Hmmm…why do I have a hard time with that Titebond III time? It was much less than that before my pieces were completely locked in place…swell maybe?...I was using plywood.

View ChuckV's profile


3123 posts in 3551 days

#14 posted 09-30-2010 02:47 AM

This from the TB III data sheet:

Open assembly time 10 minutes (70°F./50%RH)
Total assembly time 20-25 minutes (70°F./50%RH)

I am not sure what is meant by “Total assembly time”. But, in my experience, you can’t change your mind after 20 minutes.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View rbterhune's profile


176 posts in 3245 days

#15 posted 09-30-2010 02:58 AM

ChuckV…I went to their site after the link was posted earlier…I think it means that after parts have made contact you have several minutes of working time for adjustment. It’s probably true so I probably had some wood swelling to a point that it was difficult to move my parts.

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