Questions re: Glue ups

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Forum topic by Steve Kreins posted 02-04-2014 06:57 PM 1632 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Steve Kreins

358 posts in 1828 days

02-04-2014 06:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question glue ups

1. Any tips on good glue ups?
2. Is it possible to clamp too tight?
3. Minimum thickness for a glue up? ie. what is the thinnest dimension you would glue up edge to edge? and example might be, if I was using 1 1/2 square pieces for a cutting board I would expect strong bond, but if I were us 1 1/2 wide by 3/8 thick gluing the 3/8th to another 3/8th inch board wouldn’t be nearly as strong. How do I determine when a piece it just too thin?

I want strong bonding, but I don’t necessarily want to make a cutting board (for instance) 2” to 1 1/2” thick.

-- I thank God for everything, especially all of you!

21 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3846 days

#1 posted 02-04-2014 07:03 PM

the glue joint itself won’t be your weak point. it is very hard to over-squeeze a glue up, but some people say it is possible. think of it this way – when you tighten your clamps, once you see wood squeezes out of the joint, you should be OK – no need to try to squeeze beyond that point.

as for is there a minimum thickness – consider this, when doing veneering, people will edge glue 1/8” and thinner pieces together. so no – there is no limit here. if you are making a cutting board, and want to keep it thin – go for it, the glue joints won’t make or break that board. a thinner board would be more sensitive to moisture changes in the air though and would more easily cup/twist if not properly dried before hand.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5797 posts in 3010 days

#2 posted 02-04-2014 07:52 PM

For gluing up panels, I alternate clamps top and bottom for even pressure. Clamping cauls at either end keeps the panel flat during glueup. I only tighten enough to close the joints, because maximum clamping pressure can sometimes make a panel bow.

Minimum thickness for a table or nightstand top for me is 11/16”.
Minimum panel thickness for a frame and panel assembly is 1/2” (I usually glue 3/4” thick stock, and plane to 1/2”)

No biscuits on panels thinner than 3/4”.

The 8th picture of this blog shows the “I’s and O’s” method of making a flat panel. The original information was from Fine Woodworking Magazine.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View CrazeeTxn's profile


151 posts in 2147 days

#3 posted 02-04-2014 08:16 PM

Depending on how many panels you have to glue up, take your time and glue one edge at a time. This will make it easier to keep them as level as possible. Most glues will be setup after an hour if not sooner, so you’re only adding a little bit of time to your process. It will work out better in the end with not having to do alot of sanding.

Also, do a dry fit to make sure you have enough clamps and they’re ready to go when the glue hits the wood.

View Todd's profile


410 posts in 1874 days

#4 posted 02-04-2014 08:59 PM

My last glue-up I used some new 4-way clamps which kept each board even with the next. I still prefer to plane after I glue up but the 4-ways minimized the amount of planing I had to do. I’m with Pinto on the thickness.

Like Crazee said…DRY FIT!!!

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

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Mainiac Matt

8548 posts in 2526 days

#5 posted 02-04-2014 09:06 PM

my tips…

Don’t click on all the spam above.

1. yes, clamping too tight can squeeze out all the glue. You want to close the joint and give it another half turn or so.

2. Lay everything out and dry fit b4 you open your glue bottle. Then go through all the steps sequentially in you head. Have all you clamps, cawls, a coffee can full of water, sponge, rags, paper towels, wax paper (to prevent gluing your project to your bench) etc…. out and ready to go.

3. Use Tightbond III for a strong joint and longer open time.

4. Practice, practice, practice.

5. This is where you usually find out that you don’t have enough clamps.

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

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4760 posts in 2506 days

#6 posted 02-04-2014 09:14 PM

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Craftsman on the lake

2831 posts in 3635 days

#7 posted 02-04-2014 09:36 PM

i’ll put in my two cents here:

The straighter and smoother the wood at seam the better.
Apply glue to both edges.
Clamp evenly. If the seam is gapless then that’s pretty easy

When I glue a guitar top and back together it’s less than 1/8” thick. The joint won’t break at the seam even when that thin.
White or yellow wood glue both work well. Yellow glue is sandable. White glue just gets shiny when you sand it.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2558 days

#8 posted 02-04-2014 10:10 PM

1. Don’t over glue. Shoot for no squeezeout.

2. Don’t over clamp. Stop just before the clamp starts to bow.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View CharlesA's profile


3351 posts in 1995 days

#9 posted 02-04-2014 10:52 PM

I,highly recommend making cauls like these as demonstrated by highland woodworking.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2243 days

#10 posted 02-05-2014 01:28 AM

Can you squeeze all the glue out of a joint? Matthias posted a video about that question

-- paxorion

View waho6o9's profile


8516 posts in 2774 days

#11 posted 02-05-2014 02:27 AM

When gluing end grain, size your glue joint first.

Sizing is where you apply glue and let the glue wick up the end grain
and dry. After it’s cured and or dry, glue up as normal.

This also works on plywood joints as well.


View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2873 days

#12 posted 02-05-2014 02:59 AM

I suppose you could squeeze all the glue out of a joint. I suppose you could squeeze the wood until it combusts and burns up. I have never had this problem and I have applied a LOT of pressure to joints at time. I feel like it is never a good idea to pull joints together when gluing. They should fit together and you hold them together. If you don’t squeeze glue out, how do you know you got enough glue in the joint? I have often used too much glue and this isn’t a good idea either. I think you get a better joint when you apply glue to both sides of the joint. I have never glued guitars. I might someday but so far I haven’t gone there. I have glued 1/4 inch with good success. It is more difficult to keep thin stock flat.

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3429 days

#13 posted 02-05-2014 02:06 PM

I’d chime in here, but I am having some trouble with glue ups lately… Seems you can use too little glue… So I would say the advice for aiming for no squeeze out is at leat in my case, not helpful.

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View Bob Areddy's profile

Bob Areddy

193 posts in 3599 days

#14 posted 02-05-2014 06:20 PM

I load that sucker up with glue, squeeze the hell out of it, and let it fully dry before I scrape the excess.

I used to use biscuits but after seeing test after test showing the glue line isn’t your weak point, I rarely use them anymore. I use spring clamps that span the joint to hold them level.

It also makes it much easier if you have parallel bessy clamps.

-- --Bob

View KnickKnack's profile


1094 posts in 3764 days

#15 posted 02-05-2014 07:11 PM

What I do (I don’t recommend this as good practise, but it works for me) – as soon as everything is clamped in place, and I’m basically “done” and could walk away, I take a pretty blunt 8mm chisel (which I use only for this purpose), and I carefully scrape off as much glue as I can while it’s still not set – there’s a point where it’s gooey and actually quite a fun job. You need to take care not to spread it around, but I find it comes off, in small strips, pretty easily. There’s a lot less to remove later, when it’s a lot harder and messes with my scraper.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

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