You have a woodworking project you want to finish, but you need a good wood glue to make it happen. Perhaps you are doing repairs around the house, thinking about a new craft project, or you’re going all out and building a boat. No matter what you are doing, you need to make sure the glue is the right one or the entire project could fail.
- What is the best wood glue?
- 1. Titebond 1415 III Ultimate Wood Glue – Superior Bonding Strength
- 2. Elmer’s E7310 Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max – Ideal for Wood to Wood
- 3. Elmer’s Glue-All Multi-Purpose Liquid Glue – King of Craft Glue
- 4. TotalBoat Crystal Clear Epoxy Kit – For Big Projects
- 5. Gorilla 6200022-12 Wood Glue
- Buyer’s Guide
- Gluing Wood Tips & Tricks
What is the best wood glue?
Titebond 1415 III
|Interior and exterior||Yes||$30.27|
|Interior and exterior||Yes||$5.92|
Clear Epoxy Kit
Gorilla Wood Glue
|Interior and exterior||Yes||$3.20|
For instance, building a boat can require good epoxy due to the level of adherence and water resistance needed. Then again, a small woodworking project can require glue as simple as Gorilla Wood Glue or Elmer’s Carpenter Wood Glue. Knowing what set each type of wood glue apart is what can set you up for success.
After a thorough review of different wood Glues, the following are our top 5 picks with everything you need to know to make an informed buying decision.
1. Titebond 1415 III Ultimate Wood Glue – Superior Bonding StrengthApplication Temperature: Above 47°F.
Open Assembly Time: 8-10 minutes (70°F/50%RH).
Total Assembly Time: 20-25 minutes (70°F/50%RH).
Minimum Required Spread: Approximately 6 mils or 250 square feet per gallon.
Required Clamping Pressure: Enough to bring joints tightly together (generally, 100-150 psi for softwoods, 125-175 psi for medium woods and 175-250 psi for hardwoods).
Method Of Application: Plastic bottles for fine applications; glue may also be spread with a roller spreader or brush.
Cleanup: Damp cloth while the glue is wet. Scrape off and sand dried excess.
Titebond 1415 III Ultimate Wood Glue passes ANSI/HPVA Type 1 water resistance tests. The initial tack is very tight, making it a good choice for indoor and outdoor use. What’s more is that you get plenty of the glue because it comes in a 32-ounce bottle and you can get it in a two pack. Although the Titebond packaging doesn’t suggest it is something that works, it is familiar to many woodworkers that want tight wood glue to complete large and small projects.
What’s more is that this is the first one-part wood glue that can be cleaned up with water, but it is waterproof once it cures. Because of the superior bond strength, it reduces the time it takes to assemble a project.
It can also be easily sanded without softening. The FDA has even approved it for indirect food contact because it is non-toxic and free of solvents.
2. Elmer’s E7310 Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max – Ideal for Wood to WoodOpen Time: 10-15 minutes before clamping.
Clamp Time: 12 Hours.
AP Non-Toxic: YES.
Foaming Percent: 0%.
ANSI Type 1 waterproof.
Color when dry: Beige.
Elmer’s Wood Glue Max has that traditional Elmer’s appearance, but it is ideal for wood to wood glue. It is non-toxic with no harmful fumes and cleans up easily with water. This glue is stainable, which means you can stain and paint it to your desired color once you are finished.
The glue also resists, mildew, mold, and heat. Available in a 16-ounce bottle, a little can go a long way and it bonds stronger than wood. If you need to use a clamp, expect 20 to 3 minute clamping time. A full bond is achieved in 24 hours.
3. Elmer’s Glue-All Multi-Purpose Liquid Glue – King of Craft GlueOpen Time: 10-15 minutes before clamping.
Clamp Time: 12 Hours.
AP Non-Toxic: YES.
Foaming Percent: 0%.
Elmer’s is known for its glue products, so it makes sense that they would make a glue that glues practically anything together. This glue, Elmer’s Glue-All, adheres everything from wood and fabric to leather and ceramics. It is good for projects of all types in the kitchen, workshop, garage, or den. Repairs and craft projects can also benefit from this glue.
