More Great Gluing Basics with Steve Ramsey

Woodworking Workshop
More Great Gluing Basics with Steve Ramsey

We’ve done a number of pieces recently on different types of glues, glue tips, tricks, and hacks. Since glue is such a fundamental part of so many types of making, and understanding it can make your work so much easier and more effective, there is always a lot more to know. In this YouTube video, Steve Ramsey of Wood Working for Mere Mortals runs through some wood glue, Weldbond, and epoxy basics. While most of what’s covered is rudimentary, there are some tips and tricks worth pointing out.

YouTube player

Use a Glue Bottle

glueTips_2One way that Steve applies glue is via a Glu Bot. This is a glue bottle that allows you to apply glue without having to hold it upside down, like you do with most glue applicators. You can squeeze the glue onto your workpiece from a more comfortable angle.

Use a Silicone Basting Blush

Like any good woodworker, Steve stresses the importance of getting good, even coverage of glue over the pieces to be bonded. He shows a number of methods for spreading the glue, from credit card scarper to finger tip, but seems to get the biggest kick out of the silicone basting brush. You can get these at the dollar store, in the kitchen section. And, as Steve points out, there is something unnaturally satisfying about picking the dried mat of glue out of the comb of the brush after it’s dry.

Check for Over-glue with Mineral Spirits

glueTips_3Once you’ve sanded over any joins after they’re dry, to make sure that you haven’t missed any glue residue, wipe along the join with mineral spirits. The over-glue will be clearly visible and you can sand it off thoroughly before moving on to finishing.

Pre-Condition an End Grain

glueTips_4Because wood end grain is so porous, when you apply glue, the glue wicks into the grain, not leaving much glue surface for bonding. One way to help improve this is pre-gluing the end grain surface with a 50/50 mixture of water and glue. When this is dry and you apply glue as normal, this pre-glue sealant will allow more glue to remain on the bonding surface. Another method is to simply use your thumb to force full-strength glue into the grain, let that dry, and then glue up as normal.

Besides the great tips Steve shares, he also does some visual demonstrations of things like how strong a wood glue join really is and what creates the weaknesses of end grain (and how to overcome them). He also makes a very important point at the concluding section of the video about not just being fixated on glue strength when choosing a glue. There are so many other factors to consider, like working time, how it dries, ease of working with it, ease of finishing it, etc.

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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. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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