Top-Rated Wood Glue: Which One Should You Trust?

GlueFAQ Team

Updated on:

When it comes to woodworking, the adhesive you choose can make or break your masterpiece. It’s not just about sticking two pieces together; it’s about creating a bond that stands the test of time, whether it’s exposed to indoor calm or outdoor chaos. 

With a plethora of options flooding the market, determining the perfect wood glue for your endeavor might seem overwhelming. 

Fear not, for we’ve taken the liberty of crafting this comprehensive guide, shedding light on the top-rated wood glues that professionals trust. 

Dive in!

Gorilla Wood Glue

Click here to buy

Gorilla Wood Glue, renowned for being one of the most potent adhesives, is a product of the reputable Gorilla brand, which is celebrated for its superior quality glues and tapes. 

This PVA-based wood glue is designed with an indoor-outdoor formula, making it perfect for a broad range of projects, from indoor cabinetry to outdoor furniture. 

It dries to a natural tan hue, allowing for easy concealment of joints, and is even sandable and stainable, ensuring seamless blending with various wood types. 

Its thicker consistency aids in spreading it across large surfaces, and it offers an extended open time of up to 15 minutes, facilitating the joining of substantial wood pieces. 

Gorilla Glue’s bond is extraordinarily tight, boasting a tensile strength ranging from 3900 to 4000 psi, ensuring the adhesive remains intact even if the wood fails. 

Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max

Click here to buy

Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max offers high-quality bonding without breaking the bank. This PVA-based adhesive not only forms bonds that outlast the wood’s inherent strength but also boasts waterproof, sandable, paintable, and stainable properties. 

Additionally, Elmer’s also has the E7000 Carpenter’s Wood Glue, a cost-effective choice for budget-conscious individuals. Even though it might not compete head-to-head with premium PVA wood glues, it remains apt for a wide range of tasks. 

It’s compatible with both softwoods and hardwoods, dries to a natural hue, and is both sandable and paintable. An advantage is its brief clamping period, which ranges from 20 to 30 minutes, ensuring your projects progress with minimal interruptions. 

Titebond Polyurethane Glue

Click here to buy

Titebond Polyurethane offers a versatile solution for those seeking a single adhesive for various bonding tasks, including woodworking. This polyurethane-based adhesive has an impressive array of compatible surfaces, ranging from wood to metals and ceramics. 

Its application is straightforward, with minimal running compared to PVA glues, and provides a generous 25-minute window to position workpieces, culminating in a quick 4-hour cure time. 

Most users said that the glue’s strength was commendable during testing, excelling in both long-grain and miter bond tests, all while being odorless. 

Notably, its expansion without clamps necessitates the use of clamps or mechanical fastening, and its cleanup differs from PVA glues, with a tendency to stain skin.

Krazy Glue Wood Glue

Click here to buy

Krazy Glue Wood Glue offers a swift bonding solution for situations where traditional clamping and prolonged drying aren’t feasible. 

With a generous 2-minute open time, it provides users with a bit of flexibility before setting but impressively dries within 6 minutes. It’s versatile, catering to an array of woods like pine, oak, and maple. 

STARBOND Super Glue

Click here to buy

This cyanoacrylate adhesive offers a water-thin viscosity designed especially for seeping deep into cracks. For larger fissures, users can innovate by adding sawdust before the glue, ensuring a seamless mend. 

But its utility doesn’t end with wood; its multifunctional nature extends its usability to other surfaces like leather, ceramic, metal, and rubber.

Types of Wood Glue

Each type of glue offers unique properties that make them suitable for specific tasks. Let’s delve into the primary wood glues you might encounter.

Hide Glue

  • Composition: Derived from animal collagen, mainly from animal skin.
  • Forms: Available in both liquid and solid crystal forms.
  • Properties:
  • Produces flexible and long-lasting bonds.
  • Requires warmth and dilution for effective application.
  • Preferred for preserving antique furniture and traditional craftsmanship.
  • Popular in guitar and stringed instrument construction
  • Applications: Ideal for furniture repair, especially antiques.

PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate)

  • Composition: A synthetic polymer with a rubbery consistency.
  • Forms: Typically found in white (indoor use) and yellow (outdoor use) varieties.
  • Properties:
  1. Non-toxic, but ingestion is hazardous.
  2. Water-soluble; can be thinned with water.
  3. Permanent bond; very difficult to remove once dried.
  4. Can affect wood’s finish and doesn’t stain uniformly.
  • Applications: Suited for nonstructural wood-to-wood bonds.

