What a mess!!

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Review by TraumaJacques posted 12-06-2008 06:00 PM 4346 views 1 time favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch
What a mess!! No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

It as gotten cold here in the great white north (Toronto Canada). I still am able to work in my non insulated shop but it is hard to keep it above 15 C for optimal gluing condition. I read that Gorilla glue as a much better tolerance for cold and since what I was working on was purely decorative and had no structural function I decided to try it. First I was shocked by the price 12.99 for a rather small bottle. Then I read the instruction which suggested wetting the surfaces before applying the glue. Now I am not a Pro but I do know that water on wood is rarely a good thing and I was worried about grain swelling. None the less I gave it a try it did bond well and rather fast but it left an awful mess both on my project and hands (I “was” wearing gloves thank god). The instruction did warn me that the glue may stain hands it did not however say that they will stay longer than my tattoos. I have tried everything in my shop, house and work and nothing will remove the brownish stains all over my hands. But this I can live with that. The fact that I will need to spend another week of scraping and sanding to recover my project bothers me. So will I use this product again? most certainly but “never” on a woodworking project and never without Kevlar reinforced rubber gloves.

If anyone has a gorilla glue remover please let me know. Have great holidays.

-- All bleeding will eventually stop.

View TraumaJacques's profile


433 posts in 4347 days

31 comments so far

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2659 posts in 4373 days

#1 posted 12-06-2008 07:06 PM

Try hide glue. It is quick and can be reworked and it will come off just about everything. It is applied hot so your shop temps should not bother it too much but you will have to work quickly. Titebond has a hide glue that does not need mixing and heating but I have not tried that one yet.

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

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 4611 days

#2 posted 12-06-2008 07:42 PM

Personally, I really like Gorilla glue, the problems you experienced are just the nature of the beast and are pretty minor. They can be solved with a good pair of gloves, or be really carefull, and masking around the edges of your glue joints, or a good sharp chisel. The worst thing you can do is try to wipe it off a prodject after glueing, just let it be and not smear it. Any glue can leave a mess on a prodject if your not smart about it. Be one with the glue Grasshopper.

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

541 posts in 4328 days

#3 posted 12-06-2008 08:19 PM

As far as removing the stains from your hands, try something like GoJo hand cleaner, and if you can get it with the pumis powder even better.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View Karson's profile (online now)


35225 posts in 5247 days

#4 posted 12-06-2008 10:35 PM

I’ve used Gorilla glue before and other glues like that. And yes they foam up. Use sparingly and keep your hands covered. I’ve never used water before. And it’s always found the water it needs in the air or the wood.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View SST's profile


790 posts in 5041 days

#5 posted 12-07-2008 12:31 AM

I tried Gorilla Glue once, and will never use it again. It was way more trouble than it was worth.There doesn’t seem to be any need for the product in woodworking, in my opinion. Fine Woodworking Mag did a test of most types of wood glues, and Gorilla Glue results were surprisingly poor in comparison with glues that were much easier to work with….oh well, as I said..just my opinion. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View romansfivefive's profile


302 posts in 4620 days

#6 posted 12-07-2008 01:09 AM

I really don’t like the mess it makes, but there are some jobs that it does so well, I can’t help but use it. glueing wood to other materials is always such a hit and miss task. I have tried glueing, plastic, steel, copper, leather with great results and concrete, abs, and vinyl with a little less luck. I just use it on items that can be sanded afterwards, because there is no controlling it once it starts to expand.

-- The CNC machine can either produce the work of art you imagined, or very decorative firewood.

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4615 days

#7 posted 12-07-2008 01:54 AM

yep what you are getting is pretty normal. gorilla glue expands when it sets and you want to scrape that off before it hardens. you also can’t get it on your hands! that stain will be with you for awhile. it does work well for many applications though. just have to take those precautions.

View DRdeveloper's profile


23 posts in 4312 days

#8 posted 12-07-2008 03:00 AM

I use a similar product here in the Dominican Republic… it works great. However, the only way to get it off your hands is with a pumice stone or sandpaper. Go get your wife’s manicure kit and get to work. The upside is that your hands will be very soft afterwards. I asked a manicurist about this and she told me sanding with a fine grit is good for your hands, as long as you don’t do it every day… removes callousses, dirt and dead skin cells… use some moisturizer afterwards.

