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Glueing and cleaning up   You are logged in as Guest
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Stu

Posts: 1923
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

Glueing and cleaning up 

Hello,

I'm only on my second guitar.

But I find one of the most stressful parts of the process is anything involving glue.

I guess its the fact that the clock is ticking the second you squeeze it onto whatever component youre glueing.

I also noticed that as I go, I am developing my own personal ways and methods. and gathering a collection on tools/things that I have on hand to help the cleanup.

Are there any major DOs and DONTs that you guys have in regards to glueing/cleaning up. (or a little peek at your glueing set up/tool list)

Also. I looked inside my first guitar and the only place i can see any glue is the squeeze out from between the reverse kerfed lining and the back. I mean that happened obvs when I closed the box. How would you go about cleaning that up? I guess its a matter of preventing it happening... but if theres no squeeze out, how do I know there a good connection there?

cheers all
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 7 2021 7:35:11
 
johnguitar

 

Posts: 175
Joined: Jan. 10 2006
 

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Stu

Good job Stu! There should always be squeeze-out on the back. It shows you and others that the job is done right. Of course some folks glue the top on last and in that case the squeeze-out is up there and so less visible. The idea that a guitar should not show any of the process is a pretty new and twisted one. Of course minimal squeeze out is best.

_____________________________

John Ray
https://www.johnguitar.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 7 2021 9:22:14
 
Tom Blackshear

 

Posts: 2254
Joined: Apr. 15 2008
 

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Stu

The way I glue my backs on is I first set the glue line then place the back on and press firmly to make the glue squeeze out, then take the back off and quickly clean up the excess glue, replace the back and clamp.

When this dries, I set the purfling/lining, and glue it, which gives extra support for the back. Needless to say the purfling/lining is an easy clean up.

And any glue left on the inside is fairly easy to clean with a damp cloth through the sound hole.

_____________________________

Tom Blackshear Guitar maker
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 7 2021 15:17:26
 
RobF

Posts: 1116
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Stu

quote:

But I find one of the most stressful parts of the process is anything involving glue. I guess its the fact that the clock is ticking the second you squeeze it onto whatever component youre glueing...Are there any major DOs and DONTs that you guys have in regards to glueing/cleaning up.

Hi Stu, I guess one of the big things is try not to panic. Depending on the glue you’re using the open time can be far greater than you think. But regardless of that, doing a couple of dry runs can help reduce the stress, take a good look at the fit, and remind yourself that if things start to go awry you can always pull the pieces apart, clean them up, and repeat the operation once you’ve calmed down.

Large surfaces being joined will tend to wander and this can cause stress. It helps to understand why the wander is happening. One reason can be due to the clamp placement. When a clamp is tightened its natural tendency will be to reduce the distance between the jaws (seems obvious, lol) and the shortest distance will be when the jaws are directly opposite each other. To accomplish this, the clamp will pull the pieces sideways to correct for any jaw offset. Note that this characteristic can be used to your advantage if you want to laterally butt two pieces together while one is being glued to a substrate.

A second cause of wander is poor fit. For instance, a heel block can take off in all directions when the fit is poor, regardless of the orientation to the clamp jaws. If you notice that the heel slides away in unexpected directions from the clamp, or becomes less stable when more than one clamp is used, then that is telling you that you quite likely have a small hump somewhere on one of the joining surfaces. The solution there is to pull it apart, clean up the surfaces, and touch them up with a plane until they are as flat as proverbial pancakes. The hump might be so slight that it’s invisible or imperceptible to the eye when mating the dry surfaces, so a good way to check is by using your sense of touch instead and gently rock the pieces and see if you feel any movement under your fingers.

As far as squeeze-out is concerned, I agree with John 100%. Small amounts of squeeze-out in interior surfaces that may appear sloppy when wet tend to shrink into insignificance once the glue is dry. I stopped worrying about that a long time ago, and then came to the conclusion that some visible squeeze-out was a desirable trait and not something to be disdained. I mean honest amounts, not gobs and drips. As Tom said, a damp cloth can work wonders if there’s an unsightly drip you want to get rid of. Also, once dry, drips can often just be snapped off with a gentle prod and tap with the end of a dull chisel, flathead screwdriver tip, or stick of wood. Most times, it’s best to just leave them be, however.

