Quick Tip: Cleaning Old Records with Wood Glue

Craft & Design Music
Quick Tip: Cleaning Old Records with Wood Glue

I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this before. I was watching an episode of Amoeba Records’ What’s in My Bag? with Sebastian Bach of Skid Row. He talked about his house burning down, losing many of his prized possessions, but refusing to trash his record collection. To try and restore his LPs, he says that he found a trick on a YouTube video for using wood glue. I looked it up and found the same video.

Sebastian swears by the results, as do apparently many others online. Basically, you spread a layer of yellow carpenter’s glue on the vinyl, let it thoroughly dry, and then carefully peel off the resulting sheet of glue. I would be too chicken to try this on anything other than a really funky record (for Sebastian, it was either this or the trash, so he had nothing to lose). It doesn’t remove scratches or other kinds of damage, it only cleans and pulls away any dust and dirt from the vinyl.

Since the resulting “sheet” of glue comes off as one piece and has grooves in it, some commenters wondered if you could actually hear sound from a glue record. You can! And the results are kind of amazing. In this video, a YouTuber who’d bought a couple of metal stampers on eBay (the negative plates from which records are pressed), tried using the above method to pull a glue impression from a stamper. He deposited multiple layers of glue to get a thick platter.

Here’s an article from a record blog with a bit more detail on how to use this method.


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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