For as long as I can remember, I’ve stood on my soapbox to urge woodworkers to use a toothbrush to spread glue when edge joining two pieces of lumber. A toothbrush is plenty wide enough to completely cover the edge of the board and the glue, once spread, is an even film that’s perfect for job. If you want more information about glues, check out “All About Glue: Part Two” by Marc Adams in our October 2009 issue. (Part One ran in issue #177, August 2009. Click here to get a copy of the magazine for $5.99)
I gave up finger painting in the third grade and I shy away from acid brushes , except when I add glue inside a mortise , because the brushes are narrow and I feel as though I am reproducing a Monet with all the strokes needed. So when I noticed Chuck Bender pulling out the glue and a couple acid brushes during my week-long teaching gig at Acanthus Workshops, I was chomping at the bit to challenge his technique.
Chuck isn’t one to take a challenge lightly, so he offered up a race. I thought I had this one in the bag, but I noticed that his setup , glue poured into a disposable cup with a loaded acid brush , looked peculiar. The handle of the brush was larger than those I had worked with.
He grabbed up a dollop of glue and proceeded to wipe along the edge of his board. One swipe covered the edge completely; he didn’t even waste time squeezing the glue from the bottle.
I guess he saw the amazement in my eyes because he kind of laughed. Then he showed me a box of brushes and pointed out that his brushes are 1/2″ wide, not the petite 1/4″-wide size I was used to buying at my local hardware store.
Once again, I learned something new. In fact, I learned a couple things. First, don’t challenge Chuck about his woodworking techniques , he’s had many years to perfect them. And second, it’s OK to use acid brushes for spreading glue, just make sure the brushes are large. I found a good deal at Harbor Freight, click here.