I’m just kind of rambling, but I tend to make my clean up sticks on the go before each job, or at least clean up my old clean up sticks.

On outer surfaces, such as the fingerboard to the top or neck, the dry fit is extremely important, as it’s really not ideal to rely on clamping pressure to eliminate any gaps (I guess that’s a general rule, actually). Wait until the glue gels a bit before cleaning off the squeeze-out, otherwise it’ll just get spread everywhere and make a mess. Also, be careful about using water for cleanup of squeeze-out. The water will tend to flow into the join and thin the glue, which will then proceed to squeeze out some more. And on and on. Even if the intent is to French Polish after the fingerboard is glued down, it still doesn’t hurt to wipe some shellac along the area where the edge of the fingerboard will rest to seal the wood and this will help with cleanup, too. Same applies to the bridge...

At any rate, I hope some of these tips help reduce stress/panic. Main thing is, if you’ve done all the dry fits and test runs, and things still go silly once the glue hits the wood, then take a deep breath, pull it apart, clean up and start over once the source of the silliness is understood. That’s better than powering through and having to redo the work later.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 7 2021 16:26:02
 
Stephen Eden

 

Posts: 894
Joined: Apr. 12 2008
From: UK

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Stu

Another tip is that you probably neeed less glue than you think less sqeaze out less cleaning. I tend to only worry about glue clean up on the struts and bars on the inside. Better to be safe than sorry!

I use a square stick with a straight ramp cut in to one end to clean up the glue and a wider one for the taller struts.

Gluing can be stressful if you are not practiced enough so yeah as Rob said do a dry run or two to get to know your sequence. The glue can be slippery at first to if you apply lots of glue you will slip more until you have squeazed out the excess. for somthing like tite bond a fairly thin film is all that is needed. Also another good tip is when tightening clamps, tighten each of them a little at time until tight, this can help reduce wander as they can then fight against each other!

_____________________________

Classical and Flamenco Guitars www.EdenGuitars.co.uk
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2021 8:39:36
 
Stu

Posts: 1923
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to johnguitar

Hi John, thats interesting. regarding hiding traces of the shameful process! [:D!.. and something for me to think about. I remember reading many years ago some kind of thing that said...."the best guitars have no traces of glue on the inside" or something. Think maybe thats just stuck in my head. and yeah probably isn't really that important..within reason. So thanks for that bit of perspective.

That being said cleaning up through the soundhole seems a blatantly obvious way of doing so if needed. Thanks for that tip Tom.

And thankyou Rob for your info packed reply.

Without sounding like a dick, I'm pretty much doing most of the stuff you speak about but that's encouraging to know I'm on the right track.

Interesting about "wander" I had an early glueing blunder with exactly the piece you mentioned, the heel block to neck. have taken extra care of wandering parts since then. it wasnt pretty! haha.

Even just reading posts from you guys regarding this process is making me feel calmer about glueing already! haha

thanks for the clamping tip Stephen!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2021 9:08:53
 
JasonM

Posts: 1696
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Stu

Anybody ever try the plastic drinking straw method of glue cleanup? Slide the straw along the joint and the excess glue goes up into the straw.

Your not alone Stu, I also find glue ups stressful. I sort of enjoy the rush too in a weird way. I get everything ready and do test runs like I’m preparing for brain surgery, but inevitably with my lack of experience something goes wrong or wanders.

My worst blunder so far was gluing the back on. I had the guitar bolted down in the Solera and told myself not to forget to remove the sound hole bolt before attaching the back. Well, of course I realized I had forgot just as I put the last clamp on! I quickly removed all the clamps and tried to take the back off but it was too late! Fish glue gets tacky fast but I was surprised I couldn’t get it off. Good times!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2021 16:36:37
 
Stu

Posts: 1923
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to JasonM

Haha. Oh no. ...but you can't leave the story there... What happened? 'how did you get it out?

I have 'remove me' in big black letters on mine. But I've been starting at it whilst working for weeks now it's just normal so I can still see myself forgetting to remove it!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2021 16:48:53
 
JasonM

Posts: 1696
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Stu

quote:

I have 'remove me' in big black letters on mine.


Lol nice idea!

Man, it was major surgery.

I actually welded a metal brace in the shape of a cross that was through bolted on to the solera. Aluminum instead of wood. It made it nice and light, and dead flat. Anyway, stupid idea in hindsight. Because I had to first grind off the heads off all the carriage bolts holding the brace one. Then I could remove the brace and expose the back of the solera.

