Advice on breaking Animal glue joints.

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Hi fellows. 35 years ago we had a Teak desk made in Singapore, very solid with both pedestal sides, top and drawer fronts out of 25mm Teak. Even the drawer internals were all Teak of thinner dimensions. It outlived its usefulness so knocked it apart and have some nice well seasoned Teak.
Decided to use it for my new passion of turning segmented bowls and cut a couple of segment strips off one of the sides. On cutting a third there was a ping ping ping, and on inspecting it was nails. I think my Triton TCT blade survived but to avoid a repeat I need to separate the boards making up the sides and top so I can remove the nails. I thought they were just glued but obviously biscuit joins were not prevalent 35 years ago. I know heat will melt the animal glue but how do you handle large pieces. I am not into making decorative finishes with a blow torch. :?

Chris Knight

Established Member
14 Jan 2004
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SE London - NW Kent
A palette knife, heated in a saucepan of very hot water is good. both water and heat will soften the glue and the knife helps separate the components.


:D Thanks everyone particularly johnelliot. Heat and steam did the trick, borrowed SWMBO's steam floor mop and the joints came apart fairly easily with very little tear out. At least I can now get the nails out before cutting. Many thanks for all suggestions.