This woodworker is building a Mission style wall unit out of cherry. He had put some painter’s tape (from 3M) on the cherry door panels during assembly. Now he can’t get the glue off. He used a cabinet scraper, but it didn’t get all of it. He wants advice on what kind of solvent to use that won’t drive the residue deeper into the cherry (he’s planning on finishing the unit with boiled linseed and shellac).
Michael Dresdner: Mineral spirits or naphtha. It sounds like you used the green 3M painter’s tape. That stuff is meant to be taken off immediately after coating, and should not be left on more than overnight or it will leave residue. If you need to leave masking on longer than one day, use the blue 3M ‘Long Mask’ tape. It will come off after a week with no glue residue left, and no tearing of the tape as you try to pull it. One final word: when you remove tape, pull it back over itself 360 degrees, and about 30 degrees away from the painted edge.
Rick White: Wow, that’s tough tape if it won’t come off with a cabinet scraper. I would stay away from most solvents because they will often do just what he said: drive the residue further into the cherry grain. You also need to be careful not to get any solvent near the joints of the cabinet because you can weaken the joints. I’d use denatured alcohol or, better yet, a chisel, to get that glue off.