Gluing Process

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Forum topic by MsDebbieP posted 09-22-2011 12:02 PM 2230 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18615 posts in 2827 days

09-22-2011 12:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: glue tips tricks

Your gluing some wood together—but how much glue to use, how to make sure it does its job, and what to do about squeeze out: these are the questions!

  • what tips/tips/strategies do you have re: gluing?

(also add links to helpful blogs etc that are related to the topic)

Gateway to all Tips & Tricks Topics

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

17 replies so far

#1 posted 09-22-2011 01:06 PM

I always do a dry run on complicated glue-ups to make sure the assembly is being done in the proper order and the correct clamps are at hand. If it proves to be to difficult I break it down into stages.
I rarely use anything but Titebond III.
I spead the glue before assembly with a brush, a spreader or my finger. Counting on squeeze-out to do it is a mistake.
I like to use the technique of springing a joint ( jointing the boards so there’s a slight gap in ther middle of the assembly). It means a consistant edge to edge joint with having to use too many clamps.
When doing edge to edge joins I watch to see that the clamps are well aligned with the work so the boards aren’t sprung. Alternating clamps so there are clamps on the top and bottom of the work help to get this right.
When assembling case works, I use large shop built squares clamped in the corners to keep things striaght.
I keep heavy vinyl shower curtains to cover my work tables.
This point will generate some controversy, but I don’t believe in glue starved joints from too much pressure. If enough glue is properly applied, I believe strong clamp pressure will not squeeze out all the glue or anything like it. A thick glue line not only looks bad, but may weaken the joint.
Plan the work and work the plan. Don’t start without knowing what you intend to accomplish.


-- Will trade wife's yarn for tools.

View rance's profile


4135 posts in 1827 days

#2 posted 09-22-2011 02:31 PM

  • how much glue to use
    - If I don’t get squeeze out, then it ain’t enough.
  • how to make sure it does its job
    - If the last glue-up failed, I give the glue bottle a good scolding.
  • what to do about squeeze out
    - A quick swipe to prevent ‘glue boogers’, let the rest dry, plane it off


Definition: Glue Booger – /ˈgloo – bu:gɚ/

Noun – A glob of glue that started to drip but never finished before it dried or a lump of dried glue. (These glue boogers act as fulcrums on the bottom of a board that cause the board to Teeter Totter. This is undesirable when running a board through a planer or table saw.)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 2827 days

#3 posted 09-22-2011 02:36 PM

Don – thanks
rance, i was thinking “clamps” but scolding probably works as well :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View richgreer's profile


4524 posts in 1741 days

#4 posted 09-22-2011 03:11 PM

If I am gluing side grain to side grain, I only put glue on one surface. I spread it with a brush until I have it completely covered and covered well enough that I cannot see the wood through the glue.

I always get squeeze out. That’s okay. I use a damp paper towel to wipe off what I can. When the glue is dry, but not hard, I scrap glue off with a flush plane. Finally, sanding will remove any glue that is not where it is suppose to be.

If I am gluing end grain to side grain (which I try to avoid, but sometimes you have to) I apply glue to both surfaces, the end grain first. I give the glue a couple of minutes to soak into the end grain before I apply glue to the side grain and clamp up. When gluing end grain that butts up against side grain I like to reinforce the joint by drilling a couple of holes and driving dowels with glue into the joint. Been doing a lot of that on my latest project.

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

View rance's profile


4135 posts in 1827 days

#5 posted 09-22-2011 04:04 PM

Oh, and write the time of day on the piece being glued. It comes in handy later(I’ll not tell you why).