To get the clamp bolt free I had to drill a bunch of holes from the back, being careful not to drill into the soundboard on the inside.
I didn’t “through bolt” through the solera for the sound hole clamp like many people do. Instead, I used one of those T nuts which was countersunk into the solera from the top side. Basically the back of the solera had no bolt holes or anything visible. So Once I found the bolt I exposed it further by chiseling around it and was finally able to get it free.

The invasive back surgery did leave the solera with deficits. To fix it I took a 3 inch diameter hole saw where the clamp was and made a plug to insert into the solera where all the damage was. And I made a new brace, out of wood this time lol!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2021 23:27:21
 
Stu

Posts: 1923
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to JasonM

quote:

Man, it was major surgery.

I actually welded a metal brace in the shape of a cross that was through bolted on to the solera. Aluminum instead of wood. It made it nice and light, and dead flat. Anyway, stupid idea in hindsight. Because I had to first grind off the heads off all the carriage bolts holding the brace one. Then I could remove the brace and expose the back of the solera.

To get the clamp bolt free I had to drill a bunch of holes from the back, being careful not to drill into the soundboard on the inside.
I didn’t “through bolt” through the solera for the sound hole clamp like many people do. Instead, I used one of those T nuts which was countersunk into the solera from the top side. Basically the back of the solera had no bolt holes or anything visible. So Once I found the bolt I exposed it further by chiseling around it and was finally able to get it free.

The invasive back surgery did leave the solera with deficits. To fix it I took a 3 inch diameter hole saw where the clamp was and made a plug to insert into the solera where all the damage was. And I made a new brace, out of wood this time lol!


Oof! sounds intense. guess you wont do that again though! haha

"Why do we fall Bruce? so we can learn to pick ourselves back up"
Thomas Wayne
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2021 8:30:02
 
RobF

Posts: 1116
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Stu

quote:

But I find one of the most stressful parts of the process is anything involving glue.

You know, I’m kind of happy you brought this subject up because thinking back on it, when I started out glue-up times were pretty stressful for me, too. And the more stressed about it I would get, the more I would plan ahead. I’d try to account for every little thing that could possibly go wrong, and then when the glue was on everything and, as you say, the clock was ticking, I’d drop something, or somehow not be able find a part, or get glue all over my hands and clothes, or whatever, and the whole operation would turn into some kind of panicked frenzy. The main source of the mishaps were from me trying to work faster than my ability would allow.

I had to learn to consciously slow down and also had to be willing to stop an operation and restart it before I got the situation under control. Before I reached that stage I think I had to remove and replace something like three fretboards that had slight gaps somewhere, I had to cut the scarf and heel block joins off numerous necks and replane and then rejoin them, and on my second guitar I re-did the binding twice. Almost all of the mishaps were from either not properly checking my fits or by working faster than I should have been. I would argue that not confirming a fit also falls in the category of working too fast. After redoing so much stuff I finally realized it was easier and ultimately more efficient to stop an operation mid-stream, correct, and start over than to say a quick prayer and try to get everything to work by screwing the clamps down harder and hoping that everything would magically turn out OK. I also had to accept that I was not an extremely fast builder and probably never would be, so of course I now preach that speed is over-rated, and I take my time and try to do things right.

An apprentice of my first teacher took to working in his bare feet. One day he was gluing something with CA glue, spilled some on the floor, and then proceeded to stand in it while completing the operation. I’ve never glued my feet to the floor, but I’ve glued various objects to my hands and fingers, and various limbs to each other. You can buy an antidote for CA, but it tastes terrible, lol, so now I just dab acetone on the spot, instead.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2021 21:12:10
 
Pat Foster

 

Posts: 5
Joined: Oct. 24 2019
 

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Stu

I recently experimented with Lee Valley #2002 cabinet makers glue. It's an AR, like white glue, but is actually tan in color, so I wouldn't use it on say, the top center seam. Big plus with it is that parts don't scoot around like with other AR glues. Joint strength and separability with heat is similar to other AR glues.

