How to separate hot glue joints

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Forum topic by Albert posted 03-11-2013 01:31 AM 9096 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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542 posts in 4368 days

03-11-2013 01:31 AM

I am getting into turning and have several times seen instructions on temporarily attaching turnings by use of hot glue.
The problem is the instructions never cover how to separate the pieces after turning and clean up the residue. There are sometimes other glue joints in the vicinity so I am hesitant to use heat to remove it.
Any ideas? How do you-all temporarily attach turnings, (for example to a faceplate?

23 replies so far

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3454 days

#1 posted 03-11-2013 01:54 AM

When in school we would do this. In those days I never saw a chuck for a lathe so we used a flat faceplate with wood screwed to it. We used heavy paper glued to that wood then our stock to be turned on the other side of the paper. We clamped it and let it dry for a day. We cut it round on a band saw then turned it true. When we were finished we would slide a chisel between the bowl and the pine block splitting the paper. We never lost one and turned dozens of bowls. This was back when I was in high school. we were invincible at that age. LOL

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6069 posts in 3187 days

#2 posted 03-11-2013 02:03 AM

Take a lighter, or a small butane torch if you have one, and heat a dull butter knife then slip it through the joint. Hot knife through butter idea.

I am NOT responsible for you getting beaten with a frying pan because you stole a knife from the wife’s kitchen. (Laughing)

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View kdc68's profile


2987 posts in 3055 days

#3 posted 03-11-2013 02:05 AM

+1 Grampa....although I’d like to add “light” clamping pressure…otherwise the glue will (for lack of a better description) bleed through the paper and permanetly glue the two together…that was my learning experience

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

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3263 posts in 3454 days

#4 posted 03-11-2013 02:11 AM

Use heavy paper. You have to select the right paper. We never had that problem. We were using white Elmers glue in those days.

View kdc68's profile


2987 posts in 3055 days

#5 posted 03-11-2013 02:19 AM

Grandpa ...probably what I needed was heavier paper when I tried the technique for the first time…thanks for the clarification

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View RetiredCoastie's profile


999 posts in 3961 days

#6 posted 03-11-2013 02:19 AM

Paul for now if you can identify where the wood face-plate ends and the piece your turning begins you can part it off.

Heavy Plain printer paper is a good paper for face-plate turning. When your done turning with the face-plate you can separate the piece from the face-plate with a chisel. If you need some help call me. I’ll pm you my number.

-- Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2740 days

#7 posted 03-11-2013 02:36 AM

Assuming they are referring to hot hide glue, that’s kind of a standard old time thing, reversing hot hide glue. That’s probably why they assumed you knew how, since everyone used to. Like Michael said, heat basically does it, since you melt the glue in the first place. Various methods such as hot water, a hair dryer or heat gun or a heated putty knife or other blade work. Same methods for cleanup. The required temperature is something like 180, so not exactly boiling, but hotter than tap water.

For temporary turning attachment, we used also used white elmers glue on standard school paper and it worked pretty much every time I saw it in my shop class. I’m sure thicker paper and more careful application of a thin layer of glue would give more reliable results though.

View shipwright's profile


8562 posts in 3576 days

#8 posted 03-11-2013 02:53 AM

I’m not assuming you were referring to hot hide glue, but if you were, it takes BOTH heat and moisture to reverse it. Heat alone will get you nowhere. Cold water won’t do it either. If I were using HHG to do this, I’d definitely use paper in between. HHG is reversible but it’s not particularly easy.

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

View TheDane's profile


5823 posts in 4441 days

#9 posted 03-11-2013 03:13 AM

I don’t trust hot glue (from a hot glue gun), and would never use it to fix a bowl blank to sacrificial block or face plate.

I do, however, glue (using Titebond II or CA) blanks to sacrificial blocks. Some use paper of one sort or another, but I prefer just gluing the blank to the sacrificial bowl, then use a parting tool to set it free.

My waste blocks are almost always re-used … I just re-face them and set them aside for the next project.

I make my waste blocks as recommended by Captain Eddie Castelin … see: .

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Dusty56's profile


11859 posts in 4466 days

#10 posted 03-11-2013 03:14 AM

Good question and good answers. Thanks for future reference : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2740 days

#11 posted 03-11-2013 03:36 AM

Paul, I’d assumed you needed both heat and moisture, but I’ve seen many people claim to separate hot hide glue joints with just heated putty knives. Should’ve mentioned I had not tried it that way.

View foneman's profile


112 posts in 4873 days

#12 posted 03-11-2013 03:46 AM

I make my waste blocks as recommended by Capt Eddie in the link TheDane posted above. They work well for my segmented bowls and I use my hot glue gun to fasten them to the waste blocks. The first time I tried the hot glue and finished turning, I tried to hit the waste block with a mallet to release it and broke a small piece off the bottom of the bowl. Fortunately the bottom was thick enough that I was able to fix it. After that, I continue to use the hot glue and part-off the waste block. I was reluctant to use the hot glue initially, but not any more.


View Tsmutz's profile


9 posts in 2682 days

#13 posted 03-11-2013 07:06 AM

I’ve used hot glue to stick down wide cupped boards to a sled I ran through the planer ( jointer being too narrow).

Denatured alcohol takes it right off (the glue I used anyway).

View Albert's profile


542 posts in 4368 days

#14 posted 03-12-2013 01:55 PM

Thanks everyone, this gives me a bit more confidence to try a few things on my own.


View HorizontalMike's profile


7873 posts in 3692 days

#15 posted 03-12-2013 02:18 PM

WOW! I have been wasting my hardwood tote stock by not knowing about this trick. Cool! I was getting only two 2in knobs out of a 6in piece and can now get three. THAT is a 50% increase and less waste. Thanks for such a great tip!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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