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 1650 days

#6 posted 09-22-2011 05:49 PM

I have to agree dry runs are a first step to seeing a good match up of joints, and how many and what type of clamps will be needed.
The amount of glue I use is enough to get good coverage and minimum squeeze out by applying a thin layer with a brush on one or both sides depending on the joint.
When gluing an end grain to cross grain joint. I like to make sure the end grain is sanded smooth to close up the end grain as much as possible. Then apply a thin layer of glue on the end grain and let dry to first seal the end grain before gluing.
For squeeze out I generally use a damp sponge to wipe off the excess with. When that’s not possible I use the back of a chisel to scrape off the squeeze out glue beads.
For large glue ups I like to leave them in the clamps for 24 hours and small glue ups for about 30-45 mins.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Grandpa's profile


3158 posts in 1342 days

#7 posted 09-22-2011 08:43 PM

I am with Gregn. The sooner I get the glue off the fewer problems I have. I have fewer problems with using a damp rag to wipe the glue off than I have with dried glue later. I was taught to do this in school many years ago. We always washed our glue off. If I am edge glueing boards then I will apply clamps and wash the top surface. I put clamps on the top and turn my glue up over. I remove the clamps one at a time to remove the glue under them. Care has to be taken to keep the clamps from touching the wood or you will have a deep dark stain. I like cauls. If the glue isn’t removed from under them of course they are permanent. Glue on both surfaces makes a stronger joint….but the squeeze out is considerable. If you don’t spread the glue then you have a partial joint that will be trying to hold things together.

#8 posted 09-22-2011 09:20 PM

Clear packing tape on the iron pipes will prevent the stain.


-- Will trade wife's yarn for tools.

View Michael1's profile


403 posts in 1326 days

#9 posted 09-23-2011 04:51 AM

I agree with Don on the packing tape on a bar clamp to prevent staining. If you are gluing up a large panel like I do allot for the bottoms of caskets at sometimes 30” wide, It is important to have the stock flat and to make sure it is flat I keep the stock tight against the bar of the clamps on both the upper and lower clamps. If I have allot of squeeze out I will wash off the glue with a wet rag. If washing the glue off, it is important that it be a damp rag. If it is dry it will only smear the glue into the wood giving problems that wont show up until the finishing stage. If it is too wet, the water can dilute the glue making for a weak joint. After some experience you get a feel for how much glue to use and I usually let the squeeze out sit and set up until “Gummy” and I scape it off with a putty knife, chisel card scraper etc. However, Don’t ever clean dried glue off by running the stock through the thickness planer as the hard glue will chip the cutter knives.

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

View Grumpy's profile


19479 posts in 2517 days

#10 posted 09-24-2011 12:57 AM

Much of the above good advice.
In addition I use anything that will do the job.
Cable ties are great for odd shaped items
As is the obligatory duct tape
Glad wrap (plastic food wrap) is good for preventing surface to surface adhesion.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

#11 posted 09-24-2011 01:42 AM

I also like to use cheap electrical tape for odd shapes that can’t be clamped.
Rubber bands do well.
Blocks on the bench and wedges also make excellent clamps.


-- Will trade wife's yarn for tools.

View maljr1980's profile


171 posts in 1122 days

#12 posted 09-25-2011 03:55 AM

put a biscuit on top of your work piece for the clamp to rest on that way it doesnt stain, or scratch the surface when you tighten it

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 2827 days

#13 posted 10-25-2011 07:59 PM

I saw this blog re: “avoiding “modern glues to future issues with repairs. The bloggers suggests using hide glues.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View tr33surg3on's profile


21 posts in 1091 days

#14 posted 10-25-2011 08:10 PM

I like drawing a cabinetmaker's triangle on the work during the dry run so the glue doesn’t do the right job in the wrong place.

-- Tim -- Tools to make tools to's tools all the way down.

#15 posted 10-25-2011 08:17 PM

I repair or restore a very great number of old pieces of furniture. The trouble is, I don’t know whether it was made with hide glue in the first place, whether it was subsequently repaired with another kind of glue and if so, what kind it was.

New hide glue doesn’t work any better over old modern glue than modern glue does over hide glue.

The issue is avoided by removing the old glue before regluing. I often use a scraper on the exposed tenons and drills or chisels in the mortises/borings. If it’s a poor fit after that, then plugging and redrilling is the way I go.

Titebond III on wood (not old glues) is as good as any I have ever used.


-- Will trade wife's yarn for tools.

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