How to Remove Old Wood Glue From Furniture

Furniture makers typically apply glue to the joints of furniture to help hold the pieces together.
You may need to take a piece of furniture apart when refinishing it.You may need to take a piece of furniture apart when refinishing it.
When refinishing a piece of furniture it is usually necessary to remove the old glue. Early furniture makers used animal glue, which is water-soluble. It is possible to soften animal glue by moistening it with water, while modern glue tends to resist water. Heat will soften most types of glue. If it is animal glue, moisture and heat is effective.

Step 1

Soak a cloth with hot water and apply to the glue. If it is not animal glue, skip this step.

Step 2

Pry the moistened glue with a chisel to loosen it. If the glue does not budge, go onto the next step.

Step 3

Aim a handheld hair dryer at the glue and heat it. Overheating can dry out the wood; therefore heat the glue only until it softens.

Step 4

Insert the tip of the chisel between the glue and the wood to pry off the glue.

Step 5

Scrape the softened glue from the wood joint. Avoid scrapping off too much wood.

Things You Will Need

  • Cloth
  • Hair dryer
  • Chisel

About the Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.