Sealing End Grain Before Staining: How To Seal End Grain With Glue
If you are interested in sealing your interior wood, then it is very important to learn how to seal end grain before staining. If you want to hide end grain, then there are various methods that can be used such as sanding or sealing with glue. There are many ways of doing it and some of them work better than others. So which method should you choose? Which one will give you the best results?
The first thing to consider is whether you have any problems with end grain. You might need to seal your interior wood if you have issues with insects crawling on it or other critters that may get into your furniture. If so, then sealing with glue would be the way to go since it will prevent those bugs from getting inside your furniture. However, if you don’t have any problems with insects crawling on your furniture, then sealing with glue won’t be necessary.
Another consideration is what kind of finish you want to use on your interior wood. Some finishes are stronger than others and will last longer when sealed with glue. Other types of finishes aren’t strong enough to withstand the pressure of being glued onto the surface they’re going to be applied too.
There are several types of glues that can be used to seal end grain. They include epoxy, polyurethane (PU), and urethane. Epoxies are generally considered safer because they don’t tend to leave any residue behind when they dry out. PU is a type of plastic that is usually made up of tiny pieces called “particles.” These particles adhere themselves together when mixed with another liquid, making it hard to remove them without damaging the surface underneath.
If you want to use a certain finish on your wood, then you’ll need to check the manufacturer’s recommendations.
The final thing to think about is how do you want to apply the sealant to the wood? Sealing with glue can be a time-consuming process and it can be difficult to get an even coat of it on your wood without going over the edges and getting it onto areas that you don’t want it too. You can’t just wipe it off either. Urethane is created by adding a catalyst to polyurethane.
When choosing a glue, it would be best to use one that is specifically designed for sealing end grain because they are stronger than general purpose glues. This means that you won’t have to use as much of it and you won’t have to worry about the integrity of your furniture falling apart in the future. Using a general purpose glue to seal the surface is alright as long as you don’t put anything too heavy on top of it and you don’t make any repairs to it in the future.
In this section, we will talk about epoxy. It is one of the strongest glues that you can use to seal end grain. General purpose glues are a lot more expensive and they can be messy to work with.
When applying the glue to your furniture, you want to make sure that you get an even coat on it. This means that you shouldn’t rush this part of the process. You will also want to sand off any excess glue that squeezes out from between the wood because it will turn into a sticky mess if you leave it there for too long. It can be rather expensive though and it may be difficult to find depending on where you live. The good thing about epoxy is that it can be used to bond many different materials such as metal, wood, fiberglass, and even some types of stone.
It comes in two separate parts that are mixed together right before you need to use it. It usually comes in a plastic chemical container that has a metal lid that you have to hammer onto it when you first open it. You should always wait at least 48 hours before applying a finish on top of the glue.
If you want to seal your end grain with nut oil, then you have quite a few options. You can either use a product that is specifically created for sealing end grain or you can mix nut oil with a bit of mineral spirits to help thin it out and make it easier to apply.
Now that you know what kind of glue you are going to use, you will need to measure out how much you will need. The easiest way to do this is to get an empty plastic container with a lid that has the same volume as the amount of glue you need. Once you have the container, label it and fill it up with the glue. Make sure that you don’t overfill it because the lid needs to be able to fit on it. If you have marked the level of the glue correctly, you will know exactly how much you need to use every time you need to glue something.
Once you have all of your materials together, it is time to build your clamping jig. Make sure that the finished dimensions are larger than your jig because you need room to clamp it together. Trust us; it is better to do this before you start gluing things together because it is a little difficult to clamp a small jig together.
Measure and cut all of your 2x4s to size. Unless you want to struggle with this project for the next few days, we would suggest that you make sure that everything is cut exactly to size. You will need eight lengths that are 12 inches long and two lengths that are 18 inches long. Round all of the edges of the 2x4s with a router and a 1/4 inch round-over bit.
Assemble the frame of the jig by driving a metal screw through the short pieces into the long pieces near each end. Glue will seep out of the joints when you do this so you should only do this step right before you are going to use it because the glue that is on the outside can make it difficult to slide your workpiece inside.
Once the jig is assembled, place it on your work surface with the top side facing up. Pull the jig slightly forward so that there is a small gap between the front edge of the jig and the edge of your work surface. Clamp a straight piece of wood to each side of the jig so that they lean against the inside of the jig and extend beyond the front end by 3 or 4 inches.
