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The Best Way to Spread Wood Glue (Tips From a Pro!)

best way to spread wood glue

There’s one thing that all of us have in common when working with wood. It’s the glue. It’s what joins holds our projects together. But let’s be honest, spreading wood glue can be a mess if your not careful.

Not only can spreading wood glue be an absolute mess, but it can sometimes also be hard to work with. The thing is, all of us would rather move on to the next phase of the project, or even complete the project, as opposed to cleaning up a glue mess.

In this article we’re going to take a look at what I’ve found to be the best way to spread wood glue.

The good news is that spreading wood glue doesn’t have to be messy and it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Below are some of the best ways to spread wood glue.

Materials Needed

Best Way to Spread Wood Glue
Sili Brush - Silicone Glue Brush For Woodworking

The Sili-Brush is the only tool you need to quickly and efficiently spread wood glue.

  • No more finger spreading
  • Ideal for woodworkers
  • Features a paddle tip that allows you to get into really tight areas like those found in box joinery and dovetail joinery
  • Clean it immediately after using with water or you can simply let it sit...
  • Once the glue is dry on the Sili Brush tip, simply crack the dried up glue and peel the glue off of the brush tip.

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Best Way to Spread Wood Glue

Wood glue needs to be used with caution. You must make sure it will spread out on the wood properly, giving the nice tight seal that you need on the wood without all of the glue getting all over the place. This process is simple and can be done on any of the projects with wood you would like to complete. Some of the steps you can use to spread wood glue include:

Tape All Joints Before Applying Stain or Finish

We will start by masking the glue joints before we do the pre-finish. Finishing the parts of the project before you use glue to assemble this will save a lot of time and make sure you get a finish that is better quality. But for a strong glue joint, you need to make sure that there is no finish on the joints. Glue will not stick well to the stains or varnishes you want to use. 

A good way to avoid getting any finish on the corners is to use some masking tape on any surface that you would like glue. Then when the finish is done you can remove it to have the raw wood ready for the gluing process. 

Place Wax Paper Between Clamps and Wood

When you are ready to start gluing, it is time to cover the bar clamps with some wax paper. When you use steel bar clamps or pipe clamps, and the glue you want to use comes in contact with the clamp, the moisture from the glue will cause that steel to leave a dark mark or stain on the wood. 

To avoid this, take some wax paper and put a little bit of it over the clamps to make sure no dark spots occur. This is also a good way to catch the drips of glue that could get all over the workbench and the clamps in the process. 

Spread The Glue

Now’s when the magic happens…spreading the glue.

Much like the picture at the top of this article, I have always liked to spread the glue with my finger. But I’ve been gluing up boards, cabinets and many other projects for years and have a lot of experience. By using my finger to spread the glue, I’ve been able to get a nice even coat of on all surfaces.

But now I’ve found an even better way to spread wood glue. And that’s with the Sili Brush.

Sili-Brush - Silicone Glue Brush (1" Tip) Glue Dries And Peels Off. Ideal For Wodworking, Arts, Crafts, Around The Home and Hobbyists. Tips Made From Silicone Rubber.

If you’re new to woodworking or are working on a project where its very important to prevent glue from oozing out of the joint and making a mess and important to ensure an even coat on all surfaces, then I highly recommend using the Sili Brush to apply wood glue.

This will give you maximum control over the spreading of the wood glue.

Spreading wood glue with the Sili Brush is exactly like painting. Simply use the brush to ensure that all surfaces that are being glued together are evenly covered. If its a hard to reach corner or other area, you can use the paddle end of the Sili Brush.

Sili-Brush - Silicone Glue Brush (1" Tip) Glue Dries And Peels Off. Ideal For Wodworking, Arts, Crafts, Around The Home and Hobbyists. Tips Made From Silicone Rubber.

Clamp The Glued Pieces Together

Once your happy with how you’ve spread the wood glue, it’s time to join the pieces together.

From here, we are going to tack and then clamp all the pieces of wood down.

You should note, however, that wood glue can make your boards a little bit slippery which can make it difficult to get them lined up perfectly while applying the wood clamps.

A good way to handle this issue is to brad nails to hold the parts in alignment before you add the clamps. 

If you want to try and use brad nails to secure down the project while clamping, try cutting your pieces a little longer than what you need in the end, and shoot the brad nails through this “extra” portion of the wood.

It won’t matter if there are brad nail holes left in this area because during the finishing stage of your project you’ll be cutting this part of the wood off when cutting it to final length.

Remove Excess Glue

If you spread the wood glue correctly, you’ll see a small amount of glue squeeze out of the joints.

That’s a good sign! It means that you applied enough glue and all surfaces have been covered. But it’s important to clean up this excess glue, or it could stain your woodwork or just create serious headaches down the road.

So how do you go about doing this?

Any forum you find for doing woodworking will come with a debate on the best way to remove the glue that squeezes out when you put two pieces together. Some talk about using a damp rag to clean it all up right away. Others want you to let it dry all the way and then scrape it off. 

I’ve done it both ways, and in my opinion the best method in most cases is to leave the glue alone until it becomes a gel, which takes 30 to 60 minutes in room temperature environments. Then use a sharp chisel to carefully shave off the excess.

This will help you to remove most of the glue that is there without making a big mess. There may be a little bit of glue left behind that will need to be taken care of, but it is less of a headache than trying to do it with the wet or cured glue. 

Spreading Wood Glue Properly

Spreading wood glue efficiently can take quite a bit of practice. Don’t be afraid of the mess that might happen. Wet glue is fairly simple to clean up.

But with a little patience, and a little bit of pre-planning and thinking through how to get it done, you will be able to spread wood glue on any project resulting in extremely strong joins with minimal mess to clean up.

If you want to check out the Sili Brush for yourself, you can check it out here.

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