Things That Aren’t True Anymore…Glue Does Stick Well To End Grain!

Saturday, December 11, 2021
Virtual Meeting Available

Meeting Agenda

Meeting Date: December 11, 2021

9:30 AM: Member join and social time

10:00 AM: Club Business

10:15 AM: Presentation

This will be a virtual-only meeting using the WebEx platform.

One of the oldest axioms in woodworking is that glue doesn’t really adhere well to end grain, implying that glue joints where one or both surfaces are end grain are, at best, inferior.  I’ve “known” this my entire woodworking life and have been an active proponent/teacher of avoiding this condition when designing or executing woodworking projects.  Well, it appears that I have been wrong about some of these long-accepted tenets, and I’d like to share the research that has led me to this awakening, and how we might all consider changing some of our woodworking techniques as a result.

I have recently become aware of some impressive investigation/testing by Patrick Sullivan in a 16-minute video called Glue Myths: 1. End Grain, which can be found here:  This video has kind of blown up the Internet for many “connected” woodworkers, so my guess is that some of you have already seen it.  If you haven’t, it might be a good idea to watch it once before the meeting.  We will be watching the video in its entirety during the meeting, partly for those members who haven’t previously seen it, and partly because a second watching will allow you to possibly glean additional information that will help you in the discussion that follows.  While it’s not normally our practice to watch videos as program content, this video is done so well that it’s by far the best way to tell the “story,” which is (spoiler alert!), that glue does indeed adhere incredibly well to end grain surfaces and, as a result, we might need to rethink some long-held beliefs about joint strength and use.

After watching the video, I will provide commentary and some physical examples of ways in which this new information might change the way we choose which joints to use, how we spread glue, how/why these age-old “rules” may have started in the first place, and, most importantly, avoiding misuse of this new information in our methods of work.  I have spent a lot of time thinking about this video, talking with others, watching other related videos, and reading lots of comments from other woodworkers looking to better understand the impact of this new understanding of how some glues work (only a PVA glue, Titebond II, was tested).  In addition to my own thoughts based on years of professional experience, my commentary will include a synthesis of many of the ideas/questions that were raised by others in my research reading.  In addition to your questions during the presentation, we hope to have a lively discussion or Q&A after the video and commentary are concluded. 

As an aside, I became aware of this video because one of our members, Matt Kollar, forwarded a link to Ken Bayer, one of our Program Directors, with a simple comment something like, “You gotta see this…!”  This is how this program idea got started and is a great example of member-generated requests/ideas for programs.  Thanks, Matt! For everyone else, let’s keep those ideas coming.

— Bill James

Meeting Highlights