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Choosing and Using the Right Adhesive for Woodworking Projects

Choosing and Using the Right Adhesive for Woodworking Projects

Find the Right Woodworking Adhesive the First Time

When it comes to choosing glue and adhesives, the first stop a woodworker will make is to pick up the standard yellow carpenter's glue. In a pinch, this glue is great for touch-ups or repairs. It also has its place in most woodworking projects. But when it comes to building and creating, there's a lot to be learned about choosing and using the proper adhesive. Wood projects can benefit greatly from the use of different glue types, and a masterful worker can create strong, solid final projects  built to last by paying attention to which adhesives work best for each project.

What Type of Wood Are You Working With?

Before you choose the glue or adhesive you're going to use, you're going to need to examine the wood that you plan on using for your wood projects. The way you cut the wood will have a lot to do with how well the pieces glue together. Sometimes different parts of the wood often absorb liquid glues at different rates.

Because of this, you'll need to make sure the wood absorbs the glue or adhesive at the same rate. If the liquid absorbs unevenly, the joint is likely to fail at some point. The same holds true if there is uneven moisture content in the wood you plan on working with. Moisture content cannot be overlooked when you're working with wood. This is because liquid glue will not readily absorb into a saturated surface. When a surface saturates with moisture, the glue can't adhere properly to the wood surface. Wood that is too moist will shrink away from the joint as it dries and this can cause the joint to weaken, and ultimately fail.

There are also concerns to be aware of if the wood is too dry. A dry piece of wood may absorb too much of the glue, leaving little glue to help adhere the joint together.     

When gluing wood joints together, you'll also want to pay special attention to the quality of the surface. A smooth, flat and unsanded surface is ideal when gluing two pieces of wood together without gapes. If you need a smooth surface, use a planer or jointer, if necessary, to create a smooth, even surface for the wood you are using.   

Considerations for Choosing Adhesives

When you're working with wood, aside from moisture content, there are a few important factors to consider when choosing your adhesives. Each glue or other adhesive will instruct you on the proper working conditions via the instruction label. Take the time to read the label for specifications to make sure you're getting the right type for your project.

Temperature is one of the most important factors to consider. What environment will you be working in? Some adhesives much be applied with hear, while other adhesives won't set if temperature you're working in is too cold.

What Type of Glue Does the Job?

A huge factor in the quality and strength of glue joints is the type of adhesive that is used. Will the joint be regularly exposed to the elements, such as rain and snow? If so, you will need to choose an adhesive that is meant to endure moisture. Will the joint you're using be bearing weight, such as the weight of people on a bench or chair? If so, you'll need to find a glue, resin or epoxy that's meant to be load-bearing. Keep these needs in mind when you're choosing an adhesive for your joints, or you may find they can't hold up to the tasks they're designed to accomplish.

If you plan on clamping the wood joints together, pay special attention to the setting times for the adhesive you choose and make sure you're able to keep the joints clamped safely, out of the elements and at the correct temperature according the adhesive's specifications. 

Some adhesives will require additional preparation before use. They may need to be mixed or warmed before applying. This means that you'll need to add in extra time for the completion of the project and have all the joints and other elements you're gluing available and ready. If you've prepared for a complex project with lots of parts, and the glue you've chosen sets too quickly, you may not be able to assemble the entire project in time.

Because of this, you must always take the project time into consideration when choosing the proper adhesive.

Different Adhesive and Glue Types's has a variety of wood adhesives, glues, and accessories to help you make your next woodworking project a success. It you're unsure where to start, here's a rundown of some of the basic adhesive types and a bit of information about their usage:

  • Yellow glue: As mentioned earlier, conventional carpenter's glue is perfect for many simple woodworking projects. Keep in mind that it sets quickly - typically within ten minutes. 
  • Waterproof glues: Glues such as Titebond III are ideal for almost any wood project that will be exposed to moisture, especially outdoor projects.
  • Complex project glue: For projects that require a slower setting time, especially complex wood project, glue such as Titebond Extend can create a powerful bond without setting too quickly.
  • Glue guns: Glue guns are easy to control and clean to work with. Different sticks can offer different benefits. For example, Surebonder polyamide glue sticks offer excellent impact resistance at low temperatures also have a high temperature resistance, while other polyamide hot melt glue stick offer heat and chemical resistance. Glue sticks can also sometimes be matched to the wood color.

Whatever the project, has a solution that will work with your specifications. Not sure which adhesives or accessories are the best for your next woodworking project? Feel free to get in touch from our website. We'll be happy to help you make your next project a success.