Reducing Door Glue Clean-Up

Careful application of glue to cope-and-stick door joints can reduce the time spent cleaning up squeeze-out. June 29, 2008

I had a bottleneck in my door manufacturing process until I bought a used Taylor clamp carrier. Now that I can clamp up more parts than I can make, I'm bottle-necking again, but only due to the cleanup.

About five years ago, I performed an experiment with adhesives. The contestants were Gorilla brand poly glue, Epoxy Heads 2-part epoxy, Titebond II, and Elmers white.

Thirty two equal pairs of poplar parts for each test group were glued, clamped, and properly cured. And a Jorgie clamp with a 3/4" drive socket welded to it so a torque wrench could be implemented as the measuring tool. In 90+ percent of the test pieces (128 total) the wood failed before the adhesive did, and I conceded that Titebond II would be my standard adhesive.

I am sick and tired or cleaning aliphatic resin out of my cope and stick joints! I recently made a set of TDL doors with Poly glue (due to customer's specifications). This was the worst cleanup I've ever encountered. There has to be something better! What am I doing wrong? What do you recommend, and if possible, please walk me through your glue up procedure?

Forum Responses
(Adhesive Forum)
From contributor L:
When your are gluing your cope and stick joints you can't just put glue in there. You need to put in the proper amount. This takes practice and experience. When I glue my cope and stick joints I will put in the proper amount of glue and spread it around with a small acid/glue brush. I leave the open side of the cope/stick joining area void of glue for about 1/4". On rare occasions I will have a small drop of glue squeeze out in the cope/stick joint.

I want to have squeeze-out on the face the back and the outer edge of the door to help keep everything smooth. This is removed with a damp rag and then with sanding. It takes practice and the right amount of glue. The time you spend on getting the correct amount of glue in the joint should be a lot less than the subsequent cleanup of the unwanted squeeze out.

It takes me an average of six minutes to get the cabinet door parts and set up the clamps, put the glue on them, brush it out, clamp the doors, check and adjust for square, make sure the joints are true and flat and wipe up the excess glue.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:

I wonder if a PUR holt melt would be a good choice. Formulations are improving and strength is high compared to a few years ago.

From contributor V:
Id say Contributor L is right on the money. This is the way I have found it to be. And as you have already found out poly has its uses but this isnt it. However I have gone back to Titebond I because of glue creep.