Messes clean up easily with water, despite the fact it can permanently attach almost anything that needs a quick fix. It also dries quickly, so you won’t have a lot of time to make adjustments once the glue is in place. Basically, it contains many of the qualities that Elmer’s glue is known for. Even looking at the package brings about a smile because of its familiarity.
And yes, the kids can use this glue to make a high-quality slime. This capability doesn’t discount its power when used in the home, business or workshop. However, it might be exactly what the next slime project needs.
4. TotalBoat Crystal Clear Epoxy Kit – For Big ProjectsApplication: Brush, roller, or syringe; can also be poured and spread with an epoxy spreader.
Minimum application temperature: 60°F.
Recommended temperature for dispensing via pump: 60-70°F.
Pot life 75°F: 20 minutes.
Work life 75°F (thin film): 3-4 hours.
Set time 75°F (thin film): 10-15 hours.
Cure time 75°F (thin film): 3-5 days.
TotalBoat Crystal Clear Epoxy Kits are ideal for those large boat projects. If you are building a kayak, canoe, or wooden boat, this is what you need. Just looking at the packaging shows that it means business. The kit includes the epoxy resin, the crystal clear hardener, resin and hardener pumps, mixing sticks, gloves, and a mixing container.
The mixture works well under varnish so that it can be sealed. The UV-inhibiting additives enhance the finish that is applied over the epoxy. It can be used on bare wood with a minimal amount of varnish coats once you are finished because of how much the epoxy protects the wood.
Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about the epoxy/hardener combination becoming cloudy. Instead, you get a clear finish. The mixing pumps help ensure this so that you get the correct 3:1 ratio of the mixture. Because the viscosity of the mixture is lower, the wet out is easier and faster. Crystal Clear also has a longer pot life and the cure time isn’t as long as other formulas used in boat building or similar projects.
All in all, this formula adheres well and its appearance means you don’t have to use a dozen coats of varnish to complete the project. There is an economic element involved when less varnish has to be used. It’s moisture-resistant in itself, which is another factor that reduces the need for a lot of varnishes.
Service Temperature – 0° to 150° F.
Outdoor – Yes, under the covered area.
Moisture Resistant – Water resistant – not recommended for continual water exposure.
Pantable – Yes.
Sandable – Yes.
Stainable – No.
Expands When Cured – No.
Cured Color – Natural tan wood color.
Technical Standards – ANSI/HPVA Type II.
Gap Filling – No.
Just the name “Gorilla Glue” suggests that this glue knows how to hang on. Gorilla Wood Glue is no exception because it has the traditional Gorilla holding power but in the areas of carpentry, building, and hobby projects with wood. The familiarity of the packaging and the product’s reputation makes it a go-to for woodworking projects.
The 20 to 30 minute clamp time allows you to complete projects faster, but it takes 24 hours for it to fully cure. It can be used indoors or outdoors because it has passed ANSI/HPVA Type II water resistance tests. You can use it on hardwoods, natural wood composites, and softwoods.
While it does come in a small package, a little goes a long way. This is something that is characteristic of Gorilla Glue. However, this is not a glue you want to use on load-bearing applications unless you have mechanical fasteners in place. It is ideal for wood to wood applications.
Wood is a beautiful building material and it is also one that is easily connected by the right kind of glue. Sometimes, a little wood glue can be applied between pieces before they are screwed together so that the bond is very strong and even accurate.
But before you pick up any glue for that next project, it’s important to pay very close attention to what you are picking up. Not all wood glues are the same, so there are a right choice and a wrong choice for your project. For instance, you might need a glue that helps you preserve the integrity and sheen of the wood while also creating the strongest possible bond.
Here are some questions that you want to ask yourself:
- Are you filling a gap or gluing together two surfaces?
- Do you want a temporary bond or a permanent one?
- Will the bonding be indoors or outdoors in different types of weather conditions?
What you need determines the answers to these questions so you can narrow down the type of wood glue you need for your next project.
