Detecting Glue Residue

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Forum topic by Bernie posted 07-06-2011 06:16 AM 1699 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 3892 days

07-06-2011 06:16 AM

As I’ve posted on different posts and projects, I’ve noticed how most of us (myself included) have work methods we hold dear to our hearts. The list could go on forever like what joint is best for this or that? What tool is best for this or that cut? We are all so protective of our own methods we forget to consider posts which suggests alternative methods.

One common option offering 2 choices is how to detect dried up glue spots. Over the pasts few months, I’ve noticed 2 different options. Some folks use water and others use mineral spirits. I did an experiment on this and concluded that there is no difference. I smeared a piece of maple with glue, and drew a pencil mark down the middle. On the left, I used mineral spirits and on the right I used water, It was very difficult to see a difference.

So from now on – I will be using water. My reasoning? Besides the glue, I added a dent feature, That is to say, I
crushed the surface with a brad hammer on both sides of line. When the dust was lifted, the mineral spirit showed the glue marks just as well as the water side, but not better. The water side was just as effective in showing the glue marks, but unlike the mineral spirit, it poed out the dents.

So water is my choice!

I would love to see other myth busting experiments!

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

6 replies so far

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 4038 days

#1 posted 07-06-2011 02:52 PM

In as much as they both produce the same results in detecting glue residue, the water has a tendency to raise the grain in some woods requiring extra sanding as opposed to mineral spirits. I do use both choices as well depending on what wood I’m using or if I will be sanding the piece after the glue up.
In respect to using the water for raising the grain of a small indentation with heat. Denatured Alcohol works effectively as well. Here again the choice would be depending on the situation at the moment.

I do agree that we sometimes get caught up in a method of work and tend to overlook other methods of work to accomplish our goals.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Bertha's profile


13615 posts in 3748 days

#2 posted 07-06-2011 02:54 PM

Thanks for sharing this. Water it is!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5273 days

#3 posted 07-06-2011 04:45 PM

I just apply my final finish.

It’s a 100% foolproof method of finding any excess glue! :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 3892 days

#4 posted 07-07-2011 04:35 AM

Charlie and CR – you guys are funny. Greg, I know the water pulls fibers out, but that is a good feature. I worked with a master cabinet maker last year and he taught me the use and beauty of cabinet scarpers and “Whisking” your work. He sands with power tools using 100 – 120 – and 150 grit. After everything is done, he rubs his work with a damp cloth (dampens the wood, not soak it). This shows any flaws, plus it pulls up any loose wood fibers. You can actually feel whiskers on the wood. He hand sands these off with a light pass of 185 grit paper. He never goes higher then 185 grit paper. His work is superb.

His name is Marty and you can find him on the cover of the Jan 2007 Fine Woodworking magazine.

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View jackass's profile


350 posts in 4768 days

#5 posted 07-07-2011 05:01 AM

Interesting post Bernie.

-- Jack Keefe Shediac NB Canada

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5273 days

#6 posted 07-07-2011 05:06 AM

I’m going to have to give that method a try.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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