Wood Glue as Vinyl Cleaner

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by Mopic5, Feb 7, 2007.

  1. Mopic5

    Mopic5 Super Member

    Update: August 31, 2009
    Time travelling 2 ½ years after this original post, you can choose to “cut to the chase” on page 34 where a summary of the method (at least, mine) and some comparative results in both sight and sound have been posted.
    Still there’s a great deal of wealth and laughs to be found by plodding through it all from the beginning. Sometimes we learn just as well, if not better, from our mistakes and there are a few false starts and not too hot ideas within. But for the most part, there is a lot of clear thinking and experimentation that came into play. Thanks to all who have contributed.
    All best,
    Mario (Mopic5)

    After hearing the boys over in Europe chat this one up, I decided to give it a go. It’s a bit “fiddly” as they say over there and it does takes a bit of practice, but even my first attempt on a not-so-loved ancient and filthy specimen, produced a dramatic, near elimination of surface noise. Better than the proVPI clean that I’ve been paying $1.50 a pop to have done.
    This is the “Before” shot AFTER I spent nearly two minutes cleaning it with my non-aggressive Audioquest brush. To prep the record for the wood glue, I used 4 small pieces of vinyl (First-aid) tape and placed them halfway into the run-in space of the record at the 4 compass points. This is to help peel back the dried glue film.
    The premise in all this is that plastic vinyl is very resistant to glue adhesion. Wood glue being predominantly made up of polyvinyl acrylate and is a close cousin to polyvinyl chloride (LPs) so they get on well together without any plasticising transfers – at least, for the short run. When they do come apart, gobs of junk caught in the grooves throughout the ages lifts off with the glue.
    This was my first attempt. A little too much – probably about 40-45 grams of glue when 30 grams probably would have done the job. Too little – and it’ll be the devil trying to get it off in big pieces – the ideal being to get the film to peel back in one big piece. Too much – you risk having trapped pockets of undried glue. I used an old credit card to spread the glue on an old churning Rek-O-Kut. If you make it just a bit thicker toward the lip, this will help to give purchase for lift off. Normally this should take about 4-5 hours to dry (1/2 hour after it becomes transparent). Mine took about 8 hours.
    Not one piece, but about four – not too bad though. I’ll try some tape on the run-out space next time.
    Through this “death mask” impression, the grooves modulations are easy to see. While there is some dirt pictured here, a lot of the big stuff is small imperfections on the vinyl that were magnified by bubbling as the glue dried.
    Seeing, is not always believing. But hearing is. Snap, Crackle and Pop have left the building.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2009
  2. jpchleapas

    jpchleapas Active Member

    I can just imagine what this has done to your stylus tip. John
  3. Klownschool

    Klownschool Mouth open = can't hear Subscriber

    The picture is mighty convincing. It is sort of a catch 22 though. Who has time to spend cleaning one record for eight hours. Then when you do have a really rare record that isn't in the best shape, you run the risk of damaging it even further or worse, beyond repair. I might still give this a go with a couple records. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  4. Mopic5

    Mopic5 Super Member

    What do you mean?

    I know the idea seems scary, but there's really little risk here. The glue wants to come off. Even if you've got a stubborn bit - that you can't seem to get off, just slop a little more glue on that area and run it back to the run-in space with new tape and let it dry. Then lift it off.

    As for your other point, when I take records down to my audio store to get cleaned, I don't take them one at a time, I do a bunch.

    - Mario
  5. Klownschool

    Klownschool Mouth open = can't hear Subscriber

    I have a vpi cleaner so I do them at home in bunches too. Wow, 1.50 a record! That seems high but it does do a great job.

    "As for your other point, when I take records down to my audio store to get cleaned, I don't take them one at a time, I do a bunch."

    But you cannot do the glue method in bunches. It still seems to me that I would only do this in rare occasions while I would use my vpi all the time and frequently. That being said I still think the glue method is really cool.

  6. soundoc03

    soundoc03 Super Member

    What brand of wood glue did you use?
  7. jeffn

    jeffn Mid-Fi Crisis

    Mmmm, maybe you can 'play' the glue once removed as a kind of COPY.
    Was the glue called "LP-Copy" by any chance?
  8. Bigerik

    Bigerik AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Certainly one of the more interesting posts I have come across. Doubt this will be my usual approach to record cleaning.... :)
  9. spartanmanor

    spartanmanor AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Interesting. Does seem like a lot of work per album though.
  10. ozmoid

    ozmoid Lunatic Member

    Not so much "work" as a lot of "wait".
  11. spartanmanor

    spartanmanor AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I'm impatient so waiting for something to be done is like work to me....lol.

