Gluing up finished wood?

Hello -
I am finishing up my very first non-carpentry/non-trim wood working project. I have made a "mail sorter" to hand on the wall to organize the tons of mail that tend to pile up around the house. It is made out of poplar (was cheap) using dados and some tongues and grooves for the joints.
All I have left to do is apply a finish and glue things up. Because I won't be able to get a brush (or other applicator) between the "shelves" of the mail sorter once it is glued up, I need to apply the finish first. So, my question is: Do I need to keep the finish out of the joints that will be glued?
I am using an oil-based stain (Minwax Red Mahogany--nicely compensates for the yellow-green color of the poplar) and will then follow up with several coats of poly. Would it be bad to get either the stain or the poly on the mating surfaces of the joints I will be gluing?
Thanks!
- Josh
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wherever you get finish, glue won't work.
mask it off, or figure out some way to spray your finishes on.

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Glue works by going into the wood. If it is finished, it can't soak. That said, a dye would probably be okay, though I haven't tried it. Or, glue it up with epoxy or polyurethane. They won't care about the finish.
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Trouble with that, though, is that the strength of the joint is then limited by the strength of the bond between the finish and the wood. While that may be sufficient for some applications, be aware that it will produce a *very* weak joint.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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Glue tends to work best on bare wood.
That said, you can either sand the joint areas after applying the finish or you can mask off that area with masking tape.
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