(Unless otherwise noted, I have not received any compensation or consideration for any of the reviews listed. These have been purchased with my own funds at regular or sale prices publicly available.)
It’s hard to reinvent the wheel when it comes to woodworking. Most tools and techniques are tried and true with mere evolution, not revolution.
With this new glue brush from Rockler, I’d argue it’s both evolutionary and revolutionary.
Gluing is something I’ve not liked to do to this point. It often required buying a large bag of disposable brushes or plastic paddles to spread the glue. I preferred the latter because I could simply set the paddle down and come back and peel the dried glue away and use again. With the brushes, you could attempt to clean them or toss them. If you were lucky, there might only be one or two hairs to pick out of the glue you just applied.
With the silicone brush, it takes the concept of a silicone baster brush and combines it with the paddle in one instrument promising very easy cleanup. Either rinse the glue away or allow to air dry and remove the glue in a clump (as shown on their website).
I used the opportunity of my left-side cabinet build to test this product out. While I might have to disassemble portions of it later, the cabinet box itself would be permanently joined. After using the brush and letting sit for a couple of days (the soonest I got back out there), I picked the brush up and attempted to remove the glue like you see on their site. With the pictures below you see how successful that was. It wasn’t exactly like advertised, but was close enough to be impressed. Perhaps if I had it really loaded up with glue it would have come out in one piece. As it was, it only took a few seconds to completely remove all the glue and be ready to work again. The paddle end wasn’t tested, as it’s a fairly standard tool these days. The whole head of the brush comes off, but secures itself back on well enough that I trust it wouldn’t come off again unless I wanted it to.
A couple of things I would have improved upon if I had the idea:
– its heavily unbalanced, especially loaded with glue, toward the bristle side. I tend to set it down with the bristles overhanging an edge, and it feels like its going to fall to the floor. Will have to get out of that habit, perhaps by introducing a wax paper resting spot.
– the natural tendency in using this product, at least for me, is to use the wide portion. The bristles are tapered in a way that reinforces this assumption.
Unfortunately it does not fit in a 3/4″ dado in this manner, but sideways. Perhaps they will introduce a smaller version, as I doubt this would be useful for small gaps. 1/4″ dado users will have to either use the paddle or stick with alternate methods.
In all, I probably would have paid $10 or so for this tool, and I’m surprised it only clocks in at $3.99. For the consumer and the store, I’m not sure if this is a product you would buy in multiples unless you needed to work with multiple glues at once. For those that aren’t in love with their hair brushes, this seems like a no-brained to invest about the same amount of money into a pack of disposable brushes into a reusable and, IMHO, better product. This might also have a market in a school setting, for use with the white glues. Hey, I see a donation opportunity here.
In summary, I give this product 4.5 out of 5 stars, subtracting only for the immediate lack of a smaller size. Perhaps that is in the pipeline.