Keeping the Frame Assembly Table Clean

How to prevent glue from building up on your cabinet assembly table. October 3, 2011

I just bought a used Ritter face frame assembly table. I scraped all the glue off from the previous owner. What is the best way to keep it clean from glue buildup? Do you keep a wet rag handy, or put a coating on it to keep the glue from sticking?

Forum Resposnes
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor M:
Our assembly table has a melamine surface and we are using water soluble glues. We wipe with a wet rag after every assembly. We then still scrape the surface every week, or as soon as we see dried glue on it. About once a month we lightly sand the top with a random orbit sander. We average getting about 4 to 5 years from a surface when treated this way.

From the original questioner:
Is the melamine surface something you added, or did it come that way? My Ritter is bare metal, so I am concerned about using a wet rag. I don't want it to start rusting. Maybe I could spray a clear coat over it?

From contributor R:
I had a Ritter frame and door clamping table for about 15 years. I put a white film on it that is used as a carpet protector. Bad idea that was. The clamps scratched it up every time I actuated one, and it was time consuming to scrape off with a paint scraper. I found just wiping the glue off each time I took a unit off the table was the best way to go. I often thought about applying paste wax, but never got around to it. I wouldn't worry too much about the table rusting from wiping it down after each clamp-up.

From contributor I:
You could try a piece of 1/4" melamine cut the same size as your table and just lay it in there. If you don't have enough extra room under the clamps, you could even get a piece of 1/8" masonite and either clear coat it or even laminate a piece of vertical grade laminate or cabinet liner to it.

From contributor M:
We added the melamine. On other pieces of equipment, we wax the metal surfaces. It makes sheetgoods glide over the surfaces, plus it halts or slows rusting. I even wax some of the support tables by my table saw and planer that are made of melamine. Makes cleanup easier too.

From contributor T:
We also have a Ritter face frame table. We solved this same problem by laying a sheet of 1/2 inch white melamine over the table. This is not only easier to clean, but it refracts light well and helps make the district a little brighter.

From contributor J:
I use booth coating on my RF gluer platen and JLT door clamp. I lightly spray it on with a pump up garden sprayer. Keeps the clamps and slides lubed as well, making them easy to move around.

From contributor G:
I use Waxilit from Lee Valley. I use this on the pressure roller of the edgebander also for those occasions when the banding hangs up and the roller gets covered in glue. The glue just peels off. The down side is it needs to be reapplied occasionally. I would like to purchase the Waxilit in larger containers but have not been able to find it anywhere else.

From contributor T:
The wax lift stuff is possibly re-bottled Bates Glue Release. This stuff paints out like milky thin Vaseline, then dries sort of like a very thin candle wax. The main use of the product is for sealing the end grain of trees after they get cut down. We use something like this for our door clamp.

From contributor G:
It looks very much kike the Waxilit. I think I'll order a gallon and give it a try. The Waxilit is also used to reduce friction on jointers, table saws, etc. Do you think the Bates Glue Release would be suitable for that purpose?

From contributor T:
I'm not sure whether Bates Glue Release is a good idea for all those purposes. I'm okay with using it for our door clamp because the door is going to be widebelt sanded after glue up and the edges are going to be trimmed. I would be concerned about mixing the wax with anything that might later receive finish.

From contributor E:
Waxlit and Bates glue release are two different animals. Waxlit is sold by Weinig in 5 gallon pails and is used as bed lubricant on moulder tables as well as planer and jointer tables. It does not affect the surfaces for gluing. Bates glue release is what I use on my clamps and door clamp as well. That's what I would recommend for a face frame table.

From contributor G:
It seems Waxilit that Lee Valley sells is made in Germany while Bates is American made, so they are probably a different formula. Waxilit is sold as both a table lubricant and a glue resist to protect areas of wood where you don't want glue to stick.

From the description, "Sparingly apply Waxilit to squeeze-out areas next to dry assembled joints and, using a dry cloth, quickly polish off all but the thin film left behind. Dried glue can be easily lifted from the wood that has been so treated. After gluing, scrub the area with an old toothbrush dampened with methyl hydrate or other alcohol to remove any traces of Waxilit and your wood is ready for finish."

I would be interested to know if this is the same Waxilit product Weinig is selling for table lube.

From contributor E:
I just hit the Weinig site and read up on Waxilit again, and I'm probably mistaken about it not effecting your gluing. They say it contains no silicon so it will not affect your finishes.

After I posted my last response I realized that was the main purpose of the 5th head on a moulder - to take that .020" cut on the bottom to remove the Waxilit. Waxilit is made in Germany so it is the same stuff Lee Valley sells.

From contributor G:
I use the Waxilit on my jointer, table saw and thickness planer and have never had a transfer problem with my finishing or gluing. I don't leave a heavy layer on them, though. I'll check out Weinig for the Waxilit.