Types of Wood Glue and Buying Guide

Wood glue is used in crafting, furniture making and various other woodworking projects. Proper adhesion can’t always be achieved by using nails and screws. Glue is a necessary element because it helps strengthen the bond between two pieces of wood. Carpentry buffs will tell you that they will only use the best wood glue for their projects as the strength of adhesion is an important factor in woodworking. They will also say that there is no “all-arounder” wood glue and advise you to use the right type based on your materials, workroom temperature and other key factors.

best wood glue

Types of Wood Glue

Before we go any further, it would be best to discuss the different types of wood glue. There are different types of wood glue available in the market today. I took the liberty of including the best examples per type. The good news is they are readily available online or at your nearest hardware store.

PVA Glue and Aliphatic Resin Glue

What is PVA Glue? Polyvinyl acetate glue is also called PVA or white glue is commonly used in hobby and craft projects. These non-toxic glues are quite easy to use. They can be used for indoor and outdoor projects.

Aliphatic resin glue is also known as yellow glue or carpenter’s glue. It provides the same adhesion strength as PVA glue, which is why we’ll discuss both together.

Best PVA and Aliphatic Resin Glues:

Elmer’s E7310 Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max | Best glue for wood crafts

Elmers E7310

This is an ANSI Type 1 waterproof and stainable PVA wood glue that boasts of superior bond strength. It combines real wood fiber in its formula. This is why it provides better results when it comes to staining, painting and even sanding. It is resilient enough for outdoor projects as it can resist mold, heat and mildew. Aside from being non-toxic, it is easy to clean up as well. This is probably the best wood glue for furniture making as it is so versatile and easy to use.

Titebond Original Wood Glue

 

Titebond Original

This is an aliphatic resin glue that bonds stronger than wood. It is non-toxic and is easy to clean up. This wood glue boasts of a fast set and shorter clamp time than other glues in the same category. It is easily sandable and is not affected by finishes. Like Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max, it is resistant to mildew, mold and heat.

Titebond II Premium Wood Glue

 

Titebond II Premium Wood Glue

This aliphatic resin wood glue boasts of a fast set and short clamp time. It is the first one-part glue that is ANSI Type 2 water resistant. Due to its excellent water resistance, it is mostly used for exterior or outdoor projects. It is easily sanded as well.

Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue

 

Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue

This waterproof wood glue offers eight minutes of open assembly time, making it the perfect adhesive for people who have never worked with glue before. It is stronger, safer and cleans easily with water. It does not stain the hands and as for application temperature, you can use it as low as 47 degrees. Titebond-3 is easy to sand as well. At present, it is one of the most popular wood glues available because the FDA has found it safe for indirect food contact. This is the best waterproof wood glue for pet furniture.

Hide Glue

Hide glue is perhaps one of the first glues used by man. It is made from skins/hides of animals. Chemically, it is just like edible gelatin so it is guaranteed non-toxic if eaten. This type of glue is still used, usually for creating replica furniture or musical instruments.

Please note that it is not as strong as PVA or epoxy. That is why hide glue is still the best wood glue for people who make and fix musical instruments. It can be taken apart easily without destroying the wood.

Franklin International 5013 Titebond Liquid Hide Glue

 

Franklin International 5013

Franklin International 5013 Titebond Liquid Hide Wood Glue is a slow set formula that allows precise assembly. It is used mostly for antique furniture repair and musical instrument production. Aside from excellent sandability, it is used to achieve the crackling effect, a weathered look that is used to add character to furniture. Please note that it is sensitive to moisture.

Ground Hide Glue

 

Ground Hide Glue

This is a finely ground glue that is sold in powder form. It has to be mixed with equal parts of hot water. This should be done using a double boiler or an electric glue pot at a specific temperature range. Please note that it should be kept warm while in use to achieve the best results. This glue is preferred by cabinetmakers for restoration pieces and is used extensively in wood veneering as well.

Cyanoacrylate glue

Otherwise called Superglue, crazy glue or CYA, this type of glue is used for small repairs. It sets very fast and yes, even on skin. This is a plastic based material that flows easily. This is why woodturners use it to repair small areas. Due its flow, most people will not use it, as not enough is left on the wood joint. Another factor to consider is that it is stiff and brittle when dry. This means that it will easily break. CYA is usually used for crafting and smaller projects that won’t undergo too much stress.

Epoxy

Epoxy

Epoxy is usually sold as a two part system. It is a versatile type of wood glue because it sets under a wider range of temperatures and does not require pressure during the curing stage. It is perfect for gap filling.

However, great care must be taken when mixing the two parts of the product. Even so, if done right, you will be glad to know that it is resistant to UV light, heat and also salt water. Epoxy remains popoular because it is one of the best glues to use if you need to connect non-wood materials to wood.

Polyurethane Glue

This type of glue has increased in popularity over the years. Aside from wood, it can bond to textile, ceramics, glass, metals, sand and even rubber. At present, polyurethane glue is being used in a lot of applications.

