Top 5 Picks for Wood Glues & A Complete Buyer’s Guide

One of the vital components of any woodworking project is glue. It helps to hold the pieces together and make sure that they don’t fall apart. However, not all glues are alike. Some glues are better for specific projects than others, so selecting the correct one is crucial.

When shopping for glue, it’s difficult not to notice that there isn’t just one sort of wood glue—instead, there are several. Most wood glues are synthetic or resins, except Hide Glue, derived from animal collagen. These glues differ in terms of bond endurance, flexibility, toxicity, and waterproofness, in addition to chemical composition. Some may even have a more significant impact on a wood’s finish than others.

Common Wood Glue Types:

  • PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate) Glue
  • Cyanoacrylate (CA) Wood glue
  • Polyurethane Wood Glue
  • Epoxy-Based Glue
  • Hide glue

PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate) Glue

PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate) is a synthetic polymer. It forms a permanent, flexible bond. It is one of the most found glues in the home. For basic indoor jobs, this adhesive is both inexpensive and highly effective. The adhesive is non-toxic (except when ingested) and cleans up quickly with water.

Some glues contain cross-linking polyvinyl acetate, which improves the bond’s water resistance. As a result, you can use it for a variety of outdoor woodworking projects. PVA is available in white and yellow (commonly known as “carpenter’s glue”). White PVA is intended for indoor use, while yellow PVA is intended for outdoor use.

Pros
  • Non-toxic(except when ingested)
  • Water-soluble (except cross-linking polyvinyl acetate)
  • Permanent, once dry
Cons
  • PVA will leave a residue
  • Hard to apply wood stain over PVA

Cyanoacrylate (CA) Wood glue

Cyanoacrylate (CA) Wood Glue is used to join two rigid pieces of material, often known as “super glue.” It’s the go-to option for quick and easy repairs. With a few taps of a hammer or mallet, bonds created by CA glue can be broken, which makes it the best option when you need a temporary fix.

Unlike other wood glues, it cures or sets in a matter of minutes. The glue hardens into a plastic-like bond when it dries. However, the adhesive might be runny and untidy when applied. Because of its industrial level bonding potential, you must be extremely careful not to get the glue on your fingers or hands since it will instantly stick to your flesh.

When working with the liquid, water-like adhesive, wear a mask and safety gloves. Excess superglue can be removed from a work area using acetone, but it might ruin the wood’s surface if not applied properly.

Pros
  • Strong bond once cured
  • Extremely short curing time
  • Inexpensive
Cons
  • Fume from CA glue can irritate the nose and eyes
  • Hard to remove from skin
  • Thin and runny
  • Short shelf life

Polyurethane Wood Glue

Polyurethane is a synthetic resin that forms solid and long-lasting connections. It is incredibly versatile, as it can be used on various materials, including wood, plastic, stone, metal, porcelain, foam, glass, and concrete. Because of its high level of waterproofing, it’s ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.

Unlike other wood glues, polyurethane is moisture activated, which means it sets by absorbing moisture from the air. As a result, it bonds exceptionally well in humid conditions. It also doesn’t cause sensitive wood fibers to dry out. When using polyurethane wood glues, you must first wet the surface before applying it.

Pros
  • Extremely waterproof
  • Good low-temperature performance
  • Tough after it completely cures
Cons
  • Lower bond strength than epoxies
  • Gives off VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) when curing
  • Needs a wet surface to bond

Epoxy-Based Glue

Epoxies are known for their strong bindings to various substances and their chemical and moisture resistance. They are typically brittle and rigid.

Epoxy-based glue consists of a two-part bonding system: a resin and a hardener, and it is designed to bridge gaps in softwoods and hardwoods. It’s also great for joining two pieces of wood together. Bonding, on the other hand, takes time. 

To build a firmer bond, you’ll need to clamp the wood down. Although certain epoxy woods are explicitly designed for indoor use, some glues are water-resistant and may be used for indoor and outdoor applications.

Pros
  • Bond strength is exceptional
  • Excellent adhesion to different types of surfaces
  • Chemical and moisture resistance is excellent
Cons
  • Potentially brittle
  • Might be dangerous to handle

Hide Glue

Hide glue is boiled animal collagen, It’s made from animal hides, and while some hide glues are solid and must be applied with a brush after melting in a hot water bath. Some glues are available in a liquid form in the shape of an applicator bottle.

This type of glue is mainly used to restore antique furniture, create a pleasing “crackling” effect, and be an excellent adhesive agent for other materials such as fabric, glass, and leather.

Pros
  • Shrinks, as it dries
  • It does not suffer from “creep”
  • Can be cleaned with water
Cons
  • It is not water-resistant
  • Hot Hide Glue is very smelly

Few Factors to Consider Before Purchasing Glue for Your Next DIY Project

Strength of glue

One thing to consider when purchasing glue is the type of activity you project to undertake. Knowing this will help determine the amount of strength you should go for. If you need to glue heavy-duty woods, don’t use glue that isn’t very strong because it will wear away over time.

Shelf life of the glue

You don’t want to buy glue just to have it dry out before you can use it because of its short shelf life. If you want to utilize wood glue in the future, you’ll need to purchase glue with a longer shelf life. You’ll find glues with lids on their bottles that help keep air from getting in.

Dry time

When choosing an adhesive for your project, consider how long it will take for the glue to dry. If glue takes a long time to dry, it may harm your project and make it difficult for you to finish it on time. Certain wood adhesives are fast-acting, meaning they dry in a matter of seconds after being applied.

