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Wood glue is a simple way to join two pieces of wood. And because this is very easy to use, you might rush into using it right away only to find out that you are not satisfied with the outcome.
Thankfully, it is very easy to remove the wood glue. But what about wooden pieces joined together by, dried, old glue? Can you still dissolve wood glue from wood?
Techniques on dissolving wood glue
Here are some easy steps to dissolve wood glue so your wooden pieces will look brand new and ready for use.
What you’ll need
- White vinegar
- Latex gloves
- Warm water
- Paper towels
Steps on how to dissolve wood glue
Place several layers of old newspapers with a layer of plastic under the newspaper. This is where you will work. Place the glued wooden piece in the newspaper. Use latex gloves to protect your hands. Mix 2 cups of vinegar and water in a large bowl. Dilute this so you get a 30% vinegar solution. Saturate the towel with the vinegar solution and wring it out. The towel should be saturated enough that it should be dripping a bit.
2) Apply vinegar
Apply the towel on the wood. Make sure that you place as much of the vinegar on all the areas where glue is present. The glue should be in full contact with the vinegar solution. Keep pressing the vinegar solution to the glue until it has completely soaked the adhesive.
Leave the towel wrapped on the wood for 15 minutes. Unwrap the towel and pry the pieces of wood apart. This should give a little and should start to loosen. If you use only a small amount of glue, you might be able to remove the glue easily with this technique.
Most of the time, it will take at least two applications of vinegar to completely remove the glue. If not, you’ll need to keep repeating the process with the towel and vinegar solution until the glue has been completely removed.
3) Removing glue
After you have completely removed the glue from the wood, you will notice that this is not liquid anymore, rather it has become semi-solid. It may have also assumed a paste-like consistency. You can now remove the glue from the wood so you can use this wood again.
Use a clean towel and wet it with warm water. Wipe it along the surface of the wood anywhere there is glue. The glue will soon come off and reveal clean wood. You might need to use several towels to achieve this completely to remove both the glue and any on vinegar.
4) Drying wood
To finish your work, dab paper towels on the wood to remove the moisture. Rub fresh ones on the wood to take out even more wetness. Give the wood enough time to dry before this can be used again.
Now, this is a method in case your glue is super-dry and needs more elbow grease to remove. This will try to separate two glued parts of a piece of furniture by drilling holes through the wood.
Drill evenly spaced holes on the joint with a 1/8-inch or smaller drill bit. If you are removing glue from chair legs or spindles, drill three or four holes around the leg or spindle about 3/4 inch through the wood. If you are removing glue from flat or square joints, drill holes on each glued edge. Take note that the holes must penetrate the glue.
Use a medium-sized syringe and fill this with warm water. You may also use white vinegar, acetone or denatured alcohol, depending on the kind of glue you are trying to soften. If you’re not sure what type of glue you are trying to separate, check the parts. White glue can break apart easily while urethane and epoxy can is a bit harder to break apart.
Inject the solvent into each hole and wipe off any excess. Leave it for 10 to 20 minutes. Twist the wood gently to loosen the joint. Inject more solvent if the joint won’t move and give it time around 10 or 20 minutes and try again.
You may also tap the peg or piece of wood gently with a small hammer. You may also use a heat gun. Just point the gun at the joint and rock the wood to break the glue and wood apart. Sand the edges of the holes to smooth these out.
Wood glue can be easy or hard to remove from wood depending on the kind of glue you have used. It takes patience to completely remove glue so that wood can be re-used again.