-- Mark, Dominican Republic

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4061 posts in 4910 days

#9 posted 12-07-2008 03:52 AM

I love it when it’s a job that can benefit from it’s properties – especially in a cold shop. But the stains are a bear. Have on a pair of nitriles before even picking up the bottle. I find that it cleans up well while still setting if you use a cloth with Mineral Spirits (Paint Thinner). It works so much better in a cold shop than Titebond III does. At the low end of TB-III’s stated range I have gotten chalky, starved joints – and that was after storing the glue and the components in a heated home before trudging out to the shop to glue up.

It’s also nice if your dovetails aren’t so pristine, swelling to fill little errors and it will take a stain better than any PVA type glue will. I also rely on it to laminate thin woods without causing the swelling and warping I’ve encounter with TB-III.

I have also used the liquid hide glues (Franklin and Titebond) with good results. Gluelines pretty much disappear under clear coat finishes. It’s good to have all these types, and the CA glues on hand for their own particular best uses.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 4592 days

#10 posted 12-07-2008 04:33 AM

For getting the dang stuff off I use soap, water, and a green Scotchbrite pad, scrubbing till it almost bleeds.

As one of above stated it is good for joining dissimilar materials, like quarters to the sidewalk in front of a parking meter . . . but so is two part epoxy and it’s a lot less expensive.

Good old Titebond Two is always my go to glue. It is stronger than the wood. Done. What would be the oint of using anything “stronger”? GG has a lot of downsides, besides the skin staining issue. Some guys mistakenly believe that since it (foams) expands that it is good for filling gaps and loose fitting joints. Nothing could be further from the truth. When it is used in a less than optimal joint or glue up the voids have almost no shear strength, what you have is basically a foam filled catastrophe.

I kept my glues in a “warming box” when the temp got chilly when I lived up in Truckee, (I just moved downhill. . .) It was also big enough for the chargers for the cordless tools. I’ll post the details in a blog or something, if anyone is interested.

I have used Titebond hide glue and like it. In addition to being reversible it also doesn’t telegraph through finishes like TBII and other AR glues. But below about 50-55 deg/f. it turns to jello. Obviously if you use a glue pot and real hide glue you will not suffer this short coming.

View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 4932 days

#11 posted 12-07-2008 05:28 AM

I used GG and the Elmers clone. I will never use them again. I thought since it is labeled as waterproof it would work great for cutting boards. Don’t, of all the cutting boards I’ve made, those were the only ones to have the glue joints fail. One of the magazines also included them in their tests and they came way short on strength. I just can’t justify its use any longer. It also has a limited shelf life.

I love Titebond’s Liquid Hide glue. It works great. It will jell up if it gets cold but just bring it in the house and when it warms, it back to normal. I use it and Titebond III exclusively now.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View Jerry's profile


221 posts in 4385 days

#12 posted 12-07-2008 07:52 AM

I have run into the same pitfalls as mentioned above with the Gorilla Glue in the woodshop. I must say, there is a proper time and job for GG, but not in fine woodworking projects. Titebonds Liquid Hide works great and I very seldom use anything besides Titebond III. My two cents…....

-- Jerry - Rochester, MN *Whether you think you can or you can't, you are probably right* - Henry Ford

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4721 days

#13 posted 12-07-2008 01:24 PM

I use GG to glue the brass tubes into pen blanks. And that’s all I use it for.

View mmh's profile


3680 posts in 4569 days

#14 posted 12-07-2008 04:51 PM

I was disappointed by the holes the bubbles left in my tight joints as the directions said to moisten the wood especially if using hard tropical woods. I tried to fill the holes with more glue and that was not an easy task. The large bottle of Gorilla Glue also recently solidified as the cap is not airtight and when I try to squeeze out all of the air for it to seal it quickly fills up, telling me there’s not airtight seal. I had to throw almost a whole 16 oz bottle out as it’s a cylindrical rubberized bottle now. Anyone need a doorstopper that rolls?

I recently purchased a 2 oz. bottle hoping I could use it up quick enough before it solidifies but after reading this post as to it’s weakness, I’m considering taking it back. I also purchased a bottle of the Gorilla’s Wood Working Glue, it looks like the other brands, Elmer & Titebond and may have similar results. As long as it doesn’t bubble up, it should work, but maybe the New Kid on the block isn’t so great.

BTW: I always use a pair of disposable gloves when applying glue. Murphy’s law applies here.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View USCJeff's profile


1065 posts in 4915 days

#15 posted 12-07-2008 11:45 PM

I remember Fine Woodworking doing a couple glue reviews over the last year or so. I remember TBIII was the leader in most everything. I remember GG being the shock to them. They were shocked at the price versus the terrible results. All their tests were no wood, I believe.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

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