Color 

If you’re going to use glue for carpentry, make sure it comes in natural wood color, so it doesn’t blend wrong.

Viscosity 

Some wood glue formulations have a low viscosity, making them perfect for filling hairline fractures, re-bonding preassembled furniture repairs. On the other hand, they can be runny and untidy. If you use a low-viscosity glue that dries rapidly, wipe up any leftover glue with a damp cloth asap before it dries.

A thicker viscosity wood glue is ideal for more demanding DIY projects like connecting two pieces of wood, while a medium-level or well-balanced thick viscosity glue is best for all-around use. It’s suitable for gluing wood, leather, and fiberglass, as well as filling in medium-sized gaps and working on larger-scale hobby projects.

Best Wood Glues in November, 2021

 Spray GunType 
1Gorilla Wood GluePVA Check Price
2Elmer’s E7310 Carpenter’s Wood Glue MaxPVA Check Price
3Titebond Liquid Hide Glue
Hide Check Price
4FastCap 2P-10 Super Glue Adhesive Cyanoacrylate Check Price
5Titebond 1414 16 Oz Titebond III UltimateAdvanced Proprietary Polymer Check Price

Project Farm’s excellent Youtube channel covered this wood glue brands’ contest through tensile and shear load testing, I highly recommend checking it out before making your decision:

YouTube player

Gorilla Wood Glue

Gorilla 6206005 Wood Glue
Photo: Amazon

Gorilla Wood Glue is considered one of the strongest wood glues available, ideal for outdoor or indoor DIY woodworking projects. The wood glue is proudly created in the United States, is incredibly strong, and outperforms any other wood glue.

Because of its high adhesive strength, Gorilla wood glue penetrates at least 2-inches into the wood grain to provide a super-strong bond. Gorilla wood glue meets ANSI/HPVA Type II water-resistance standards. As a result, it’s an excellent choice for any outdoor woodworking project.

It can, however, be used for interior jobs such as a hobby or DIY projects. Gorilla glue is an extraordinarily versatile substance used on hardwood, softwood, and natural wood composites. 

Pros
  • Extremely strong
  • Excellent value for money
  • Water-resistant
Cons
  • It’s difficult to clean the dispenser nozzle

Elmer’s E7310 Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max 

Elmer's E7310 Carpenter's Wood Glue Max
Photo: Amazon

Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Glue has been America’s favorite wood glue for over 60 years. Elmer’s Wood Glue gives you a better strength adhesive connection because it was built with carpenters in mind, making it an excellent choice for all types of indoor woodworking projects and DIY repairs. Soft and hardwoods, particleboard, and porous materials are the finest choices.

With Elmer’s E3710 Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max, high-quality bonds and woodworking projects don’t have to be expensive. This wood glue is waterproof, sandable, stainable, and paintable and makes strong bonds.

Pros
  • The price is reasonable
  • Paintable and sandable
  • It’s simple to clean up with water
Cons
  • Not appropriate for outdoor use
  • It cannot be stained

Titebond Liquid Hide Glue

Franklin International 5013 Titebond Liquid Hide Glue
Photo: Amazon

Titebond Genuine Hide Glue is the first liquid, ready-to-use hide glue on the market. It doesn’t need to be mixed, heated, or stirred. 

Professional woodworkers use Titebond Genuine Hide Glue because of its extended assembly time, outstanding strength, and unique crackling effect on wood. It has excellent creep resistance, is sandable, and is not affected by finishes. Its moisture sensitivity allows for easy disassembly of parts, which is helpful in antique restoration and musical instrument repair.

Pros
  • It doesn’t need to be mixed, heated, or stirred
  • Excellent standability
  • It can give wood a “crackling” look.
Cons
  • Time to assemble/work is limited
  • Unpleasant odor

FastCap 2P-10 Super Glue Adhesive

FastCap 2P-10 Super Glue Adhesive
Photo: Amazon

FastCap’s super combination adhesive and activator pack is ideal for carpentry and other bonding jobs.

A 2.25-ounce adhesive spray bottle and a 12-ounce activator aerosol can with a thick viscosity are included in the package. So, whether you’re planning a large-scale DIY project like remodeling your kitchen or emergency glue to keep your glasses together, the cyanoacrylate-based glue will come in handy.

Simply apply one surface with the water-resistant adhesive and the other with the spray activator. To give your furniture or woodworking project a professional finish, press the two sides together to form a solid, lasting bond.

Pros
  • Excellent price/quality ratio
  • Fast-drying
  • Water-resistant
  • Accelerator spray and adhesive applicator
Cons
  • Only water-resistant, not waterproof

Titebond 1414 16 Oz Titebond III Ultimate

Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue
Photo: Amazon

Finding the correct adhesive might be difficult with so many options available. The Titebond Ultimate adhesive, on the other hand, is a game-changer in the wood glue market. The glue is simple to use, clean and forms a strong, long-lasting bond. This glue is waterproof to be used both indoors and outside, depending on the task.

Pros
  • Excellent value for money
  • Water-resistance is excellent
  • Very good Sandability
  • >Dries fast
Cons
  • It dries to a translucent yellow color
  • Some uses, such as hobby-related jobs, require a thicker material
  • Low temperatures (below 55°F) are not suitable

Final Recommendation of WoodImprove.com

The best glue for you will eventually be determined by the jobs you need it for. However, the Gorilla Wood Glue, in general, is the best all-around glue for woodworking, in my view.

William Stewart

The proud owner and lead writer of WoodImprove.com. Started writing in 2018 and sharing his love and passion for wood treatments and crafts.

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