Hot glue trick

For those of you using hot glue to hold a workpiece down, here’s a trick I recently picked up. A little denatured alcohol completely breaks the bond on hot glue. I couldn’t believe it when I heard it, but it works. Only a little needed. And it evaporates quickly. I’m not sure what it will do on long term usage on MDF, so careful on your wasteboard.


Great to know, thanks!

You should start up a separate thread for generic tips/tricks like this, I bet there’s a lot more good stuff like this that’s being held back because it’s not X-Carve specific.

One way to help save your spoil board is by coating it with a sealer.

Personally I prefer Zinsers Sanding Sealer. (Not their shellac but their Sanding Sealer, two different items.)

I will apply a liberal coat onto MDF especially the “End-Grain”. The key is to let the finish dry before adding another coat. Allowing the sealer to dry between coats helps close up the pores in the MDF. Otherwise the sealer just keeps soaking in.

I can put three liberal coats on a MDF item over a period of 3 days allowing 24 hrs to dry between each coat.

I can also apply 6 liberal coats to a similar MDF item all in one day.

When comparing the two items the 3 coats will do a better job at sealing the MDF then the 6 coats. This is bc capillary action constantly sucks the finish in as long as it is wet. But the coats that are given time to dry in between do not absorb the finish as deeply.

This is how I treat my MDF when I want to seal it for jigs or other purposes.

It also works the same with latex primer when dealing with MDF if you want to paint the items. Or you can do like some and just seal the end grain with sheet rock spackle and sand back. But this is one job I prefer paint of some sort.


Just a FYI the alcohol might desolve the sanding sealer somewhat but the sealer can be sanded and recoated.

Using DA to break hot glue is an oldie but goodie!

Another adhesive “trick” is using acetone to break up CA (cyanoacrylate or super) glue. The “permanent” CA bond is easily broken with acetone. I keep a jar of acetone in the fridge with my CA glue bottles. When a lid sticks on the bottle cap, I take whole cap off and put on another that has been soaking in the acetone bottle.


I like that idea. I never thought of removing the caps with acetone. I usually twist them off with pliers, and end up breaking the cap or nozzle.

Tried a new trick with MDF last weekend. I sealed it with black automotive primer. Applied three coats, sanded, and then sealed it. It made a really cool finish. Obviously not appropriate for all applications but check this out. It’s like a candy shell!


What was your application method?

Looks good

Spray (rattle can)

I did the same thing with my original containers of medium and thin CA. I bought new plastic bottles from Woodcraft, along with several extra tops and caps. As soon as a CA top gets persnickety, I fish another from my acetone jar and put the used one in to clean it up.

A better cover for the waste board would be a coat or two of Poly after the sanding sealer. Poly is not affected by denatured alcohol.

Good idea. Hadn’t thought of that. I rarely use poly.

I’ve heard if you turn a can of compressed air upside down and spray the hot glue it will freeze it and then the hot glue will just chip off! Just another option!

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