Glue Line Failure in Cherry Panels

Are these joint failures due to product or process? May 10, 2005

From time to time we have trouble edge gluing cherry. We glue up hard and soft maple, oak, hickory, and so on, but cherry tends to be a bit of a problem. Once the panels (3/4) are glued, sometimes they come apart. I have sampled with more glue, less glue, less pressure, more pressure. Any thoughts?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
I use Titebond II and rarely have a problem with fall apart joints, although it has happened on occasion. Wipe your edges with denatured alcohol or acetone before applying the glue. Wait for it to flash off.

You shouldn't have to wipe your edges with a solvent. Cherry is no different than any of the other woods that you have mentioned.

Yellow glue is very user-friendly. You can clamp it very tight (leaving impressions on the edge) or you can snug your pieces together. More glue is better than not enough, but don't overdo it. A small amount of squeeze out along the edges will ensure that you have adequate coverage.

How do you prep your material? Are you sure that the edges are jointed straight and perpendicular? Yellow glue is not meant to fill gaps. Even polyurethanes are not designed for gaps over .005 (about a sheet of paper). Yellow glue has less tolerance than that.

I would focus on your technique for preparing the edges. Lay everything out and put the edges together as they will be assembled. If there is a gap with no pressure, then you need to get them straight. Don't expect glue and clamps to compensate for edges that are not straight and true.

You really should not have issues with cherry as opposed to maple.

One thing I've been doing for years for my edge glue up (though I can't remember why I started doing it): I keep a jar of very thinned Titebond (25% Titebond and 75% water). I first wash the edges with this, wait a few minutes for it to be absorbed, and then use the regular glue.

I have glued cherry panels for many years with Titebond and have never had one come apart. I use a liberal amount of glue (probably more than I should) and leave in the
clamps for at least 4 hours. We don't do any heavy sanding or machining for 24 hours. We saw the pieces with a glue line rip blade, which gives a good gluing surface. I am currently using Titebond Extend, which is working well with a little more open time.

I would tend to look more at your edges than anything else. The simplest way to see if they're acceptable is to lay the edge on a flat surface (something you know is flat, not something that should be flat). Place a dollar bill under it, and when you pull the bill out, there should be resistance. If not, you have a bad edge. Cherry as well as maple has a tendency to burnish. If your blade is dull, this will happen. It's easy enough to tell - if your edges appear glossy, shiny, or slightly charred or burnt, they're burnished and will not accept the glue as well.

I would buy some new glue. Is it possible your glue got frozen?

If you run the edges of two boards on the jointer, or even get them reasonably straight on a table saw, you could run a nice bead of glue on one edge, rub the two edges together and then stand the two together vertically on edge until the glue dries (no clamps). After drying, if you try to break this joint, it will break somewhere other than right at the glue line. The guy that uses glue thinned with water (glue sizing) should limit its use to end grain application, where it helps seal the pores if you let it dry and then apply undiluted glue. This is not required on long grain edges.

We use Titebond II yellow glue. We put it on with a small paint roller and clamp for 30 minutes at 75 degrees. We widebelt in 45 minutes. Just did 800 cherry panels without any trouble.