How to Remove Gorilla Glue from Wood: 6 Easy Ways

Gorilla Glue can mend almost anything. It can glue wood, metal, ceramics, cardboard, and fabric making it one of the most trusted industrial glues. But despite its amazing ability to stick to different materials, it’s one of the hardest to remove especially on wood. We’ll discuss how to remove Gorilla Glue from wood using simple items around the house.

Why is Gorilla Glue very hard to remove?

Gorilla Glue is a widely popular glue because of its amazing strength and durability. This versatile glue is completely waterproof, resistant to high and low temperatures as well. Gorilla Glue has a water-activated polyurethane blend that can expand through a material’s form which forms the unbreakable bond.

Gorilla Glue is polyurethane while Super Glue, another very popular glue, is made from cyanoacrylate. Super Glue needs to be clamped or held in position to ensure proper bonding while Super Glue does not.

Things you need to remove Gorilla Glue

The following are some everyday things you will need to remove Gorilla Glue

  • Clean dry rags – you will use these to wipe and blot out Gorilla Glue
  • Solvents such as acetone – solvents can dissolve the glue and remove it from many surfaces
  • Pain scraper or an old credit card – this tool can scrape off glue from a wooden surface
  • Chisel – a small 3/8 chisel would do, use a small hammer to work with this chisel
  • Sandpaper – start from 60 and move to 100-grit
  • Heat gun or hairdryer – heat can soften glue enough to remove it
  • Cardboard cover for your working area – you must always use cardboard over wood to protect the surface from glue drips and spills
  • Wood stain or varnish – natural varnish is good for wood
  • Wood filler – a wood filler material can fill gaps and pits that you may create out of removing glue marks.

Instructions

1. Remove glue spills ASAP!

The trick with removing Gorilla Glue is to start wiping spills right away. Once the glue dries (which is mostly just a few seconds!) it would have bonded with the material you’re working with permanently.

  1. Avoid any spills. Use only a small drop as you only need a small amount to repair or glue materials together. 
  2. Use a piece of cardboard to cover the table’s surface.
  3. Wipe drops of glue immediately with a dry, clean rag. Do not wipe the spill sideways, just blot the spill off.

2. Removing Gorilla Glue using solvents

One way to remove Gorilla Glue from wood is by using solvents like acetone. Take note that some woods do not work well with solvents. You will instantly notice some discoloration on the area where you applied the glue. To check the effects of acetone, apply this to a hidden area like the back of the furniture or on the legs. If all goes well, you can proceed with using acetone to remove Gorilla Glue.

  1. Wipe the drip or glue from the surface of the wood. Remove any sticky spots.
  2. Take a few drops of acetone on a cotton tip applicator.
  3. Wipe the spills and drops gently with acetone. The glue will come off in a few seconds but will leave marks on the wood.
  4. You can use wood stain to remedy the discolored part. Apply two to three coats of wood stain.

3. Use a flat tool

A metal scraper is used to remove dried paint or old paint on any surface. Because Gorilla Glue sticks very well on wood, a flat tool like a scrapper will lightly remove the gooey top but not completely everything.

  1. Wipe the spill or drop with a dry cloth.
  2. Use a metal scraper. Gently lift a portion of the glue from the wood. It may take a few tries to clear the top portion of a spill.
  3. Feel the affected part with your hand; the glue is still stuck inside the material. You may use acetone to remove the stuck glue. Same as the above, use a cotton tip applicator dipped in acetone. Wipe the area until the glue is off.
  4. You may leave a discolored mark on the surface so apply varnish or stain. Apply this three or more times to completely cover the affected area. 

4. Chisel glue off

As you may know by now, Gorilla Glue will penetrate deep into different materials especially wood. Wood is very porous and this glue will move into the many small cracks and crevices. If you’re removing old Gorilla Glue on wood, you cannot use ordinary means like solvents and flat tools. You must chisel the glue off.

  1. Use a small chisel to make careful cuts. Apply minimal force to remove the glued layer; use a small hammer.
  2. Once the glued piece is off, inspect the area.
  3. You may apply wood filler to the hole or removed area. Wood fillers come in different colors and grains; read the instructions on how to use wood fillers to ensure great results.

5. Sand the area off

If the glued area is not as large, you can sand the Gorilla Glue off.

  1. Use large grit sandpaper and fasten it on a sand block.
  2. After scratching the surface and removing much of the glue, you may use finer grit sandpaper. Continue sanding the area until you have removed all the Gorilla Glue.
  3. Use wood filler on the area. Apply using a scrapper.
  4. Use varnish after the wood filler has completely dried.  Apply at least three coats of varnish to completely protect the area.

6. Use a hairdryer or heat gun

Heating glue can peel it off. In the case of Gorilla Glue, heating it will only loosen the surface but not all the glue that has penetrated the material. According to Gorilla Glue manufacturer, the glue will begin to soften at about 215 degrees Celsius.

  1. Use a heat gun to apply concentrated heat on the glued area.
  2. Wait until the glue has softened and removed it with a metal scraper.
  3. If there is discoloration or damage on the surface, apply varnish or stain in three coats.

In most cases, heating Gorilla Glue will liquefy it so it’s easier to remove. However, the unaffected surface of the wood may become ruined if you don’t work carefully. It’s best if you use a heat gun as this applies concentrated heat to the area. Some heat guns have digital controls so you can select the temperature.

Do you have other ways how to remove Gorilla Glue from wood? No matter what method you use, make sure to work only on the affected part and take care not to ruin nearby areas. Always be careful when working with Gorilla Glue and other tough adhesives.

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