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Planning to give your old wobbly wooden chair a new life and a fresh look? Repairing or refinishing your furniture or any other woodwork often involves separating glued joints. The task may sound easy, but when not done properly, it may result in breaks and cracks. There are several ways to disassemble joints without damaging them. Knowing the right ways of how to break wood glue joint will not only help you do the job quickly but will also ensure the wooden parts come apart safely.
Before dismantling a glued wooden joint, you would first need to know what kind of glue was used to fix it. Various kinds of glues are used in carpentry, the most common being white glue or carpenter’s glue, hide glue, epoxy glue, and Polyurethane glue. It is easier to break down white glue and hide glue as they are water soluble. Hide glue can also be loosened with acetone, xylene, and toluene. Epoxy glues are the strongest glues and make waterproof joints. That makes them difficult to break down and separate. However, heat can be used to break wood joints fastened with epoxy glue.
Knowing your glue will help you choose the right solvent and use the appropriate method and get the work done more conveniently. However, only softening or dissolving the glue is not all, there are various ways to pull glued wood joints apart. This article tells you about the different methods of how to break wood glue joint.
Tools you will need
- Heat gun
- Crowbar or a metal wedge
- Syringe or eyedropper
- Denatured alcohol
Breaking wood glue joint with heat
Step – 1
To break open a joint with heat you will require a heat gun. Place the joint on the work table or floor in such a way that it’s easily accessible. Switch on the heat gun and hold it at least six inches away from the joint. The heat should reach the joint but it shouldn’t be close enough to burn the wood. Don’t hold the heat gun in one place, keep moving it around to distribute the heat. If a heat gun is not available, use a powerful hairdryer and use it in a high heat setting.
Step – 2
To make it more effective, fill a spray bottle with water. Spray a generous amount of water around the joint. Ensure to spray enough to wet the joint but not to make it drip. Apply heat with the heat gun. The idea is to generate steam to soften the glue further. If using water, remember to place towels on your work area to save it from getting wet.
Step – 3
When the glue heats up, it will start to melt and that’s the time when you can penetrate the glued joint. While the glue is still hot, use a knife or any sharp tool to gen into the joint space. Wiggle the tool back and forth to carefully undo the glued wood joint. The metal tool will cut through the glue and the joint. Keep cleaning the tool with a damp cloth to remove the glue that sticks to it.
Step – 4
When it is a little loose, use your hands and try to pull the joint apart. Do it carefully so that you do not damage the wood. You can clean the melted glue quickly with a rag if desired.
Breaking wood glue joint with Denatured Alcohol
Step – 1
The first thing to keep in mind while working with denatured alcohol or methylated spirit is that it contains additives. Choose a well ventilated area to work and keep it out of reach of children. If consumed, denatured alcohol can be hazardous to health. Take a syringe or an eye-dropper and suck up some denatured alcohol.
Step – 2
Inject the denatured alcohol or drop a few drops from the eye-dropper into the joint. Wait for five-ten minutes and repeat the process. The solvent will reach the interior of the joint and soften the glue. Repeat this process till the glue dissolves and the joint is loose enough to pull apart. This process needs patience and time.
Step – 3
Use a knife to loosen the joint and add the solvent as required till you achieve the success of dismantling the joint.
Prying the wood joint apart using tools
Step – 1
Breaking the joint apart forcefully with your hands and tools is a choice when you don’t mind damaging the wood. It is the easiest answer to the question, how to break wood glue joint. This method is suitable to use only when pulling apart old furniture and the wood will not need to be reassembled later. Keep in mind that breaking the wood glue joint manually and prying it open can result in cracking and chipping off some wood.
Take a crowbar or a flat bar, and insert it into the joint. Use a hammer to insert it further.
Step – 2
When your flat-edged tool has reached the inside of the joint, use the hammer to drive it deeper. Continue this process till the flat end of the crowbar or the flat bar has penetrated around three to four inches inside, depending on how big the joint is.
Step – 3
Use your hands to apply pressure on the other side of the metal bar and try to pry open the glued joint. It may require some time and strength to make the joint fully detached.
Knowing how to break wood glue joint is equally important as selecting the right method of doing the task. Wood glue holds the joints firmly together and is an alternative to using screws and nails for securing joints. Glues used for woodwork have good strength and may not be that easy to break down. Before starting the process, choose your workspace carefully and gather your tools for working conveniently. It may take a while before the glue melts or dissolves. So don’t be in a hurry, or else you may cause irreparable damage and break the wood that you intend to repair and refinish.