Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cleaning My Vinyl with Wood Glue

Instead of drinking green beer and watching those awful Leprechaun movies on St. Patrick's Day, I drank Sweetwater 420 beer and cleaned some vinyl records with wood glue.

Yeah, that's right. Wood glue.

I came across this Youtube video when I was looking up some cleaning techniques. Vinyl enthusiasts, I highly recommend you watch this:

At first I thought no way, there's no way glue can do this. But there's a whole slew of videos on Youtube about this, and my woman became interested and scienced the shit out of an explanation as to how it would work, so I tried it.

Of course I didn't want to try this with a cherished record, so I went with my copy of "The Best of The Guess Who." The record is scratched as shit, and the last time I played it, the pops and static were obnoxious. Unfortunately you can't really see condition of the record in a picture, but maybe the condition of the cover will give you an indication to the condition of the record:

I watched a couple different videos on how to do the wood glue cleaning, just to make sure I knew what I was doing. I took some photos of the whole process. Some of the photos didn't turn out great, so I'm just using the best ones. You'll get the point.

First step is putting the glue on the record. Its better to use too much glue than too little. I did it the same way shown in the video, and let the record spin as I covered as many grooves as possible:

Next up you smooth it all out, so that the glue is covering every square inch of the grooves. You have to be careful not to get glue on the center sticker, or so much at the rim that it spills all over your player. I got a little bit of drippage on my first attempt, but was able to clean it up quickly. If you have a junk player, you might want to use that...or put down some saran wrap to help protect everything (that's what I did for round 2).

I used a note-card to spread the glue around (you spin the record during this step). It worked pretty well:

It takes a few hours for this to dry, depending on how much glue you use. For Side A, I didn't use a lot of glue and it was dry in about 4-1/2 hours. I used a lot more on Side B, and that took about 15 hours to dry!

As you can see above, it drys clear. I pulled up a bit in the corner so you can see how to get it started. It just pulls right off. Very easy, once you get a corner going. And what you get afterward is cool:

Now, I've read comments that say you can actually play these wood glue pressings of your records. I am not brave enough to attempt this, for I don't want to damage the needle (I do listen to records every day, after all).'s a video of a guy who took his wood glue records to the next level:

After I cleaned my Guess Who record, I could definitely tell a difference. The record was no longer a dull black, but rather a vibrant, shiny black. The scratches were obviously still there, but the record did play better. The pops and static sounds weren't nearly as bad. 

So if you have the time, the patience and a thing of wood glue, give it a whirl!

UPDATE (3/19/2012):
I couldn't resist. I had to see if the wood glue "reflection record" I got from the Guess Who record would play. I had to place it on top of a record in order for it to work, but sure enough.....IT WORKED.
It was playing backwards of course, but still. Just by cleaning a record, I got a reverse version of it THAT ACTUALLY PLAYS. My mind is blown.


  1. Dude, that is an impressive way to clean records. It seems pretty time consuming though. I can't believe you could play the glue pressing. Science!

  2. Yea, it was very time consuming and its not something I'll likely do again. I just had to try it when I saw the youtube videos about it. The problem with it is that its damn near impossible to get all the glue residue off, like from the edges or the drippy spots near the sticker. I'd say its good for your shitty records, but not the ones you cherish.

    I did get the idea to get a Fuckpot record pressed backwards, so that I can make a bunch of wood glue records off it. That would be sweet.

  3. And then have John eat it.