The wood pieces will serve as a temporary fence to keep your workpiece at the proper width. The gap between the jig and your temporary fence should be just slightly less than the width of your workpiece.
Move the jig and temporary fence assembly against your miter saw. Move the saw so that the tip of its blade is centered on the left side of the gap between the temporary fence and the jig. Tighten the clamps on the temporary fence on both sides.
You can now make multiple cuts across the top side of all of your workpieces to create pieces that are exactly the same width. All you have to do is move the jig and the blade tip over 1/2 an inch, clamp on a different piece of wood on both sides, and cut another set of pieces.
Move the jig and temporary fence over 1/2 an inch and clamp on another set of boards to trim. When you have trimmed all of your workpieces, you can remove the temporary fence.
You should now have a stack of perfectly sized pieces for building the outer walls of your cabinet carcasses.
Work out the spacing that you like best and trim all of your pieces to those dimensions. Splitting them into even groups makes it easy to handle them while you glue them up because you can toss them around without any worry of them sliding away from each other.
The primary reason for making them slightly wider than the finished piece is because of the 1/4 inch lip that will be around all four sides of the finished shelf. When two pieces are glued together, this creates a 1/2 inch lip on three sides. This will keep anything that you store on the shelf from falling off, but still allow you to pull the item forward if needed.
Place an even number of the trimmed pieces side by side and edge to edge. You can stagger them left to right for a different look, but the gluing process works the same.
Apply iron on edge banding to all of the exposed edges.
Glue both pieces together, clamp them, and let the glue dry.
If you are making a large number of these, especially across several sessions, you can number the pieces so that you put them together in the correct order. This will help you from getting them confused and making adjustments as you go along.
For pieces that are longer than your work surface, glue two of the same numbers together so that they hang over each end by a few inches. Glue the next pair the same way on top of these. Do this for as many as it takes to complete the length you need. These can then be cut off and sanded flush after the glue has dried.
The one you built is for the right side. This is why it has a cross brace under the top shelf. You can make the other one mirror image of this one and not have it, or you can build another one just like this one and attach it to the left side. That way you have a shelf across from the door.
You don’t know how the room is going to be used, but you can see a chest of drawers and a standing lamp fitting in that space. It would also give you more room to move around in the closet. You could add recessed shelves on both sides of the interior walls or add another cross brace going from the front wall to the back wall, 24 inches up, and install a clothes rod. That would give you somewhere to hang clothes that you want to keep out of the closet.
You really need to do something about lighting in here, though. The lamp doesn’t put out enough light to counter act the darkness when the door is closed. You could put a light in the center of the ceiling and have it wired so that it comes on when the switch is flipped. You could also cut a square hole in the closet door and have a halogen light in the corner so that it lights the inside of the closet. Both of these would be powered by a light socket installed just inside the doorway, so that you wouldn’t need to run an ugly cord through the house.
It would be really creepy to have the light come on when you flip the switch, knowing that something is wrong with the wiring.
You could also paint the room. We don’t have much in the way of exterior lighting, so it would be pretty easy to add some spotlights around the foundation that would light it up pretty well. I’ve been trying to conserve energy, though, so I’d rather not use too much additional power unless it is really needed.
Great! Now you have another project to do when you have time.
You go back inside and flip the switch. Nothing happens, of course.
You feel around for the panel on the right side of the door. It is a bit tricky since you are trying not to knock anything else over at the same time.
You find the box and remove it from the wall.
It is pretty grungy in here, but it doesn’t look like there is any serious water damage. There is a thick layer of dust and dirt everywhere, but that isn’t going to be a problem since you aren’t going to be eating off the floor. You do see some holes in the sheetrock near the floor and several places where the insulation has been chewed through.
You find the main power supply and flip the correct breakers until they click into place.
Feeling somewhat defeated, you walk back through the house to make sure everything else is off, including the water heater. If you can’t wash, then at least you can stop wasting your money on water.
You go back to the fuse box and remove the main power supply again before returning to the bathroom and flipping the breaker back on.
You sit on the toilet lid and look around as your eyes become accustomed to the light. There are a few cobwebs here and there, but it could be much worse. You shrug and stand up to investigate.
