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Posted on Disolving PVA glue?

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JBrow

1368 posts in 1524 days


#1 posted 02-15-2017 06:37 PM

Bill White,

A non-water resistant PVA glue can be softened with water. I have also heard that methylated spirits, acetone, and vinegar can also weaken and/or remove PVA glue.

I have not tried methylated spirits, but I have recovered from major glue-up blunder with PVA (indoor, i.e. non-water resistant) glue. I let the 6” long dado and tongue joint soak in a bucket of water for I think about 6 hours. That was enough for the glue to soften and joint to come apart. I observed some staining on the wood along the water line but the staining was easily removed with normal sanding. Since a lot of water can enter wood setting in a bucket, I do not necessary recommend my bucket approach; but if water can be kept in a joint long enough it should come apart.

I have tried acetone and vinegar to remove cured non-water resistant PVA glue from the surface of a walnut scrap. The scrap walnut was where I mixed some of my own wood filler with PVA glue and wood dust. This left a layer of clearly visible glue that had cured for at least a week on the surface.

I soaked a paper towel with acetone and rubbed across an area of the glue (as if hand sanding). Some glue was removed but it was a slow go. When I soaked a paper towel with white vinegar and then rubbed the glue spot I was surprised to see the glue disappear from the surface. My conclusion is that both acetone and vinegar are effective agents for removing non-water resistant PVA glue on an unfinished wood surface but white vinegar works faster. But then I am not sure whether it was the acetic acid dissolved in water (that mixture constitutes white vinegar) or simply the water in the vinegar that was the effective agent. Since I did not try plain water, plain water might be worth a first try. If you try plain water, distilled water would reduce the chances of any mineral staining problems that might otherwise emerge if tap water is used.

Probably obvious; any finish that was applied over the glue would have to be removed to expose the glue before water, acetone, or white vinegar would be effective.


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