The Different Types Of Wood Glue And When To Use Them

types of wood glue

Last updated on October 23rd, 2021 at 06:06 am

There are many ways you can join two or more pieces of wood together. You can nail them together, you can use screws, you can use other forms of wood joinery techniques (such as dowels), and most importantly, you can glue them together.

When you glue two pieces of wood together properly, the glued joint is stronger than the wood itself. That’s why when you try to break the joint after it has cured, you often end up breaking the wood instead of separating the joint.

Many of the woodworking projects you’ll undertake will require that you use glue to make joints and assemble your project.

However, when it comes to using wood glue, one size does not fit all. There are different types of wood glue you can choose from.

The one you choose depends on the material you’re gluing up, the size or type of joint you’re making and how the finished product will be used.

If you’re a beginner woodworker, you’ll need to know how to sift through the different options out there in order to choose the best one for your project.

Using the wrong glue for a project can result in a whole lot of mess if you’re not careful. That’s why it’s very important that you choose the best one possible.

In that regard, you need not worry because we’ve already done the research for you. When you’re done reading this article, you’ll be more confident and likely to choose the best one the next time you have a project to work on.

PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate) Wood Glue

PVA glue

Polyvinyl acetate glue also known as PVA glue is the most common wood glue around today. It’s so common, I’m pretty sure you already have it in your house or workshop.

It comes in different forms and varieties. One of the most common ones being the yellow aliphatic resin carpenters glue which is a true staple of the woodshop and has been available since the beginning of the 20th century.

Talking about yellow glues, Titebond is the leading brand in the market, and they have different types you can choose from depending on the project you’re working on.

There’s Titebond Original, Titebond II, and Titebond III. They’re all the same yellow glue made by the same manufacturer (Titebond), but they differ in terms of resistance to water, open time and pricing.

Titebond Original is not water resistant. That’s why it’s best you use it for interior projects only. Titebond II is water resistant, hence can be used for making projects that will be exposed to water such as cutting boards and outdoor furniture.

Titebnd III is water proof or more water resistant than titebond II, and thus can be used for projects that will be submerged in water or projects that frequently come in contact with water.

In terms of open time, Titebond III has twice the open time of Titebond II and Titebond Original. So, if you need more time to set and adjust the glue joint after spreading glue on the different pieces, then you need to go for Titebond III.

Another popular PVA glue is the Elmer’s white glue. It’s non-toxic, cleans up easily with water and produces a strong joint once it’s cured.

The only downside about PVA glues is that they don’t absorb stain the way wood does, so any excess glue left on the wood surface will still be visible after the wood is stained, if the glue is not wiped off or sanded off before staining.

Related: The Different Types Of Wood For Furniture And Woodworking

Polyurethane Glue

polyurethane glue

If you’ve heard of or made use of Gorilla glue, then you’ve used polyurethane glue as well. Gorilla glue is just the trade name for it.

Polyurethane glue produces a very strong bond and can be used to glue up different materials such as ceramics, metal, stone, fabric and wood.

Hence they’re ideal in places where the strength of the bond is of utmost importance such as when making woodworking jigs.

You have to be careful though when using it on final assembly projects because it expands as it sets and can quickly form a mess on your project.

So, it’s best to use it only on projects you still have to sand or plane down to get the final finish.

Polyurethane glue is also water resistant, thus it’s suitable for outdoor furniture projects that will be affected by rain/weather.

Related: 40 Modern Woodworking Tools For Every Woodworker Should Have

Hide Glue

hide glue

One of the oldest form of adhesive you can use today is hide glue. As the name implies, it’s made from animal hide.

Traditionally, it comes in the form of dry flakes or pellets which is then melted down using double boilers and applied while it’s still warm.

Currently though, there are liquid forms manufactured by companies like Titebond and Old Brown Glue, although the traditional hide glue produces the strongest bonds as it contains no additives that neutralizes the strength of the glue.

Hide glue has some desirable properties which makes it the glue of choice when making antic furniture or for projects you intend to take apart in the future for repairs.

By simply warming any hide glue joint, the glue will loosen up and you can take the furniture apart for repairs. Hide glue can also be stained unlike other glues and it’s non-toxic as well.

Epoxy Glue

epoxy glue

Epoxy is a two-part glue. One is resin, the other is a hardener. When mixed together, they harden and form strong glue which is majorly used for filling gaps in wood or repairing a damaged wood.

It’s resistant to different elements such as water, heat and ultraviolet light. It also adheres to a wide range of materials including plastic and metal.

However, even though it produces a very strong bond when used in the right places, epoxy glue not suitable for gluing very tight fitting joints.

CA Glue

CA or Superglue

We all know it as Super Glue or Crazy glue which are actually trade names for it. The generic name is Cyanoacrylate or CA glue.

Although it can glue almost anything, it’s not meant for large glue ups. It’s best for small repair jobs such as gluing chipped wood or cracked wood.

CA glue dries up quickly and it’s available both in liquid and gel form.

Related: Wood Stain Tips Every Woodworker Should Know


Before you go, here are a few things you need to take note of when buying wood glue for your next woodworking project.

First, the material you’re gluing up should decide the type of glue you buy. You shouldn’t buy a glue just because it’s the strongest.

For instance, Polyurethane glue or Gorilla glue as it is commonly known is very strong, but it’s not recommended for finished or final assembly projects as it can form a mess on your finished project.

Epoxy glue is also very strong, but it’s best for filling up and gluing gappy joints instead of tight fitting joints.

So, the material you’re trying to glue up should determine the glue you choose.

Secondly, buy glue as you need it. Don’t buy in bulk. Buy in small containers so that your glue remains fresh.

If you have any leftover glue, read the labels so that you know how to store the glue. Some glues such as hide glue lasts longer when they’re refrigerated.

Finally, date your glue bottles immediately you open the seal so that you know how fresh they are.

The older they get after you open them, the more strength they lose. So, always date them to make sure you’re not using it when it has lost almost all its holding power.

With the information above, we hope you make the right choice the next time you’re buying glue for a woodworking project.

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