Removing Glue from Inside of Miter Joints

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Forum topic by DerekW posted 10-13-2018 09:05 PM 583 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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32 posts in 544 days

10-13-2018 09:05 PM

I made a couple of boxes out of birdseye maple and, after cutting off the lids, was disappointed to find that I had significant glue squeeze out on the inside corners of the miter joints. I was thinking about scraping the glue off of the inside corners using a cabinet scraper with a not-so-aggressive 5 degree burr but, because I’ll be scraping across grain, I’m afraid of leaving unsightly scratches. I’ve also considered using a chisel to scrape off the glue but again, I’m afraid of scratching the surface. Any ideas on a way to get rid of the hardened glue? The interior dimensions of the box are 2” x 2” x 2”, so I don’t have a lot of room to work in. As a last resort, I can flock the inside of the box to hide the glue (or any scratches I make), but I’d prefer to leave the inside as raw wood. I plan to finish the box with Tried and Tru Danish Oil. Thanks in advance.

8 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3258 posts in 2858 days

#1 posted 10-13-2018 09:17 PM

Derek, I use a slightly dull chisel because I know of any better method. I’m afraid your box will be flocked.

-- Art

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4469 posts in 1989 days

#2 posted 10-13-2018 09:26 PM

I sometimes use a sharp knife or even a razor blade to carefully cut/scrape the glue out, especially if I cannot get a chisel in there.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1501 days

#3 posted 10-13-2018 09:44 PM

Chisel from both of the sides (going with the grain) into the corner. Move up the joint for each stroke.
Light taps.
Clean up with sandpaper.

View Rich's profile (online now)


5131 posts in 1191 days

#4 posted 10-13-2018 10:08 PM

I would try softening it. Some options are denatured alcohol, acetone and vinegar. Try putting tape wherever you need to form a dam and lay a small puddle down so the glue is submerged. It’s hard to say how long it might take, but I’d check it after five minutes or so to gauge the progress. Hopefully it will eventually come away cleanly with a light pass with a chisel.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Andre's profile


2994 posts in 2407 days

#5 posted 10-13-2018 10:45 PM

Trick I was shown, when doing final assembly to test clamp, rub down joints with a finishing wax.
( I use Chapmans ) then when glue is setting, after 30 min or so, just peel excess glue out, even after a couple of hours glue will peel out quite easily. To remove wax a quick rub with DNA or Shellac if that is what the finish will be
then apply whatever finish you want.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 1091 days

#6 posted 10-13-2018 10:49 PM

I’ve been able to take glue off with a plastic putty knife before. It doesn’t scratch the surface, although it can some indents, which aren’t normally noticeable, especially in a corner.

View splintergroup's profile


3194 posts in 1824 days

#7 posted 10-13-2018 10:57 PM

I use Andre’s idea with great success. Of course these are pre-dry/pre-glueup tricks. Another is to cut a coffee stirrer straw off at an angle and use it to scoop up the semi dried glue.

View shipwright's profile


8452 posts in 3399 days

#8 posted 10-14-2018 12:31 AM

Not much help on this box but if you were using hide glue, either hot or liquid, you would not be asking this question. It cleans up with water and does not block finish like pva.
If you are interested, check this blog series.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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