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How To Choose The Best Glue For Your Woodworking Project
Woodworking is an art which can take years of practice to master. An essential aspect of woodworking is choosing the right wood glue if you want to create a long-lasting and reliable piece of furniture.
There are various types of wood glues on the market. When determining how to choose a wood glue, there are several important properties you need to consider that will greatly vary depending on the type of project you’re working on. Therefore, to make your life a little easier, we have summarized some of the most common types of wood glue and what are they best suited for below:
Before discussing different types of adhesives available for woodworking, here are a few questions you need to ask yourself to choose the best glue for woodworking:
- Is it an indoor or an outdoor project?
- Strength of the glue required?
- Water-based or waterproof?
- How long should it take to dry?
- Does it require to fill gaps in the wood?
- Long grain to grain attachment or just the end grain?
- New furniture or old furniture?
1. PVA glue
PVA glue, also known as water-based glue or yellow glue—is commonly considered the best glue for woodworking. It is a reliable and non-toxic product. It forms a strong and durable bond and dries very quickly in about 10 minutes.
PVA glue can only join long grain to long grain wood pieces as it gets soaked up when used just at the end grain. Therefore, it is an ideal choice if you’re working indoors as the glue works best at room temperature and in a well ventilated environment.
- Can be diluted to obtain a thin consistency
- Ideal when you’re gluing long grain to long grain
- Forms durable and long-lasting bonds
- Great for indoor woodworking projects
- Can be decomposed by insects such as mites, leeches
- Cannot be refrigerated
- Dries up too quickly. Therefore, you need to clamp the wood pieces very quickly
- Cannot be used to fill gaps in the furniture.
Polyurethane glue is an ideal choice for outdoor woodworking projects. It has a drying time of about 20 minutes, which means you can apply glue to multiple pieces at a time. Furthermore, it is an ideal choice when you’re joining just the end portion of the wood pieces. However, it starts drying up when exposed to the air, so you need to use it before it dries up completely in a few weeks.
- Sets in 20 minutes therefore adequate time to join multiple pieces together
- Starts drying up when exposed to air or moisture in the air
- High strength
- Available in different packaging and consistencies
- Can be used directly without any measurements
- Once exposed to air, will dry up in a few weeks
- Setting time can vary with the humidity conditions
- Not an ideal choice for dry climatic conditions
- Not an excellent void filler
- Can be costly
3. Epoxy glue:
Epoxy is one of the emerging and successful solutions for woodworking and metal works. It has two components, i.e., hardener and resin. Both these solutions need to be mixed in a balanced ration to obtain optimal results.
Epoxy glue is generally suitable for very heavy-duty woodwork and is commonly used when working with metals. Similarly, it is the best glue for woodworking where the piece of wood have deteriorated edges or gaps—serving as an excellent gap filler. The longer the epoxy takes to dry, the stronger the bond.
- Excellent gap filler
- Easy to use
- Strong and durable bond
- Resistant to heat and non-corrosive
- Epoxy fumes can be toxic and dangerous to eyes and lungs
4. Cyanoacrylate Glue:
Remember peeling that clear glue off your skin? That’s what Cyanoacrylate or super/crazy glue is. It is an acrylic resin-based glue which is only activated in the presence of moisture to form super-strong bonds.
This glue sets in very rapidly so you cannot apply it to multiple pieces. The bond is sturdy and lasts for a long duration. Therefore, it is ideal for outdoor woodworking projects. Cyanoacrylate glue is the best glue for woodworking on a small scale.
- Dries up rapidly
- Forms strong and long-lasting bonds
- Does not leave any mark on the wood pieces
- Can irritate skin
- Can be messy
- Not suitable for dry climatic conditions
- Short shelf life once opened
5. Hot hide Glue:
Hot hide glue is the one which is extracted out of animal hides. These are available in both solid and liquid form. They are an ideal choice for fixing old furniture and to obtain an aesthetic distressed furniture look. The glue has two amazing qualities, which makes it stand out amongst the other product, i.e., reversibility and initial tacking or joining.
This type of glue allows you rejoin old wood pieces without removing the previous glue joints as it efficiently dissolves them (applicable to only white and yellow glue). Similarly, newly formed joints can also be reversed to adjust positions by just dissolving the joints.
The glue sets in 2 steps. First, it cools down and becomes dry as water evaporates and forms a strong bond. Consequently, this allows you to join wood pieces without the use of clamps. However, the glue sets in very rapidly, thus not suitable when numerous joints are involved.
- Easy to clean
- Joints can be easily reversed without the need to scrape off old glue
- Strong and reliable
- Not water-resistant
- Poor adhesion without moisture
- Cannot be preserved by freezing
- Must be handled with care
The right wood glue plays a pivotal role in woodworking as it determines the durability and life of the project. Therefore, one should know which glue is best suited for their needs. To make your life even easier, we have listed the best glue for woodworking and their areas of specialization above. Happy woodworking!