Gorilla Wood Glue | Best Polyurethane Glue

 

Gorilla Wood Glu

This polyurethane wood glue only needs 20-30 minutes of clamp time. It cures in just 24 hours and dries a natural color. It is perfect for both indoor and outdoor use because it passes HPVA and ANSI Type 2 water resistance. This wood glue is FDA approved for indirect food contact as well.

 

Wood Glue Drying Time

Thanks to modern technology, the adhesive substances we have available to us are quite resilient to wear and tear. If done properly, wood glue adhesion can be stronger than the wood itself because of the components used to create these adhesives.

With regard to drying time, many of the new adhesives are breaking stereotypes. In the past, it was believed that longer drying times meant better penetration. That is not the case today.

If you want to know how long it takes for wood glue to dry, the setting or drying time of wood glue differs per product. Please note that certain factors like humidity, wood dryness and also temperature will play a part when it comes to setting or curing. Clamps may or may not be required, depending on the product instructions.

Patience is a virtue when it comes to drying or curing time. I believe that impatience can ruin a perfectly good project. This is why I would advise people who are new to working with wood glue to allot an extra 30 minutes or more with regard to curing time, especially when using brittle wood glue.

Gluing Tools

You can’t spread the glue on with your hands, can you? So you will need some easy to find tools before you get started on whatever project you are working on. Silicone is one of the latest trends with regard to gluing tools. This is because silicone is easier to clean. Silicone tools can be used on many projects as they do not shed bristles. That means they provide more value for your money.

Let’s talk about the three basic tools you will need to begin a project that requires wood glue. First off, you will need a brush. I recommend the Bench Dog Tools 10-077 Glue Brush. It has silicone bristles, which means that you can reuse it. All you need to do is wash it with water to clean up any leftover glue and you can store it. If you’re feeling lazy, go on and let the glue dry. When you need to use it again, riffle through the bristles to remove any dried glue and it should come right off. Yes, it works that easy.

This product is my best bet because of the spacing between the bristles. There’s enough space to hold lots of wet glue. This means that you won’t need to keep dipping and allows you more time to spread the material onto the wood. He paddle can also be used like one would a pen. This can work when spreading glue on moldings, mortises and on grooves.

You will need a comb as well. I recommend getting the Rockler 3-Piece Silicone Glue Application Kit. It comes with a comb, otherwise called spreader or rake, a silicone brush and a silicone tray. If you want value for your money, this kit will do the trick. This three-piece set is environmentally-friendly as all tools are durable, easy to store and can be re-used for many years to come.

In some woodworking scenarios, a glue bottle will be necessary. A glue bottle makes it easier to apply the sticky stuff onto the surface that requires it. The FastCap Glu-Bot Glue Bottle is the perfect storage for the sticky stuff. It can hold 16 ounces of wood glue and comes with a two-chamber design. This means that the glue won’t drip nor spill. Vertical applications are easier because there are no drips or spillages. I like that the glue level will remain high even when the bottle is almost empty. It also comes with two tips, the Yorker and Blade.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wood Glue

I have explained the different types of wood glue and have even given you a list of our favorite products. I also included a list of tools that you will need to start working with this type of adhesive. However, I am sure you have more questions. So if you are new to woodworking or have yet to use any type of wood glue, here are a few FAQs that new woodworking enthusiasts will find helpful.

What is the strongest wood glue?

The PSI strength rating. Source: http://www.titebond.com/titebond_wood_glues/Ultimate_Wood_Glue.aspx

The PSI strength rating. Source: http://www.titebond.com/titebond_wood_glues/Ultimate_Wood_Glue.aspx

Studies show that Type 1 Waterproof PVA glue remains the strongest. It is also quite versatile. It can be used for both indoor and outdoor woodworking projects. Slow-set epoxy is also a good choice. However, it can’t quite compete with the adhesion that Type 1 Waterproof can offer.[1]

How do I remove glue from wood?

New woodworkers have to understand that there will be some glue that escapes the joint. This is something that even the best carpenters have to deal with. There are two ways to remove excess glue. You can wipe it off with a damp sponge. You can wait for it to dry and scrape the excess beads away. However, please remember that either way, you will have to sand the area.

If you are new to woodworking, it would be best to wait for the glue to dry instead of using the wet sponge trick. This is because wiping the wet glue off can be tricky. You may spread the excess glue and make more of a mess.

Getting glue off other surfaces is scenario number two. If you’ve gotten into a sticky situation by getting your glue on your hardwood floor, you will want to know how to remove it. Don’t panic. There are three ways to remove the sticky gunk.

You can use a hairdryer on its highest setting. Simply aim it at the area and wait for the glue to melt. To make sure it does not spread, a scraper should be used to remove all traces of glue from the area.