You move the shower curtain to the side and notice that it is made out of a heavy material that should help prevent flooding in the event of an overzealous turning off of the water supply. You are impressed at this small, yet incredibly important detail.
You move to the tub and kneel down as you run your hand over the enamel surface. It feels slightly gritty, but not enough to be irritating. You run your hand over the bottom where it meets the drain and can’t feel any seams. This thing is made to last.
You look behind it and see that it is securely fastened to the wall studs making it very unlikely that it would ever pull free from the wall.
This thing is huge! You are used to your tiny clawfoot in the old apartment, but you hardly ever used that and did most of your bathing at the gym. This will certainly come in handy.
You notice a small cabinet to the right of the sink and open it up. Inside you find shelf after shelf of neatly folded white towels, wash cloths, and linen sheets. You take out two sets of fresh linen and close the door.
You head back to the fuse box and flip the other three switches down.
The lights in the kitchen come on, as well as the exhaust fan over the stove. The refrigerator initiates its own power source and kicks on. You hear an odd sound coming from the far end of the house that quickly fades. You walk towards the back bedroom and look inside.
You immediately cover your eyes and step backward.
The room is bathed in a pale white and you can barely look at anything directly. You move to the left until your eyes adjust just enough that you can look around, but it still burns your vision if you stare directly at anything. You move back towards the door and look inside.
The floors and walls are bathed in a white so pure that it seems to reflect everything around it. You reach out and touch the floor and recoil from the intense heat. The surface of the sun is nothing compared to this!
Your eyes finally adjust and you can now make out some of the details in the room. There are strange symbols drawn all over the walls, ceiling, and floor. You can’t discern the meaning of any of them, but they do seem to draw the eye and keep your attention.
You begin to notice that some of the tiles on the floor aren’t QUITE white. They almost have a pale blue tint to them, but you are sure that it is just an illusion created by the contrast with the pure white tiles around them. You reach down and pick one up. It isn’t a tile at all, but a very fine, loose powder. You take a pinch of it and slowly blow it away as it billows up around your hand like smoke.
It comes in contact with the burn on the side of your face and you can feel the skin tighten and sear as if you had poured acid on it. You drop the rest of the powder to the floor and jump through the door as flames burst out of the tile where it fell.
You slam the door shut behind you and lean up against it. You can already feel the warmth of the fire on the other side. You open the cabinet under the sink and pull out the bottle of bleach, pouring a circle of it on the floor around the bathroom and stepping inside. You hear a loud crash from inside the bathroom and look in to see that the sink had somehow melted along with part of the counter top. The fan in the ceiling had fallen down and was sputtering out a trail of flames as electricity ran along exposed wires.
Sources & references used in this article:
- The effectiveness of end-grain sealers in improving paint performance on softwood joinery (ER Miller, J Boxall – Holz als Roh-und Werkstoff, 1984 – Springer)
- The effectiveness of end-grain sealers in improving paint performance in softwood joinery (ER Miller, J Boxall – Holz als Roh-und Werkstoff, 1987 – Springer)
- Wood Finishing & Refinishing: Sealing, Staining, and Filling (LK Hawks – 1995 – digitalcommons.usu.edu)
- Understanding extractive bleed: wood extractives: distribution, properties, and classes (E Burke, N Slavik, T Bonura, D Connelly… – … Vol. 7, no. 3 (Mar. 2010 …, 2010 – fs.usda.gov)
- Protecting exposed ends of timber beams in the Puget Sound area (AE Oviatt – 1975 – books.google.com)
- Wood substrate—the foundation (ER Miller – Surface Coatings International Part B: Coatings …, 2005 – Springer)
- Furniture Refinishing…” Smoothing bare woods: staining and filling woods”. (J Slabaugh – Leaflet/Texas Agricultural Extension Service; …, 1971 – oaktrust.library.tamu.edu)
- Degradation of Norway spruce (Picea abies) heartwood and sapwood during 5.5 years’ above-ground exposure (K Sandberg – Wood Material Science and Engineering, 2008 – Taylor & Francis)
- Performance of wax-impregnated timber out of ground contact: results from long-term field testing (S Williams, M Knaebe, W Feist – Fine Homebuilding, 1997 – THE TAUNTON PRESS, INC.)