Guide to Choosing the Right Wood Glue

Purchasing the right wood glue can be confusing. There are many options available when you search online or enter a store. Each glue appears to have a unique set of features to offer, and prices vary greatly. How do you then make that decision? You need something you can rely on, to begin with. No matter if you’re a skilled carpenter or just repairing a piece of furniture, you can’t take the chance of the glue failing. The next step is to consider what the glue will have to endure. 

Choosing the ideal glue is highly dependent on the particular type of wood and application. Usually, a strong glue junction is stronger than the wood it is joining. In other words, the likelihood of the wood breaking before the bonded junction is higher. You need to use the appropriate adhesive for each application to get these outcomes. The most popular glues and appropriate times to use each are shown below.

  1. PVA Glue: The most popular wood glue is polyvinyl acetate glue, sometimes referred to as “wood glue” or “carpenter’s glue.” There are plenty of excellent causes for this. PVA glue not only has superior adhesion and bonding strength, but it also keeps its flexibility after drying. Additionally, it dries transparently so your results are seamless. This adhesive has remarkable resistance to shock and vibration because of its rubbery texture, which you won’t find in all wood glues. The maximum tensile resistance of PVA can reach 3800 PSI. Thus, you can use this adhesive for heavier-weight applications as well.
  2. Polyurethane Wood Glue: Another fantastic adhesive for joining wood is a polyurethane glue. This adhesive is a liquid plastic polymer that is available in one- or two-part formulations. In comparison to PVA glue, it takes only 6 to 8 hours to cure. There are many PU glues that dry clear, however, polyurethane glues commonly dry brown. It works well for wood bonding because it can expand into small fissures and gaps, filling in joints and creating an incredibly strong bond. It has a strong grip and creates wonderful end-grain linkages. The glue in question is also entirely waterproof. It provides excellent moisture defense and works well in outdoor, kitchen, and bathroom applications. The tensile strength of this glue is astounding, coming in at 3,000 PSI. It can support a great deal of weight and strain without crumbling. If you need to bind glass to wood, this kind of glue is also excellent.
  3. Epoxy: Typically, epoxy glue is a two-part adhesive. Although messy and challenging to use, it is one of the strongest adhesives. You can use it to bond any sort of wood as well as wood to other materials because it is suitable for practically any substance. Epoxies can have a variety of qualities depending on the formulation. Epoxy glues, however, are normally 100 percent waterproof and very resistant to solvents, high temperatures, stress, and impact. The majority of epoxies also have strong mechanical attributes, making them ideal for heavy-duty or large-scale applications. Depending on the product’s requirements and formula, this kind of glue can produce hard or flexible bonding and is excellent for filling gaps. The extremely long curing period of epoxies is its main drawback. Epoxies can take up to 72 hours to fully cure. Not the best option if you need to finish anything right away.
  4. Cyanoacrylate Glue: Super glue or cyanoacrylate (CA) glue is the go-to adhesive for minor repairs. It sticks to almost any material. Additionally, it dries quickly to provide a firm, plastic-like bond, making it ideal for attaching difficult-to-clamp goods like tiny plastic components, jewelry, and porcelain. Both the liquid and gel forms of CA glue help prevent untidy runs.
  5. Contact Cement: For routine woodworking, contact cement isn’t the greatest option. There are a few instances where it should be used, though. Use contact cement, for instance, to attach a veneer to the side of a cabinet or a laminate sheet to a wood substrate. You must apply it to both surfaces and wait for it to dry since it adheres to itself. Make sure everything is in the right place before touching because once they do, they permanently bond.
  6. Hot Melt Glue: For woodworking, hot melt glue isn’t the best option, especially if you need something structural. However, hot glue works quickly, so it can be used to briefly keep something together. The ideal applications for hot melt glue are jigs and holding two components together while simultaneously boring holes through both. After your task is finished, it may be simply separated and won’t damage the wood’s surface.
  7. Hide Glue: Natural adhesive created from animal skins is known as “hide glue” or “animal glue.” It is typical in woodworking and has several significant benefits. This adhesive contains no hazardous, volatile organic chemicals because it is primarily collagen-based. This glue is very soft, non-irritating, and non-toxic. It requires no curing preparation and cures clear. It can operate at room temperature with no further adjustment. Although hide glue can create unique wood-based bonding, it is not as strong as the other alternatives on the list. Additionally, not waterproof, this adhesive retains a high-temperature sensitivity even after drying. However, the heat sensitivity of concealing glue has several benefits. Because wood joints conceal glue bonds that are broken by heat or steam exposure, they are simple to repair. Because of its sensitivity, hide glue is ideal for gluing cloth to wood.

Which Wood Glue Is the Strongest?

Men's hand uses silicone adhesive with adhesive to connect the mirror with aluminum.

PVA glue is perhaps the strongest wood adhesive you can use. Since it depends on the wood, the joint, the wood’s orientation, whether it is inside or outside, and many other factors, we answer probably. PVA glue is regarded as one of the strongest glue kinds since it often reacts better than most other glues in most situations.

What Factors Should You Consider When Choosing the Right Wood Glue

Choosing the best wood glue for your project is very dependent on the project, how durable it needs to be, the wood you’re using, whether you’re working inside or outside, cure and dry times, and a variety of other factors. Here are some things to think about while selecting the best wood glue for your project.

  1. Strength: The adhesive strength of wood glues does differ. There are glues available for both permanent bonding and temporary gluing of two pieces of wood.
  2. Storage and Shelf Life: Some glues, such as concealing glue in crystal form, can be kept for a very long time. Some PVAs and other glues have a shelf life of roughly six months. Both CA glue and epoxies can be kept in storage for a very long time if they are not opened. The majority of glues list their shelf life on the bottle, although hot and cold temperatures can also influence glue. A glue that has passed its expiration date won’t produce a glue joint that is as strong as it once was. Buying less glue to avoid wasting it by constantly throwing it away is a wise decision.
  3. Drying Time: CA glue can dry in a matter of seconds, in contrast to PVA and epoxy glues, which can take up to a week to completely cure. CA glue is not necessarily the best adhesive for all woodworking tasks just because it dries quickly. Sometimes you have to use the lengthier curing glues to make sure your joints are as strong as possible.

You should be able to use these pointers to locate the ideal glue for all kinds of wood applications. Always keep in mind the nature of the application and the kind of glue you require when selecting one of the items on the list or any other adhesive you have access to.