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Thread: Removing glue stains from corners-best method?

  1. #1

    Removing glue stains from corners-best method?

    What is everyones preferred method of removing glue stains from corners or inside edges? I have never found a good method. Even after taping up the joints and carefully removing the tape, I find that there is a bit of residue in the corners that dries and leaves a discolored area.

    In the attached photos of a walnut dresser I am working on, I pretaped all of the joints and used acetone to flash off any of the epoxy residue, and Im still getting some glue marks. Its almost impossible to sand into an edge like that and not get cross grain scratches. I picked up the festool dts 400 hoping that the triangular pad would get in there, and it helps but it seems like it doesnt get it all. Any ideas how to tackle this and avoid it for future projects?

    IMG_7157.jpgIMG_7158.jpg

  2. #2
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    Iíve found that mostly the nature of using epoxy with a exposed glue line. I use the west system with the slow hardener when there no chance of it showing. For instance a mortise and tenon joint.
    But never ever long grain glue joints.
    Good Luck
    Aj

  3. #3
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    Sean I find that exact same discoloration so often when I use epoxy glue.
    No matter how well I rinse down any squeeze-out, the wood is always discolored by the epoxy.
    If I can't safely sand and area I use a card scraper or scrape it with a shape chisel, neither ideal.

  4. #4
    Epoxy does tend to wick into end grain, no getting around it unless you pre-seal the end grain. Pre-finishing the surfaces around the joint will keep any glue from adhering, and excess glue can be popped out of the corner with a sharp chisel. Cleaning up with a solvent may affect the finish, depending. Epoxy can be cleaned up with vinegar, alcohol and acetone, probably other substances as well that I haven't tried. A toothbrush helps.

    I would get after the corners shown here with a sharp card scraper and sticky back sandpaper on a beveled block worked with the grain direction.
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 05-27-2021 at 6:35 AM.

  5. #5
    I use WEST epoxy for all gluing and have found that removing the squeeze-out DRY, first, then using some acetone, last, minimizes the staining. I first remove the greatest amount using a putty knife and then small bits of paper towel, always wiping in such a way as to not spread the contamination.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  6. #6
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    Finish before glue. Makes it all so much simpler, but it will require a change in the way you work.

    To remove glue I use a 2" bench chisel. Way better than a putty knife or scraper or even that fancy new green sander.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Moore View Post
    What is everyones preferred method of removing glue stains from corners or inside edges? I have never found a good method. Even after taping up the joints and carefully removing the tape, I find that there is a bit of residue in the corners that dries and leaves a discolored area.
    IMG_7157.jpgIMG_7158.jpg
    I learned from somewhere a neat trick for removing semi-dried glue in corners: A regular drinking straw. Bend the tip into a "v" and run along the edge. Gets into the cracks just as well as a scraper, and the hollow straw channels the glue away, instead of smearing it.

  8. #8
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    The straw method works quite well. Just press the end of a plastic straw into the corner at about the angle that you would hold a chisel. Press it into the corner just enough to deform the end of it into the corner shape and then push it along and it will collect almost all of the "still wet" glue. Of course, learning to use just the right amount of glue during assembly is better, but very difficult to achieve. I've been doing this for probably 20 years or more.

    If you are like me (cheap), wasting straws for this will get to you, so keep a pair of scissors handy and clip off the end just past where you can see the glue in it, and you have a new, clean, but shorter straw to use again. I do throw them away when too short to hang onto.

    Charley

  9. #9
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    Not sure if it will work for epoxy, haven't tried it, but I have found a blunt chisel to work very well for PVA glue residue removal. I am amazed at the uses for a blunt chisel since seeing a link a few months ago and trying it. Paring away small amounts on tenons or half laps is very easy, and I even use it to smooth sharp inside curve areas on bandsaw boxes. Even working across grain, carefully, removing glue residue works quite well.
    Doug

  10. #10
    Why epoxy?
    Try using type 1 2 or 3 PVA. Wait 3-5 minutes, 10 max, slide a scraper/chisel on areas of squeeze-out and you're done. If you forget, and have a stubborn spot that cured overnight, chisel parallel to grain from each direction, and offending lump will pop-off with minimal stain underneath. Light amount of color with Mohawk brush-tip touch up marker after seal coat.
    Epoxy, as others have stated, appears to be wicking into end grain, due to extended open(wet) time. You cannot remove that which has wicked fully into the fibers at the depth shown.

    Jeff

  11. #11
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    I use a 3/4" bench chisel like a scraper to remove glue. If there is a bead left, chisel it off first then scrape by pulling backwards.

  12. #12
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    The first question I'd ask, as someone already did, is why not use regular wood glues? Titebond has a variety of glues, from their standard original glue to waterproof and extended assembly time glues. All would be much easier to remove residue than epoxy and, unless there is some reason the piece will get excessive stress, will work sufficiently well to give you the result you desire. Plus, they are much easier to use - no mixing for one.

    The suggestion of finishing first was already given. That is one of the best ways to permit removal of residue without any absorption into the wood.

    Michael Fortune suggests a product called Waxilit for covering the adjacent areas next to glue joints to prevent glue residue from sticking. The product is a little hard to find on the internet but I've tried it and it does work to some extent. However, his recommendation relates to PVA glue residue and I don't know if it will work for epoxy.

    Sometimes taping along joints with blue masking tape can work, but it's tedious and not foolproof.

    The other suggestion relates to how glue is applied and the amount of glue used. Excessive glue causes a lot of squeeze-out. Also with mortise and tenon joints, the main holding power comes from the contact surfaces on the mortise and tenon so applying glue on surfaces other than that only increases holding power marginally and just ends up with more squeeze-out. When assembling mortise and tenon joints, wiping excess glue which squeezes out when assembling can decrease residue also.

    All these suggestions are for regular wood glues and I don't know whether they will work for epoxy. I have found epoxy complicated to use for cabinets and furniture and don't use it for almost any of my woodworking because the Titebonds (and other brands) work just as well.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    I use a 3/4" bench chisel like a scraper to remove glue. If there is a bead left, chisel it off first then scrape by pulling backwards.
    I do this. I never wipe with a wet rag . I also have a straight and angled carving chisel to get into tight spaces.

  14. #14
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    I also bought a small tool from Woodpeckers which uses a 4-sided carbide cutter (like the square cutters on carbide insert turning tools). It works well on regular wood glue but I don't know if it would also work with epoxy.

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