    I want to choose an album to play clean it and hear the music.
  12. Mopic5

    Mopic5 Super Member

    Hi Rick,

    No doubt about this method being a production, but once you’ve finished applying the glue, there’s no reason to leave it on the “turntable” and no reason not to glue up a half dozen more and go do something else while they dry. But overall your point is well taken and the wood glue won’t stop me from continuing on in building a washing type record cleaner along the lines of Andyman’s/Jimmy Neutron’s. But I suspect that the glue may become my method of choice for a deep clean. Something “grates” in my mind about brushing “who knows what?” in solution along the groove channels only to have a majority of it sucked up by its broad brush vacuum. Keith Monk’s single groove vacuum attack certainly seems to get it all out – but you still do the brush wash.

    Franklin’s Titebond. Though cheaper brands seem to work fine in Europe. Just as long as it’s not too runny.

    When I taped the pieces of the stripped off glue back together and played it on my Rek-O-Kut (having to play it from the inside out), I distinctly heard Toscanini yelling above the backwards music that Paul was dead!

    - Mario
  13. Marantz Man

    Marantz Man Mmmm, Rotel you say???

    This is turning out to be a real interesting bit of advice.

    Is it possible/viable to somehow sandwich the glue and 'stack a few discs together? Atleast you would get twice the usage from one layer of glue!!
  14. Mopic5

    Mopic5 Super Member

    By the way... While I'm sure everybody understands this, DO NOT do this on shellac 78s.
  15. Mopic5

    Mopic5 Super Member

    Hi Marantz Man,

    My guess is that this might lead to a stack of trouble, however a varient of what you suggest is practiced.
    Lay down one layer of glue with the credit card - let it dry for an hour or two, then come back and place three or four strips of very thick, coarse bond paper along the radial axis and brush on some more wood glue.
    This method apparently almost always yields a one-piece lift off.

    - Mario
  16. totem

    totem AK Subscriber Subscriber

    There was a recent thread regarding a one piece stick on film that was applied and then peeled off, not far from this idea, and also had impressive results.
    Most wood glue of this type has a good till date on it, I wonder if you could buy some after good till date at next to nothing, due the non wood bonding application it would make little difference on vinyl.
  17. jmathers

    jmathers AK Subscriber Subscriber

  18. outlawmws

    outlawmws On the Run

    Very interesting thread, especially if you have a record that resists cleaning.

    Mario, Are you sure of the chemical name you have used as the basis of wood glue?

    I looked up polyvinyl acrylate (Wondering about chemical reactions and the possibility of some solvent in the wood glue attacking the vinyl) and got nothing found for that, but on Google got that is was a paint?

    For wood glue I got this from Wikipedia:

    I got this under Polyvinyl acetate:

    Hydroylized alcohol

    I’d guess this would help break the crud off and allow the glue to absorb/bond with it. That would also be why you would not want to use it on an old 78 shellac record.

    and also holds cigarettes together

    Intersting what they have smokers inhale…

    widely used in book making and book arts due to its flexibilityI have to question this, I did a test of many white and yellow glues, and found that most were pretty stiff. Aleene’s tacky glue was the most flexible, and Elmer’s was very stiff, Titebond wasn’t a lot more flexible. There must be different formulas for different flexibilities.

    This is what I could find…

    Aleen’s is a water based polymer emulsion, according to it’s MSDS
    Titebond (Original) is a water soluble aliphatic resin emulsion.
    Titebond II is a water-based cross-linking polyvinyl acetate adhesive.
    Titebond III is a water-based, “Advanced Proprietary Polymer” crosslink polyvinyl acetate with 2% glycol Ether DB

    I’m guessing original Titebond or Aleen’s would be the way to go?

    it is not acidic like many polymers

    This sounds good, I wouldn’t want acids on a record…

    I do plan on trying this, not as a replacement for a record cleaner, but for records that defy cleaning…:thmbsp:

  19. ozmoid

    ozmoid Lunatic Member

    Excellent research, Outlaw! And for the same reason you cite, I will be trying this too. I thought about Aileene's, but I think it's a little thick in it's stock form - maybe a little distilled water? :scratch2:
  20. outlawmws

    outlawmws On the Run


    Aleen's has a thinner version, but I think the "thick" version is not far from wood glue. I tried some Aleen's and some TBII on a sheet of paper, and they are close...

    I suspect that the thinner version is more like Elmer’s...

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