Removing dried glue from old cabinet reface job


Old 04-28-06, 02:45 PM
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Question Removing dried glue from old cabinet reface job

My kitchen cabinets were refaced around 1980. The old veneers are starting to fall off because the glue has dried. I have new doors and veneers, and I'm going to do a new reface, but I will need to get all the old glue off the cabinet frames, sand them, then apply a bonding agent (like water-based contact cement) before doing the new veneers, so the job will hold up for a long time.

Is there any way I can remove this dried glue without dealing with toxic solvents like acetone? It isn't thick enough to chip it off, and I'm not sure it's hard enough to sand, though I suppose a coarse sandpaper with my orbital sander might do it.

I'd thought of softening it with a heat gun, but I'm afraid that might just make a mess without allowing me to really remove the glue.

Any suggestions?
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Old 04-29-06, 09:28 AM
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A sharp paint scraper should help remove a great deal of the old adhesive. Take care with it so that you don't gouge the surface.
Old 05-13-06, 06:54 PM
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A furniture scarper is best as a paint scraper is slightly convex and will not result in a flat surface.

Without solvent, you may have a messy job ahead - well actually it will probably be that way anyways. Problem with old contact cement and sanders is heat - as soon as you sand - the glue heats up and clogs the paper.

If the glue is an old contact cement using laquer thinner will soften the glue and then the bulk can be sccarped off with a putty knife - do small areas at a time and an apllicator that will not melt - also use a tarp below your work with cardboard on top - laquer thinner like acetone melts most finishes - use gloves and mask if you go this route and make sure good ventalation is in place - also make sure no one in the house reacts to the fumes - Like Acetone - they are very very strong and flammable. after this a cleaning with more laquer thinner should remove the bulk. If you will be using a solvent based contact cement for the new veneer, you do not need to remove all traces of the old glue. Just make sure the bulk is off and the surfaces smooth.

I have worked on boats and some times using a block and sand paper in a slow steady pace produces the best results in a short period of time - start rough - 36 - 60 grit and work up to 100 for finish (good enough and best for a gluing substrate).
Be careful on edges with rough sand paper - you want nice smooth flat faces and no rounded out edges or dips - these kind of defects will make your veneer work very difficult and frustrating.

The later may sound like alot of work, but it is the least messy, poses the least hazard and if you get into a rythm with some good tunes - may actually be the best way to go.
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