Basic Guide To Ready To Use Wood Glue
For most woodworking projects, you can successfully use one of the three main types of ready-to-use wood glues. Each type has unique characteristics that make it suitable for some woodworking applications, but not for others. Let’s take a look at the three most common wood glues, which can be found at most hardware and woodworking supply stores, and the characteristics you need to know to choose a glue for each of your wood projects.
Setting Time Vs. Curing Time
Before using a wood glue on your projects, you’ll need to know the setting time, or the time it takes for the glue to hold the project together on its own. This can be minutes or hours. You’ll need to hold or clamp the project together until the setting time has passed. Curing time is the time it takes for the glued joint to reach full strength. For some glues or projects, you can’t continue working until the glue is completely cured.
Shelf Life Vs. Pot Life
Shelf life is the time you can keep a jar or pot of glue in your wood shop and still be able to use it for a strong glue joint. Don’t buy large quantities of wood glue that has a short shelf life. Also follow the storage instructions to get the longest possible shelf life. Pot life is the time the wood glue is spreadable and useable once the container is open and exposed to air. At the end of the pot life, the wood glue has begun to set and won’t be as useful or sturdy for new glue joint.
Spreadability, Tack & Temperature
Consider how you will apply the wood glue and how much you need to be able to spread it around. Some wood glues are very hard to spread, or can be difficult at some temperatures. If you’ll be sanding the glued joint or exposing it to high temperatures, choose a glue that won’t weaken with heat. Wet tack, or how well the glue sticks on the wood, is important if you need to force joints together. Glue that won’t stay on the dowel when it’s inserted into a hole won’t make a strong joint.
White Wood Glue
White wood glue is usually made of polyvinyl acetate and is a great all-purpose wood glue. It can be used to glue porous surfaces together, but it is not waterproof, so should only be used for indoor wood projects. White wood glue spreads easily and requires about an hour of setting time. White glue also dries almost clear, but can be weakened by some solvent-based finishing agents and doesn’t have good heat-resistance. White wood glue has the lowest wet tack of the common wood glues.
Cream-Colored Wood Glue
Creamy wood glues are usually made of aliphatic resins, and are another good all-purpose wood glue. Aliphatic resin glues are stronger than white wood glues and have much better wet tack and shorter set times, plus better heat, solvent and moisture resistance. It is easily spreadable at a wide range of temperatures, but dries to a milky finish. Dyes are available for these glues if a glue line would mar the project.
Heat resistance and good sandability are the selling points for hide glue, the oldest of the common wood glues. This amber-colored wood glue has a longer setting and curing time than other glues types, but will not clog up sandpaper or sanding belts or weaken significantly with heat. Hide glue dries to a clear amber finish and had good wet tack, but is not very moisture resistant and has the shortest shelf life of common wood glues.