When do you cleanup your glueup?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Hambone, Aug 28, 2002.

  1. I've just recently completed a couple of lamination jobs and body glue-ups but since I don't have the experience yet, both got me to wondering.

    When do you clean up the excess glue? With clamps everywhere, I decided to just let the ooze dry and take care of it afterward but the additional work to remove it got a bit tiring. Would it be better to wipe things down while it's still workable? I am afraid of smearing too much into the pores of the wood and having trouble with the oil finishes that I dearly love.
  2. dhuffguitars

    dhuffguitars Luthier/Bass Wanker depending on your opinion

    Sep 18, 2001
    A little trick I learned from Wishvensky.... :D

    Seriously, it all depends on the job at hand. On the one described, was the body already cut and you were adding a new top? More details would help, but if that was the case I have taped off around the laminationd seam with masking tape and let the glue dry on it. Then pull the tape afterward.
  3. The first job was both a body halve attachment and a top lamination in ash. The second was, get this, a breadboard layup of 1" wide walnut strips to make a back that measured 1¼" thick. Don't laugh :) I did it as an experiment to turn a 1" board into something thicker. It worked well. By matching the grain colors (now quartersawn) you can barely see any difference across the entire blank. This had a LOT of glue lines. It will have a BM walnut top in the end.

    I've been using a surform to get the hardened glue fairly smooth before running through the thickness sander for the final thicknessing. Whew!

    So whadya think?
  4. HannibalSpector


    Mar 27, 2002
    What glue are you using?

    If it's a PVA or formaldehyde , a damp rag will do the trick.
    If you have sufficient clamps or glue time , you can clean an area then move the clamps
    Metho is the best for cleaning epoxies.
    Thinners or acetones effect some woods.
    The previous tape trick sounds good , but I'm an impatient bastard.:D

  5. Thanx Hannibal but I want to know WHEN others clean theirs up. I use ProBond (Elmers Titebond competitor) and, of course, water is how it's cleaned up.

    And what material are you referring to by the name "Metho" - Methylene Chloride?, Methanol?, Methyl Alcohol?, Methyl Ethyl Ketone?...
  6. HannibalSpector


    Mar 27, 2002
    Sorry for being so unclear. Metho = Mehylated spirits.
    Methyl Ethyl Ketone and toluene is also good for cleaning epoxies.
    I clean as much glue off as possible while it's still wet , saves a bit of work cleaning or finishing the job the next day and it just seems easier to commence work when you don't have dags of glue everywhere. Of couse if you're gluing something flat or straight such as the neck/headstock or body laminations , with heaps of clamps , this is easy to clean after curing, so usually I just leave it, let the glue ooze out and buzz it over a planer the next day. Bodies I just sand and/or pass them through a thicknesser.Veneers I try to clean the glue off before it cures , except if I'm using a stain , then I'll tape up close to the join as the spirit based stains I use don't like glue residue.

  7. I'll try to clean up as much glue as I can as it oozes between the clamps. I'll sand the edge and seams after the glue has dried. That way, if any glue was pressed into the grain, the sanding will remove it.
  8. Carey


    Jan 18, 2002
    Redlands, CA
    Here's a little trick that I use to remove glue squeezout: Wait about 10 minutes or so for it to start to harden. It might be longer if its cold or humid. Once it starts to harden there's a window of time where you can just peel it off instead of smearing it all over the place. I usually use a skinny pointy stick and dig in as far as I can under the clamps. With practice you can put on just the right amount of glue so that you hardly get any squeezout at all. This is the best way to keep things clean. ;)
    The above method works best with a small amount of squeezout from a lesser amount of glue. Big globs tend to stay wet in the middle and smear all over when you break them open.
    Anyway, that's my 2 cents.
    Carey Nordstrand
  9. Thanx Cory, that sounds like the best way yet. I always keep popsicle sticks on my bench for things like this anyway!