As you look over the woodworking projects at mancavewoodworking.com, know that many of the designs call for glue to hold parts permanently together.
For sure, you will need glue.
And while the wide range of glues at your local hardware store, home center, or woodworking supplies dealer may overwhelm you, take heart in that only a select few should do the job.
Choosing the right glue and knowing how to use it will guarantee success with each project.
Here are my favorite go-to glues, along with tips on achieving excellent results:
Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA) Glue
Ninety-five percent of the projects on this website rely on one of these glues for a permanent bonding of parts.
With them, the wood is more likely to split under pressure before the joint fails.
Most common among the PVAs is yellow aliphatic resin (yellow woodworking glue), an ideal choice for indoor projects including case work, boxes, and joinery.
With it you have a five-minute open time (the maximum time the applied glue can be exposed to the air before part assembly), a 30-minute clamping time, and it cleans up with water.
Titebond Original Wood Glue serves as an example.
Second in this category is water-resistant yellow glue represented by Titebond II Premium Wood Glue.
It can be used for both indoor and outdoor projects and may be a good choice for anything from cutting boards to Adirondack chairs.
Here, again, you have a five-minute open time and a 30-minute clamp time. Related to this aliphatic resin is Titebond II Extend Wood Glue.
Formulated for a longer open time, this glue allows you to glue-up more complex assemblies such as the dovetail joints in blanket chests or the mortise-and-tenon joints in chairs.
Unlike the two yellow glues, this white glue leaves an almost invisible fine glue line.
The last PVA glue I will mention, one I use a lot, is Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue.
This waterproof glue excels at bonding parts in either in door or outdoor projects, offering 10-minute open time, making it great for complex glue-ups.
While it is not suited for submersion in water, it’s my go-to glue for cutting boards, which are cleaned with a moist, soapy dish cloth before being wiped dry.
In short, it deals better with moisture-stressed wood than the other PVAs. It does, however, leave a fine tan glue line between bonding parts.
The beauty of polyvinyl acetates is that they are water soluble, meaning you can wipe up any glue excess or squeeze-out with a moist cloth during assembly and clamping.
Doing this prevents leaving glue residue on the joint’s surrounding wood, which would show up when you stain and finish your project.
A mixed batch of epoxy can perform some of the same tasks as PVA glues including laminations and outdoor furniture assembly, but it goes farther. You find it in marine applications, as a gap filler, and as a glue that can bond diverse materials together such as metal to wood.
A small dab of epoxy in a screw hole ensures that the screw remains permanently fixed.
Because of it’s powerful bonding ability, some have used epoxy in complicated cutting boards where end and edge grain parts meet up.
Its pliant nature lets it deal better with slight wood movement than PVA glues.
Depending on the formula you purchase, the open time for two-part epoxy can run anywhere from five to 50 minutes. (I use five-minute epoxy for most of my needs.)
Similarly, the clamp and cure time can range anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight.
Cleanup may require lacquer thinner, denatured alcohol, acetone, and, likely, some sanding.
Many five-minute epoxies come in a two-barrel plastic syringe containing resin in one barrel and an equal amount of hardener in the other.
By pressing the plunger, you discharge equal amounts of the epoxy’s two parts onto a mixing surface.
Then, by stirring the parts together for about a minute, you activate the epoxy, making it ready to go to work.
Known also as “instant” glue, cyanoacrylate comes in a variety of formulas (thin, medium, and thick), depending on the need at hand.
While not gap-filling to the degree of epoxy, it, too, can bond diverse materials such as wood, rubber, ceramics, metal, and plastics.
Woodturners use it to fill or fix gaps or cracks in bowls, and as a finish. Because of its quick set or open time (less than a minute), woodworkers use it bond a split or broken wood piece back in place.
Finger pressure may be the only pressure needed to hold the piece in place.
Use the recommended spray accelerator for an instant bond.
Cleanup with acetone.