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We have a coffee table we made with four 2x4 planks stained and glued to a tabletop. About a year later, one of the planks had loosed so I ripped it off and I was planning to reapply the wood glue and clamp it back in place. There is a bunch of dried wood glue on the bottom of the wood and some on the tabletop as well. The glue is very hard and it's thick in some places.

Do I need to remove this dried glue before adhering it with more wood glue? It is very hard and it's thick in some places, so I'm concerned it would not lay evenly.

If it does need to be removed what is the best method to do that? Is there a solvent I should use? Or is there a tool I should use it scrape it?

The glue is Elmers but I'm not sure if it is Wood Glue or Wood Glue Max.


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  • What is the surface of the table the wood is being glued to? It looks like some kind of paper or vinyl. – UnhandledExcepSean Jan 31 at 14:59
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    That's painted MDF? The glue didn't fail, the paint did. Do what the answer says with screws, to all of them, before the rest fall off too. – Mazura Jan 31 at 17:05
  • @UnhandledExcepSean - The table was a cheap table from Target. It was primed and painted, then we realized we wanted wood on top instead of painted. So we glued the wood to the painted surface. – SherlockSpreadsheets Jan 31 at 17:39
  • Probably MDF and laminate construction, as @mazura had guessed. – SherlockSpreadsheets Jan 31 at 17:41
  • Given that, I don't think the paint will allow permanent adhesion. I would sand the paint/primer off or as isherwood suggested screw into the wood from the bottom to ensure permanent placement. – UnhandledExcepSean Jan 31 at 17:42
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If you want to use wood glue again, I'd remove the old glue. You'll get a stronger bond if you apply glue to clean wood. A belt sander would do a nice job.

If you're ok using urethane glue or project adhesive, the only concern is whether the replaced board will sit above the others. Otherwise I'd have no problem bonding to the old glue if it appears solid.

You could also run some countersunk flat-head screws of appropriate length in from underneath to assure the security of the boards.

  • I like the idea about screwing from the bottom. I am a noob with countersinking. But this video makes it look pretty straight forward. Youtube: How to Countersink a Wood Screw by kwikshowmehow2 on Dec 28, 2008. – SherlockSpreadsheets Jan 31 at 17:48
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    That's it. You can use a common steel drill bit if you don't have a countersink bit on hand and don't need a perfectly-shaped depression. Be careful with pilot-point bits, though--they tend to grab and dive in very aggressively. – isherwood Jan 31 at 17:51
  • Agree 100% with removing the glue. However, disagree with the belt sander recommendation. A belt sander runs a high risk of removing more wood than glue. A simple paint scraper will do the job of scraping the glue off. Also agree with the comments on the OP about scraping the paint off before gluing again. Standard wood glues, well, just about any glue, doesn't like bonding to paint. – FreeMan Jan 31 at 21:21
  • @FreeMan A card scraper is another option here but probably a paint scraper is easier to find. Paint is terrible for gluing to because even if you do bond to it, it's not glue i.e. it's not designed to hold things together and will likely rip off like it did here. – JimmyJames Jan 31 at 21:33
  • I purchased a Heavy Duty Scraper to remove the glue, similar to this one. I will try that out but haven't done so yet. – SherlockSpreadsheets Feb 4 at 14:53

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