How To Use A Hot Glue Gun In Construction

Too many people think that hot glue guns are just for arts and crafts. Here are some ingenious ways you can utilize a hot glue gun in the workshop!

Hot Glue Gun
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Hot glue guns... a workshop essential?

A lot of people think that hot glue guns are just for school projects and holiday decorations, but hot glue guns can be used for a lot more than simple arts and crafts. Bring a hot glue gun into your workshop and soon you'll wonder how you ever got anything done without one!

Here are some of our favorite hot glue tips. With a little creativity, you can find uses for a hot glue gun no matter what the project.

Temporary Fence
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Fasten a temporary fence

When you’re woodworking, you often need a temporary fence or stop on a table saw or router table or other power tools. Clamps aren’t always an option because they can get in the way, and you probably don’t want to drill holes in the machine’s fence or table for bolts or screws. Instead, use a few dollops of hot glue to hold your temporary fence in place (see below).

Glue parts together for easier shaping and sanding!
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Hot-glue parts together for shaping and sanding

When you have several identical parts to make, hot-glue them together and work on them all at once. This will save you lots of time, and all the pieces will be exactly the same. Don’t use too much glue—just a little dab will do ya. Use too much and it can be nearly impossible to separate the parts later. Apply glue near edges so you can easily cut it with a putty knife later.

Remove glue with a chisel
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Remove leftover glue with a chisel

If possible, place glue dabs where they’ll be trimmed off later, such as along edges or on ends. Then you won’t have to deal with glue residue. But if you do have glue dabs to remove, shave them off with a sharp chisel held flat to the board. Get as much as you can without gouging the wood, and then sand off the residue. Be sure to get it all—leftover glue won’t accept finishes.

Cut, twist and seperate
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Tip: Cut and then twist to separate

Hot glue is a tenacious fastener. If you just pry apart the wood, you’re very likely to tear out some of the grain along with the glue. Instead, cut through the glue blob at one end with a putty knife. Then twist the boards apart to free the other end. That’ll break the bond without damaging the wood.

Glue small parts to a pedastel
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Glue small parts to a pedestal

Sometimes it’s impossible, impractical or downright dangerous to hold small pieces in your hand while you shape or sand them. So just hot-glue them to a temporary pedestal and clamp that in a vise while you work on them.

Hot glue for pattern routing
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Hot glue for pattern routing

The best way to make multiple identical parts is to first create a perfect pattern from 1/2-in. MDF. Then cut out the parts slightly oversize, and final-shape them by using a router and a pattern bit to transfer the shape to the part. The best way to temporarily attach the pattern is with hot glue

Position drawer fronts
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Position drawer fronts

When you’re installing new cabinet drawer fronts, apply hot glue, align the fronts perfectly in the cabinet opening and hold them against the drawer box until the glue sets. Then pull out the drawer and fasten them permanently with screws from the back.

Secure mirrors in frames
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Secure mirrors or glass in cabinet doors

Swivel clamps are typically used to hold glass in cabinet door rabbets. But hot glue is a quick, rattle-free alternative. Just don’t skimp on the glue or the glass may fall out. If you ever need to remove the glass, just heat the back with a heat gun to soften the glue.

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