Wood Glue Formulas
It can be overwhelming when looking at the different types of wood glue. Here are some of the types that you might see.
Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA)
This is a synthetic polymer that is rubbery to the touch. The bond is permanent, but it is flexible. PVA is non-toxic, but you don’t want to ingest it. It’s also water-soluble, so it is ideal for wood-to-wood bonds indoors. If you encounter a yellow variety, known as a “carpenters glue,” then it is formulated for outdoor use. Do you need water resistance? Make sure you see “moisture-resistant” or “water-resistant” on the label.
If you decide to use PVA, know that it will leave a residue, which can affect the finish of the wood. This is especially true if the glue is used on oak. PVA also can’t be stained, so excess glue will need to be wiped away immediately.
Polyurethane is a plastic resin, so it is synthetic. It also creates tight bonds that last. Many of the main wood glues contain polyurethane because of how it performs when connecting wood end-to-end. It is activated by the moisture in the air, so it bonds well in humid conditions.
This is a toxic chemical, so it has to be carefully handled. It’s best to work in a room with good ventilation while wearing goggles and a face mask to avoid inhaling the fumes.
If you plan on staining your wood, you still want to remove excess glue using mineral spirits because water isn’t enough.
This quick-drying acrylic resin is known as “superglue” because of its tight and rigid bonds. This type of glue, however, works best when you want a temporary bond. In other words, it can be used for reinforcement but not as your main bond. If you mix it with sawdust, you can fill in cracks.
Unlike many wood glue types, CA doesn’t bond to dry wood. You have to make sure the wood is damp before applying it. A lot of precision is also required because it dries almost instantly at room temperature.
Epoxy glue comes in two parts, a resin, and a hardener. Together they create a waterproof bond that can be used in a number of applications. One such application is the building of wooden boats. Many woodworking experts favor epoxy because of its water resistance and durability.
However, it is best to use epoxy on sand, dry, and clean surface. Dust must be removed before application or it could interfere with the bond. There should be no residue or anything in the way of the epoxy being able to bond with the wood. If joining two surfaces, a clamp will need to be used.
Things to Consider
There are some important things that you want to consider when buying wood glue:
- Strength – If you are planning on making furniture, then you want a wood glue with a high PSI. Epoxies have a PSI of 8,000 or higher. However, you might not need a wood glue with a PSI any more than the usual 2,000 to 4,000.
- Tack – High tack glues aren’t made for clamping, but lower tack glues will need to be clamped.
- Safety – Safety always comes first, but you should pay attention to which glues are toxic and which ones aren’t. Remember that polyurethane is toxic and requires ventilation and a mask and goggles, but it is used in many wood glues and has good lastability.
- Shrinkage – If a glue is evaporative, it will exhibit more shrinkage than glues that aren’t evaporative.
- Water Resistance – If you will be using a wooden project outside after it’s finished, you will have to have a glue that is water resistant.
- Stainability – If you plan on staining or painting the wood, you will need a wood glue that can be stained or painted. Some can’t and, if you prefer to use a type that can’t be stained or painted, it’s important that the cleanup is easy so that you can wipe away excess.
- Drying time – If you need fast drying time, make sure you get a glue that has a short clamping time or even dries instantly. If you need time to work with positioning after applying glue, you want a glue that doesn’t take as long to dry up.
Can wood glue be used on high moisture wood?
Temporary hold glues like superglue can be used on moist woods, otherwise, moisture levels that are above 10% can slow down the drying of water-based glues. If the moisture content is above 16%, it might not dry at all. When you want a permanent bond on a high moisture wood, polyurethane glue is going to work the best. However, the glue can foam, so you want to ensure wood pieces are clamped tightly.
What is the difference between ANSI/HPVA Type I and Type II?
If the glue is Type 1, then it has gone through more stringent testing than Type II. While both types of water resistance are great, Type I is what you want if your wood project is going to be exposed to a lot of water.
Can wood glue bond to painted wood?
