Applying finish before assembly of a small box...does the glue still work?

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Forum topic by ghazard posted 06-09-2009 03:20 PM 1593 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ghazard's profile


382 posts in 3537 days

06-09-2009 03:20 PM

I am into my box making phase…I keep reading posts about finishing BEFORE glue-up of the box. But surely if I apply danish oil and then a few coats of wipe on poly before I glue a joint this will decrease the effectiveness of the glue, right? Doesn’t the glue need to contact the wood itself?

As I am writing this it occurs to me that I don’t have to apply finish to the surfaces that will be joined. Huh…is that the answer? Just leave the glue-up surfaces clean and finish the rest?

One last question…if that is the answer…how careful do you have to be NOT to get finish on the glue-up surfaces?

Thanks for helping me through my thought process. :)


-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

3 replies so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3756 days

#1 posted 06-09-2009 03:39 PM

i noticed my tiebond 1 and 3 did not hold very well when there was danish oil on the parts. it should work if you keep enough of it clean, but danish oil penetrates so even if you tape it off, the oil will seep under the tape. I’m no expert, but that was my experience.

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3676 days

#2 posted 06-09-2009 04:01 PM

you got it right – use blue tape to cover the joinery areas – mortises, tenons, dovetails, box joints – the area where the glue will set (long grain) should NOT be finished. after you cover those areas with blue tape, you can finish the piece… take off the tape prior to glue up – and you should be all good to go

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

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3554 days

#3 posted 06-09-2009 04:08 PM

Just as PurpLev has said. I put at least one coat of finish on everything that I can except where I will be glueing, (I mask), because I am really messy with glue and glue stains are really hard to get off and out of wood fibers, (especially soft woods) and of course glue stains will ruin a finish…

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

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