Gluing Overview for Beginner Woodworkers

wood glue

Gluing wood together is one of the most common activities woodworkers perform. The fibrous characteristic of wood means that glue can sink into the grooves, rather than sitting on top of the surface, forming an extremely strong bond. Using the right kind of glue for a given project is critical to the performance of the final piece. Glue can be used alone, or in combination with a mechanical fastener for increased strength.

When gluing a joint, ensuring that the pieces fit snugly enough without glue is important. If pieces have to be forced or clamped to fit together, the force will be working against the glue and a weak bond will be formed. If force is needed, more work may be needed before the wood pieces are ready for glue. Porous, well fitted edges will form the strongest bond when glued.

Some types of wood glue include yellow glue, polyvinyl acetate and polyurethane glue. Yellow carpenter’s glue is probably the type with which most people are familiar. Yellow glue is widely used by woodworkers, and is suitable for many types of projects. However, yellow glue is not waterproof and dries quickly, so it does not work well for joints that require more time to assemble. Polyvinyl acetate, commonly called white glue, is another staple in many woodshops. White glue can be used for applications that require more time to assemble than yellow glue. Polyurethane glue is relatively new to the market. It is a waterproof glue, making it a great choice for many outdoor projects. Polyurethane glue forms the strongest bond with the aid of a little moisture, so it is recommended to moisten the wood edge prior to the application of polyurethane glue. These are just a few of the many options on the market today. It may take some experimentation and testing to determine the glues that work best for your projects.

No single glue is suitable for every woodworking project. If you are regularly working on a variety of different projects, you may end up with several types of glue on hand. With practice, you will also fine tune your technique and form your preferences for which type of glue to use in different situations. Whatever type of glue you are using, reading the label is important to understanding its intended uses and limitations. Manufacturers will specify the temperature that is ideal for drying as well as the amount of time to allow glue to dry and any special considerations for that specific glue.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., provider of the best hardwood dowels on the market. They offer wooden balls, wood knobs, wood dowels, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit for all of your wood product needs.

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