Polyurethane

  • Composition: A synthetic plastic resin.
  • Properties:
  1. Forms tight and lasting bonds.
  2. Moisture-activated, performing well in humid conditions.
  3. Doesn’t dry out sensitive wood fibers.
  4. Better staining properties than PVA.
  5. Excess can be cleaned with mineral spirits.
  • Applications: Useful for splicing boards and connecting moldings.

CA (Cyanoacrylate)

  • Composition: Acrylic resin, also known as superglue.
  • Properties:
  1. Quick-drying, bonds almost instantly at room temperatures.
  2. Hard and rigid once cured, but can be broken with a sharp tap.
  3. Short shelf life; deteriorates quickly after opening.
  4. Can be removed from skin using acetone.
  5. Potentially damaging to wood finish.
  • Applications: For temporary bonds, glue blocks, or wood reinforcements.

Epoxy

  • Composition: A two-part system, comprising a resin and a hardener.
  • Forms: Thickens to a putty-like consistency upon mixing.
  • Properties:
  1. Exceptional for filling gaps and cracks.
  2. Waterproof and highly durable once cured.
  3. Requires clean, dry, and sanded surfaces for optimal adhesion.
  • Applications: Favored for marine woodworking, like boats and sailing vessels.

Buyer’s Guide

Choosing the right wood glue for your project can be the difference between a masterpiece and a mishap. Consider the following: 

Strength

The tensile strength (measured in psi) of a wood glue determines its bonding power. While many glues promise formidable bonds, remember that the application technique significantly affects the bond’s strength. Always ensure surfaces are clean, evenly apply glue, clamp pieces together, allow appropriate curing time, and apply in suitable weather conditions.

Drying Time

There’s a distinction between open time, drying time, and curing time.

  • Open Time: This is the window after the glue exits the bottle when it’s still workable. For wood glue, this is typically 10-15 minutes, but cyanoacrylate glues have only a few seconds.
  • Drying Time: Refers to the duration before the glue dries enough for the bond to be self-sustaining. Wood glues might take hours, while cyanoacrylate dries in seconds and epoxies in minutes. Note, this doesn’t mean it’s ready for stress.
  • Curing Time: The total time until the glue achieves its maximum strength. Depending on the glue type, this can range from hours to days.

Shelf Life

Consider the glue’s longevity. Although many manufacturers suggest a one-year shelf life, proper storage can extend this. Keep glues in cool, dry places at room temperature to enhance their lifespan. CA glues, for instance, can last up to a decade if stored unopened in a freezer.

Viscosity

The glue’s thickness affects its application. Thinner glues are suitable for filling tiny cracks but might run on vertical surfaces. In contrast, thicker glues resist gravity, filling large cracks and are easier to spread over extensive areas.

Color

Since wood glue might be visible on the finished product, consider its dried color. Some dry naturally to match wood tones, while others are translucent. If you’re planning to stain or paint over the glue, ensure it’s compatible.

Weather Resistance

For outdoor projects, choose waterproof glues. The ANSI provides ratings, with Type 1 being waterproof, ideal for prolonged exposure, while Type 2 glues are only water-resistant.

Adhesive Strength

A high-quality wood glue will often create a bond stronger than the wood itself. For permanent fixtures, opt for stronger glues like PVA or polyurethane. For temporary holds or assistance while other glues dry, CA glue is ideal.

Dry Time

Consider your project’s pace. If you need rapid drying, opt for CA glue or epoxies. However, if strength is a priority and you can afford to wait, PVA or polyurethane glue might be best.

Shelf Life and Storage

Consider the glue’s longevity in storage. For instance, while you might find deals on bulk PVA glue, remember it has a shelf life of around a year. Proper storage can extend the life of many glues.

Color and Finish

The glue’s appearance post-application might impact your project’s aesthetics. While some can be sanded and stained over, others might interfere with finishes. For instance, while hide glue might not affect staining, it can bubble under latex paint.

Viscosity and Application

Your project’s nature will determine the best glue consistency. Thin glues like CA are ideal for minor repairs, while thicker ones like epoxies can fill and restore significant cracks or joints.

Conclusion

The world of wood glues is vast and varied, each product boasting unique properties tailored to specific applications and user needs. From the robust bond of Gorilla Wood Glue to the swift action of Krazy Glue Wood Glue, our guide illustrates the versatility and strength of today’s adhesives. Equipped with the right knowledge and the perfect glue, your woodworking projects are bound (pun intended!) to shine.

Good luck!

Leave a Comment