If you do not have a hairdryer, you can always use the hot towel trick. Start by putting a towel over the area. You will need to pour boiling water over it slowly until the adhesive melts. Please use a scraper to make sure it does not spread.

Lastly, if you are in a hurry, head over to your nearest hardware store and buy a commercial glue remover. These work fast and leave no residue.

Does glue have an expiration date?

Yes, glue does have an expiration date. That should be mentioned in the packaging. However, please note that leaving the tub/tube open for long periods of time may harden it way before the expiration date.

Can the wood grain affect the strength of the adhesion?

Yes, reading the grain of the wood is necessary. Most people are not aware that this can make or break their project, pun intended. In woodworking, we opt for a long grain to long grain joint as much as possible. This is when the grain along the joint creates a parallel pattern.

This will create the strongest joint because the fibers can grip the glue along their length. A short grain joint is not as strong because the glue only grips the ends of the grain. When dealing with plywood, please consider it a short grain and take proper precautions to strengthen the joint. You may also want to consider using a rabbet joint to ensure the strength of the project.

How do I ensure proper glue coverage?

Many new woodworkers are not aware that glue coverage can positively or negatively affect the project. The absorption of adhesive into the wood will vary, as certain types of wood will absorb the glue faster or slower. The consistency of the wood may also play a role in absorption.

This is why one should consider the type of wood they are using. Hardwood usually absorbs glue at a slower rate, owing to its density. When putting wood glue on a joint, it would be best to reapply on the dry areas. Think about it as insurance.

You can usually tell if a joint has an adequate amount of glue. All you need to do is check the edges for “beads”. This is a good way to tell if you have put on enough wood glue. Clamping pressure usually removes any excess glue from the joint.

However, please make sure that you have spread the glue evenly. The clamps that hold it in place will allow the excess glue to escape. If one side is thicker than the other, there are areas that could slip out of position. This is why it is important to use gluing tools like brushes and combs. This lessens the margin of error and ensures balanced application.

Woodworking with the use of adhesives will result in furniture that is stronger and more resistant to everyday wear and tear. However, to get the job done right, you need to make sure that you apply the adhesive properly and observe proper clamping procedure.

How do I choose the best wood glue for my project?

The first thing you should do is determine what materials you will need. If you are using all wooden parts, any type of glue will suffice. Your best bet will be the PVA Type 1 waterproof glue. However, if you need to attach non-wood parts, you will need slow-set epoxy.

You also need to determine how strong you want the adhesion to be. With regard to musical instruments, you will need glue that can easily be removed. If you are working on outdoor furniture, it would be best to consider if the product is waterproof, heat-resistant and if it can withstand UV rays. Please note that the temperature and humidity of your area should be considered as well.

When choosing a glue type, there are certain properties one has to consider:

Strength/Resistance

How much strength is necessary for your project? If you are making furniture, it would be best to use wood glue with the highest psi. Most wood glues are at a decent range of 2000 to 4000 psi. Epoxy can sometimes fall at a range of 8000 psi or higher.

Tack

Otherwise referred to as stickiness, tack is an important consideration. High tack glues are best for joints that cannot be clamped. If you are looking for veneer glue, using something low-tack is your best bet.

Shrinkage

Evaporative glues exhibit the most shrinkage. That won’t be a problem if you know how to apply glue evenly and have mastered the art of proper clamping. However, if you want to fill a gap that will require a strong bond, it would be wise to use a low-shrinkage or shrink-free glue. Epoxy and polyurethane

Safety

If you are making furniture for household use, it would be best to invest in low-odor and low-toxicity glues. If possible, please use a non-toxic wood glue to ensure the safety of your family and pets.

Moisture Resistance

Moisture resistance is vital when choosing glue for outdoor projects. This is why most woodworkers choose marine adhesives for exterior projects instead of white, yellow or hide glue.

Aesthetics

You want to avoid the appearance of a glue line because it won’t be aesthetically pleasing. If you plan to use stains, there are stainable wood glues available, like PVA.

Working Time

If you are new to woodworking, please make sure you choose wood glue that has a longer working time. This will allow you to make the necessary adjustments without feeling rushed. Once you become accustomed to working with adhesive, you may start to consider using fast setting glues.

My point is that you need to do proper research. All the types of wood glues are useful. There is no best glue for wood furniture. You might want to buy a glue kit that comes with two or three standard types of glue to start. However, if you have a specific project in mind and you know that your regular wood glue won’t cut it, by all means diversify.

Choosing the best wood glue for a specific project will do wonders with regard to longevity. With the help of the right product and a good choice of joint, you will have furniture that can last a lifetime or longer.

See also:

Belt sander

Wood Router

References
1. Fine Woodworking, August 2007, N° 192

One Comment:

  1. Hi,

    Nice and informative article.
    While i was preparing myself now to make Cigar / Tobacco pipe, i wondered which glue would be good to take the heat generated while smoking a pipe and which would be safe and non toxic to inhale.

    Thanks..

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