How to deal with squeeze out on casework
I build quite a lot of case pieces – vanities, record cabinets, desk cabinets, etc. A lot of my work has wide panels being glued together, either at an edge or in the center of a panel. So I often have long interior corners that are prone to squeeze out. Ive tried so many methods to contain the squeeze out and not leave any discoloration on the inside of the wood, with no luck. I have tried placing tape on both sides of the joint and removing after the glue has cured but there is still some discoloration. Ive tried using a cut straw to remove glue but that still doesnt work either.
Trying to sand an interior corner like this is almost impossible since you are going across the grain. I have a festool corner sander and while it helps, it’s not perfect. How do most people deal with this sort of squeeze out and keep interior corners of case work looking clean?
Tape off the joinery and prefinish the interiors with a coat of shellac.
Back in the days I would build 12-15 kitchens a year plus lots of other cabinets we used a very sharp wide chisel going with the grain, at the magic time the squeeze out starts hardening, but before becoming brittle. Many people swear by using pre-finished panels, which certainly would work.
Some years ago Michael Fortune showed an interesting method in the magazine:
Might be worth a try?
Waxilit is discod I believe
I've found it useful to dry clamp the parts and then rub a bar of paraffin along the seams before gluing. After gluing up I leave the squeeze out alone until it sets. Then a card scraper makes quick work of cleaning up the squeeze out and removing the paraffin. Final clean up with mineral spirits will get any last bits of paraffin although with oil-based finishes, the mineral spirits aren't needed.
Paraffin is very inexpensive and is also useful for lubricating screws, plane soles, and miter gauge slots. It's easily found in the canning section of most grocery stores.
One other option is to try Gorilla Glue.
It is more prone to squeezout but:
1. When dry, it is super-easy to remove; and
2. If you get it at just the right time - 90-120 mins after application, squeezeout will ball up and rub off.
It is not quite as strong as PVA, but is plenty strong enough for the purpose.
Sooooo much easier to reapply finishes on interior surfaces - makes it easier to deal with squeeze out and saves time later...! Blue tape along the joint lines an additional useful step.
As an aside, so many viewpoints about using a damp or wet rag to remove standard Titebond right while it squeezes out which can raise the grain. If you are prefinished, zero problems with a wet rag to remove squeeze out!
That is "PREAPPLY" not "REAPPLY"!
Use liquid hide glue. Whatever squeeze out that can't be removed will be invisible to your finish.
For difficult to deal with areas, I pre-finish.
Pre finish and then a small chisel plane to clean up. Sometimes hafta touch up the inside corner finish with an artist brush.
I pre-finish my parts whenever possible. If there is a situation where I am not pre-finishing I dry fit the parts together and apply a soft paste wax (Claphams beeswax polish) sparingly around the joint. I then glue up and leave the squeeze out until it is dry. I then take the iron out of my block plane, lay it flat on the cabinet surface and pop the dried glue right off. Works beautifully every time. Next step is to remove the wax residue. Naptha is the solvent for wax, so I use a rag dampened with naptha to clean the wax off. Let that dry and you are ready for finish. I have never had finish issues with the glue, wax or naptha, including waterborne finishes as long as the naptha has had sufficient time to dry.
Also worth noting is that I never follow the instructions on the glue bottle that advise you to clean up squeeze out with a damp rag. All this does is smear the glue around, making a mess and creating more of a problem.