For hide glue, on braces, for example, I wait until the squeezeout has gelled to do initial cleanup. Then, after it's dried, I do the final cleanup with a little water and an old, soft toothbrush. With AR glues, it's also helpful to wait for it to gel.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 10 2021 1:29:20
 
Stu

Posts: 1923
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to RobF

quote:

An apprentice of my first teacher took to working in his bare feet. One day he was gluing something with CA glue, spilled some on the floor, and then proceeded to stand in it while completing the operation


Ha!! genuinely hilarious!

hey Rob I see you mention speed/too fast throughout your post. I think this is exactly my prob. mainly due to the fact that every bit of my workshop time is really limited and I could be summoned back to the house at any moment to help with baby stuff. so trying to slow down is an extra tough mental feat.

other areas of my life, cooking, guitar practice, work, general stuff about the house. I seem to have a methodical, considered approach that promotes calm and less chaos. but in the workshop I turn into someone i dont know!! tools everywhere, losing pencils constantly, and i sort of get away with it for non glue related tasks... but when that style carries over into glueing up. its what creates the stress!

Definitely need to persist with trying to slow my process down. Thanks for the reminder!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 10 2021 8:46:50
 
Stu

Posts: 1923
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to JasonM

quote:

I have 'remove me' in big black letters

Remember when I proudly proclaimed this....
Well guess what!?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2021 17:02:14
 
RobF

Posts: 1116
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Stu

Oh man....
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2021 17:08:46
 
Flamingrae

 

Posts: 218
Joined: May 19 2009
 

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Stu

quote:

Remember when I proudly proclaimed this....
Well guess what!?
 

Oh Nooooo.........you need a take down version for this!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2021 18:52:34
 
Stu

Posts: 1923
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Flamingrae

Yeah I feel a bit silly. 😞
But I just told my friend and he made me feel better. Her shared his story about the time he closed the box with his iphone still inside, (was using as a light!) Was too big to get out! 😄
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2021 19:04:51
 
Flamingrae

 

Posts: 218
Joined: May 19 2009
 

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Stu

quote:

Yeah I feel a bit silly. 😞


I suspect there are very few of us on here that haven't done something similar. Bridge brace for me - "This one sounds a bit woolly "??? Not quite so bad though as it slid out ok.
Best of luck - you'll be ok and probably not make that mistake again. Heat gun and water??
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2021 10:34:51
 
Stu

Posts: 1923
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Flamingrae

Yeah I'm over it now. But I do find that this guitar making lark has a brutal way of making one feel silly. (At my stage anyway)
Cos there's a satisfaction and mild feeling of ''yeah!!! I'm the man!'' When you nail something.. Only to be brought back down to earth with a blunder! 😄

Rae, I excavated the mold slightly underneath and then drilled thru the side of the coach bolt and the head feel off then just pushed the remaining bolt shaft through the hole.

I was rather happy with the way I solved it. Only to a few minutes later realise I hadn't written on or signed my new label!!! 😄
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2021 13:36:29
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1488
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Stu

quote:

But I just told my friend and he made me feel better. Her shared his story about the time he closed the box with his iphone still inside, (was using as a light!) Was too big to get out! 😄

I love this story. I seem to invent new mistakes all the time.

_____________________________

Ethan Deutsch
www.edluthier.com
www.facebook.com/ethandeutschguitars
www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 26 2021 6:44:31
 
ernandez R

Posts: 490
Joined: Mar. 25 2019
From: Alaska USA

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to Stu

Stu,
30 years of working on airplanes where any mistake could mean lives and I'm relearning what's important and what's not.

I've discovered learning to laugh is critical. It's f'n funny as hell to think leaving the bar inside or a cell phone inside. The other day I was converting a new clothes dryer to propane and left a whole roll of paper towels in the machine holding up the drum after I had reassembled it.

Remember, we are laughing with you, not at you.

HR

_____________________________

I prefer my flamenco guitar spicy,
doesn't have to be fast,
should have some meat on the bones,
can be raw or well done,
as long as it doesn't sound like it's turning green on an elevator floor.

www.instagram.com/threeriversguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 27 2021 5:07:00
 
Stu

Posts: 1923
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: Glueing and cleaning up (in reply to ernandez R

yeah! Although the guy who glued his feet to the floor.... I think I'd be laughing AT him!

yeah I certainly had to laugh after I got the guitar out and was retelling the saga to my mrs and then realised the label wasnt signed/dated etc. we both burst out laughing.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 27 2021 14:27:15
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