It can if it is specified that it can, otherwise, many wood glues are designed to bond to bare wood. If you need to bond painted or stained pieces, polyurethane is going to be your best bet. Just keep in mind that the bond is only as strong as the bond the paint or stain has with the wood. It’s recommended that surfaces be clear of any stain, sealer, or paint.
What’s the difference between clamping time and drying time?
Clamping time is how long two pieces of wood have to be clamped together before the bond is strong enough for the pieces to adhere on their own. This is different than drying time, which is the amount of time needed for the bond to be fully formed. Just because the pieces are staying together after clamping time doesn’t mean that the pieces are ready to be moved or used.
Gluing Wood Tips & Tricks
Nothing is more annoying than to have a glue joint fail, especially shortly after you have glued something up. Most glue joint failures are predictable and there are some sound shop practices which will minimize this problem. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Traditionally, woodworkers used hide glue which comes in crystal and form and has to be dissolved in water and kept warm during the application. For this reason, it is largely grown out of use. Today, woodworkers rely mainly on PVA glues. While the man on the street may think of PVA as meaning any water-based glue, it actually means polyvinyl acetate. It’s been around for a long time, but traditionally it was only good for indoor use. In the last decade, we have seen improvements in the chemistry of PVA glues, that they are now waterproof, and we even have some that have a longer open time, which is great when you have a complicated assembly. Let’s take a look at some other factors that affect a glue, joints, ultimate strength.
The surface of the wood in any glue joint is very important. The smoother the better, either through sanding or through planning. A great trick for gluing two boards together is to fold them up like a book and now either take them to the joiner as a pair, or clamp them in your bench like a pair, and now taking a jointer plane, plane them end to end until you get a continuous chip full width off of both pieces. It doesn’t matter if your jointer was not dead square or your plane wasn’t quite dead square. Because alternate interior angles are equal, when we open this up and glue them together, this will be a dead flat panel.
An often overlooked detailing glue ups is application. It should be to both surfaces and uniform in thicknesses. Some tools that will help us with this are inexpensive paint brushes. Another tool is a small rubber roller, often called a Brayer, which can be found in any hobby store. By simply putting a little glue on like so, I can now take my Brayer and just roll that glue out, and I have the complete and uniform application with a constant thickness to the glue. I now simply line these parts up, put some clamps on them, and let them dry up.
A great trick is to write the time of the glue up down so that you know for sure when the glue is dry enough to work with it. Another thing is to keep a nice damp sponge handy because PVAs allow water cleanup.
Shop temperature is very important during a glue up. If you’re going to get the stated drying times on the bottle, your shop needs to be about 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Since many chemical reactions, glue being one of them, either double or have in speed for every 10 degrees centigrade, which is 18 degrees Fahrenheit, a very cold shop will make the glue dry very slowly or incompletely, or a very hot shop will cause the glue to dry too fast. If like me, you live in a northern climate and have a shop that’s pretty darn cold in the winter, there are some tricks. One is a simple heat lamp. By shining it on the pieces you’ve just glued up, you’ll bring enough temperature to have the glue set in the normal amount of time.
Important considerations in choosing a PVA glue are waterproofness and open time. For my cabinet work, which is always going to be inside, I still use the original formulas. They’re stronger than the wood itself, dry in one hour, allowing me to get right back to work, and wash out of my clothes. Where I’m going to have an outdoor application, I choose a waterproof formula. When I have a complicated assembly where I need an extended open time so that my work won’t freeze up during the glue up, I choose a longer or extended open time glues such as Titebond III. An additional nice quality to this glue is that it has walnut shells in it, which give it a darker color, better disguising glue lines. My wife doesn’t like this glue because it will not wash out of my apron.
Overall, choosing the right glue is going to make or break your project. By knowing the difference between the different types like epoxies and polyurethane and how such factors as moisture content, temperature, and curing times can affect the project, you can choose the right glue. It’s fascinating how far wood glue technologies have come and, of course, there are more on the way. With so many possibilities now and in the future, it is good to stay on top of them so you are always improving how you complete your wood projects.