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 In Tricks of the Trade

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Glue Cleanup in Tight Spots

Glue squeeze-out can be difficult to clean up in tight spaces such as beads and grooves because you can’t wipe the area very effectively with a damp rag nor insert a chisel to slice away the hardened glue afterward. I’ve found that a good approach is to clean up the wet glue with a stiff-bristle artist’s brush and a soft-bristle toothbrush.

I begin by using the artist’s brush, pushing it forward to scoop up the majority of the wet glue. (Short, stiff bristles work best; trim them if necessary.) I clean the brush often during the process, and squeeze off the excess water. I then follow up by quickly scrubbing the area with the clean, wet toothbrush. A “tuft-end” toothbrush works best for this kind of detail work. The trick here is to keep rinsing the brushes with clean water so you don’t leave a glue wash on the surface. And don’t use them too wet; you don’t want to slop a lot of water into the joint. — Frank Ellis

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