Have you ever tried a home improvement project and knew right away that you didn’t really like it? This was the case with the sideboard makeover I did a while back. Only in order to correct this one, I had to figure out how to remove glue from wood.
I had found this old sideboard at an antique shop for only $50. Once I got it home, I wasn’t crazy about the color of the wood. So I decided to go farmhouse crazy on it and make it look like sliding barn doors. My husband cut the cross pieces for me and we glued them onto the doors. Then I painted and distressed the whole vintage sideboard.
I took an original piece of furniture and made it look exactly like what every furniture store was selling at the time. 🙁
I tried to live with it for a while, but the longer I did the less I liked it. Finally, I decided I would have to try and undo it and risk potentially ruining it in the process.
How To Remove Glue From Wood
Using my Furno 500 heat gun, I began applying heat to the front of the diagonal pieces and gently prying behind them to help loosen it up.
The tool I used at first for prying with was a spackle knife, but I realized pretty quickly that it wasn’t strong enough. Then I remembered I had a few metal letter openers so I tried those. They ended up being perfect for the job.
Just call me MacGyver. 😉
While this did require a good amount of elbow grease (my arms were sore the next day) it actually worked! The trick was to go slow and really loosen it up all the way from end to end before pulling it off.
At this point, the easiest route would’ve been to repaint it all and call it a day. But I really wanted to remove the paint and see the wood underneath again before deciding.
How To Remove Paint From Wood Furniture
You may remember last summer I removed paint from this vintage dresser using a chemical treatment. It didn’t occur to me to try the heat gun on that. While both are lengthy processes, I do think the heat gun was a little quicker. And it was much better not breathing in the chemical fumes.
To remove the paint, I again used the heat gun and the 5-in 1 tool for scraping. The first layer peeled off so easily it was like a dream. Unfortunately, I painted this piece with multiple layers. The bottom layers required a little more elbow grease. Once I got off as much as I could with the heat gun, I lightly sanded the rest.
Here’s the good part.
What I ended up with was a cerused, or pickled look! The white paint settled into the grooves of the wood and gave me this look that I love. I’ve tried to get this look on furniture before but it never came out this good. So this was a happy accident.
Even the wood tone was lighter than the darker original color. Much better.
But there was one more problem.
Where the diagonal pieces had been, you could see the original wood color and it obviously didn’t match the rest.
I wasn’t about to give up at this point.
Using Cerusing Wax
I found my bottle of Cerusing wax and applied it in those areas. I let it sit for about 20 minutes and wiped it off. It helped, but not enough. So I added more and waited a few hours. Then I lightly sanded it off and blended it the best that I could.
Things were looking a lot better after that step. I painted the top white mostly because this was pretty time consuming and I didn’t feel like removing the paint from there. That may change later on.
I think I still need to do a bit more blending but overall I’m really happy with how this sideboard finally turned out. It’s not perfect but perfectly imperfect is fine with me.
Now that the wood is lightened up it goes better with the map prints above it. I’ve considering changing those up but haven’t found anything large scale that I like enough to put there yet.
Do you have any tips on how to remove glue from wood? I’d love to hear them!
This post was in partnership with Wagner Spray Tech and may contain affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own, you can read my full disclosure here.