UV Light to Spot Glue Smears

Here’s something that I’ve found really useful that was posted on ModelShipWorld recently by a ship modeler that goes by the screen name “bridgman”. But, as he pointed out, the original tip was published in the May/April 2022 edition of Fine Woodworking magazine.

Turns out that you can easily spot smudges of wood glue, such as Titebond, by using an inexpensive UV flashlight. I happened to get a little UV penlight flashlight in a UV cure glue set I bought off of Amazon earlier in the year for around $20, so I tried it out on Titebond and Elmer’s yellow carpenter’s glue, and it works, sure enough!

As an illustration, I looked one of my Japanese boat models. Now, there is a suspicious spot on the side of the hull, visible in normal light. It’s actually not that noticeable. But what if I went to apply a wood finish? If there’s glue there at that spot, it’s going to block any finish from penetrating into the wood.

Now, under UV light, the glue shows up very clearly. But, also notice where I placed the red arrow, that there’s another small spot that I didn’t notice before, and is pretty much invisible in normal lighting.

So, it turns out this little UV flashlight that just uses a pair of AAA batteries is going to get a lot more use than curing glue. It even has an adjustable focus beam.

I can’t say I won’t have any more glue spots on my model. But, at least I have a fighting chance to get rid of them all now! Ω

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