How to get PVA glue off

Hi all, We have recently made an oak staircase, which was glued together at the joints. Excess glue was wiped off with a damp cloth at the time, and bits which escaped this were scraped off with a chisel when dry. I am currently staining and varnishing and the stain doesn't take where the glue was wiped. I could sand this off but there is alot of it, mostly in awkward corners and having just sanded, vacuumed and wiped the whole thing I have no desire to start sanding again! Does anyone know of a product which would remove the glue remains? Chemical name rather than product name if possible since we are in France.
TIA Holly
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Holly wrote:

I doubt there will be a solvent which can dissolve set PVA without adversely affecting the wood surface. Trichloroethane certainly dissolves polymerised PVA, but don't rtry that on the wood!
I think that sanding is really going to be the only solution. If you have lots to do, it's probably a good idea to fing a suitable powered sander. A small reciprocating sander might be good, to get in all the tight spaces.
--
Grunff

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where
It seems you are right.

Well, after trying all the scraping methods and finding them too difficult, I have resurrected my old B&D multi-sander. I have even fixed the problem of the little diamond shaped tip flying off every five minutes by drilling out the hole and using a small nut and bolt! It does seem to be working, it just means all the vaccuming and wiping all over again....
Holly
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Scraper is your best bet (Cabinet scraper that is)
I don't know why people recommend wiping off excess pva glue with a wet cloth as this is the inevitable result.
Careful use then removal of any excess when it has just gone off, with a sharp chisel works best for me.
--
Paul Mc Cann

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Paul Mc Cann wrote:

very sharp chisel, very carefully, very slowly, bit at a time.
RT
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says...

If you catch it at just the right stage it will pop off.
Sometimes masking tape on the surrounding area prior to glue up can be worth the trouble.
--
Paul Mc Cann

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PVA seals wood, and wiping off the excess doesn't prevent that, so any stain will penetrate less in that area and give you a different colour. A stain based on a strong solvent might cut through the pva but these are hard to come by nowadays. Naptha, toluene, xylene etc. A tinted varnish, which is designed to sit closer to the surface, should give you less colour differential. You could pva the whole section where the problem occurs. Sounds silly, but it would give you a uniformly less porous surface to work with. IME allowing dyes to freely penetrate isn't a good idea anyway, especially the darker shades.
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Thanks for the replies. I'm not ignoring you all, I'm busy with my plumbers mate hat on today but will reply tomorrow with comments and results of experiments....
H
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stuart noble wrote in message ...

It seems it does if done carefully, see other message,

Exactly!
I wasn't being accurate when I said "stain". I'm actually using a coloured wood treatment product which will be followed by Diamond Coat or similar.
I would usually use clear wood treatment followed by tinted varnish, probably diluted with clear varnish since the colours are often too strong, but good quality varnish is hard to find in France and very expensive. Also what I am trying to do is match the new oak to older oak already in the building - don't know why I'm bothering really, since timber in the main house has all ended up the same colour, but I didn't really want to wait 300 years or so :-) The varnish is much better over PVA, but I have had problems with that too on timber from Douglas fir, over some french wood filler which also seems to have a component which soaks in.
BTW what is the name of timber which comes from Douglas fir? We used it because we had alot of it going to waste in our woods, where it came down in the storm of 1999, and it is really quite nice, a reddish colour, looks like something between red deal and pitch pine.

Not a bad idea, that, but it's too late now since ballusters, handrails and outside and tops of stringers are already done!
Thanks for all the replies Holly
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Douglas fir is Douglas fir. A flowery orange grain, slightly sticky. Somewhere between ordinary redwood and pitch pine in terms of weight and durability. Always reminds me of churches where it was used extensively for pews in Victorian times. Bleaches beautifully BTW if you want to reduce the orange glow.
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The trouble I've found is that by this stage it's soaked into the wood and the wood will then not absorb the varnish and those bits look lighter.

I'll try this next time I need to varnish a job that's been PVAed together.
--
bof at bof dot me dot uk

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says...

I can't seem to get anywhere with these at all. I think you need a fair amount of skill and co-ordination to be able to use one properly and alas I seem to have neither! I'm using one on some kitchen cupboard doors atm, where I can remove the doors and alter the angle I am working at, but in the corners on the staircase it is hopeless. The glue residue is not on the surface, it is just where the PVA has soaked into the wood, and the oak is just too hard to scrape away. Sharp chisel is a bit better but overall I have found that sanding, which I have now resorted to, seems easier and alot less risky for the staircase!

I have found that it is only on one side of one of four short flights, where the stringer meets the treads and risers, that I have a real problem with this after all, it just so happens that the problem area was where I started. So it seems that very careful wiping with the wet cloth did in fact work pretty well, we must just have been less careful in this area. On some areas underneath, which originally we intended to box in but are now leaving exposed, we used the chisel method. Certainly it is easier to do it this way, but it still leaves the problem where the glue has soaked in. The advantage is that the area affected is much smaller and less noticeable, but would still have been a visible problem where treads meet risers for example. So overall I don't think there is much to choose between the two methods. If I were doing it again I would wipe the glue, but very carefully indeed, and as quickly as possible after it was applied.
On small delicate projects your idea of masking tape would be good, but wouldn't have been practical on a staircase.
Holly
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Hi,
Try steaming it and scraping or gently scrubbing it. It'll also raise the grain which will need sanding back down. Try an inconspicious area first!
cheers, Pete.
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