How to remove glue from wood

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Written By AB Williams

Welcome! My name is AB Williams. Wood working is my passion.It became my passion after I’d finished college. Since then I’ve gained strong knowledge and skill set of woodworking and wood finishing.





Wood glues are very frequently used in woodwork stations since they are essential for joining different wood components. The wood glues vary in regard to their types and hence their adhesiveness. A wood glue with the strong binding is often preferred since it tends to do the job without multiple applications. Many wood types of glue producing companies have high-quality products which are all preferred by the customers; however, each product tends to vary in regard to its composition. One of the best glues for wood is the Gorilla wood glue, which is a traditional PVA glue. The Gorilla wood glue is not only famous among the small-scale woodworkers but is also used by large wood stations. The composition of the glue allows it to have an extremely strong binding capability, with a short drying time and easy to use mechanism. 

Since wood glues are an essential component in woodworks, accidents with them are also fairly common. In many scenarios, the wood glue gets spilt on the wood pieces, it is applied in the wrong place and hence needs to be removed. Removing glue from a piece of wood can prove to be extremely difficult. If the glue is removed while it is still wet, it causes a mess since it is tacky and sticky. The glue tends to stick to other pieces of wood as well, causing the work to be increased. Hence, it is always suggested to allow the glue to dry completely before attempting to remove it. The major concern faced by many woodworkers is that the glue tends to get extremely stiff and hard, once it is fully dry, making the removal process even more difficult.

Methods for removing glue:

Specific methods need to be employed while removing the glue from the wood because harsh ways can cause the wood piece to be damaged as well. 

Method 1: Scrape the Glue

The easiest method to remove the glue is to scrape the glue from the wood piece. In order to do this, use a knife or a sharp blade to scrape the glue from the wood while ensuring that the wood is not being damaged. To allow easy removal of the glue, heat the glue using a hairdryer. The temperature increase causes the glue to be dislodged quickly hence allowing the scrapping and peeling of the glue to be easier. This is the traditional method of removing glue and is often found to be effective, however in case the glue is hidden between two pieces of wood and is not accessible by the razor or knife, this method would not work. In such cases, the other methodologies are effective and preferred.

Method 2: Using acetone

Acetone is an organic compound which is often used in households and laboratories. The formula of this compound makes it suitable for removing glue from wood. Dampening a cotton swab with acetone and applying it on the glue, causes the glue to be removed within seconds. Acetone tends to dissolve the adhesive present in the glue causing the glue to lose its binding capability. This causes the glue to be dislodged from the piece of wood. Although acetone is usually used as a glue removal solvent, however, it is also used to clean the wood after the glue is scraped off. This ensures that there is no adhesive left on the wood. 

Alcohol swabs also tend to fulfil the purpose in case acetone is not available. Although acetone and alcohol vary in their formula however, both are able to serve the same purpose. In the case of alcohol swabs, the glue needs to be exposed to the swab for a longer time period.

Method 3: Sanding the glue

The method of sanding the glue is the least preferred method since it tends to cause the wood to be damaged. Although, this method is more likely to damage the wood, however, this is a very effective method and is able to remove even large globs of glue very easily. After choosing the sandpaper, fold it into half and gently begin sanding the glue. The glue must be sanded gently until the adhesive is completely gone, however, in order to prevent over sanding of the surface it is important to check the progress periodically. After the glue is completely removed, polish the roughed surface to ensure that the wood has an even finish.

Wood glue accidents and removals are not only restricted to large woodwork stations, but can also occur at a small, household level as well. These methods are simple to implement and have very quick results. They can be employed even in a household situation since they require minimum equipment and expertise. 

Here you will find Best Glue for Wood


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