Based on the recent experience of a friend, JP Honeywell provided a dissenting opinion to that of our experts. His friend had glued some trim on a corner cabinet slightly askew from the rest of the cabinets. To remove this glue (which happened to be Aliphatic, aka woodworker’s yellow glue) he used a syringe to apply vinegar several times along the glue line and was ultimately able to pull off the trim and re-glue it on its proper location.
Along a similar vein, George Lewis found out that heated vinegar (the hotter the better) used with a medicine dropper was able to loosen an antique table leg for re-gluing. He acknowledged that it might take several applications, but it works!
Long-time wood restorer Gregory Care has been fighting the battle of the tenacious glues for years on both modern and antique furniture. He first counsels patience and restraint in using spread clamps and the trusty non-marring mallet too soon. The warm vinegar method has also served him well. Applied with a syringe and a 20- or 22-gauge needle, the vinegar or vinegar and water mixture can be injected deep into a loosening joint or forced into a small crack to let capillary action do the rest. (A drop of dish soap makes it a bit “wetter” and helps it to penetrate more efficiently.) But he also endorses a commercial product called De-Glue Goo that he claims eats into glue “like a gopher into a golf course”, without hurting the wood at all.
The Trick to Better Miter Joints
John Tucker suggests making a face frame slightly larger than the bookcase, permanently attaching it to the carcass, and routing the outside edge with a flush cut bit in a router. He assures us that this will insure good joints, and the fact that the outside line of the face frame is now 1/16″ out of square will be no worse than the out-of-square carcass.