It would be tiresome to list all the different things that can be done with wood glue. No matter what woodworking project you are doing, good glue is essential.
Of course, some products are better than others, so your choice is not as simple as it might seem. We have to think about drying time, waterproofing, overall strength, and all kinds of other things. In this article, we will examine different types of wood glue and attempt to determine which is the best wood glue.
Best Wood Glues in December, 2019
|#||Wood Glue||Set time (minutes)||Bond time (hours)||Waterproof|
|1||Titebond III Ultimate |
|2||Elmer’s Carpenters Tan||20-30||24||No|
|3||Titebond II Premium||60||24||Yes|
|4||Gorilla Wood Glue||20-30||24||Yes|
|5||Glue Masters Medium||30 secs||12||Yes|
|6||FastCap Adhesive||10 secs||30 secs||Yes|
|8||Wonderlock 'Em Chairs Glue||30 secs||12||Yes|
|9||Glue Masters Thick||1||12||Yes|
This is old and trusted brand, although this particular version of it is somewhat newer. Most people seem to like this incarnation of Titebond, though there are some dissenting opinions that we shall also examine.
This glue is meant to be completely waterproof, which gives it a serious advantage over some of the competition. You can use this for indoor or outdoor projects, and it should work equally well for each. In terms of strength, most users seem to agree that this provides a very strong bond. It’s also nice and thick, which makes it easy to apply to rounded surfaces, uneven surfaces, and vertical surfaces.
Pros And Cons Of The Applicator
I also like the built-in applicator tip. Like a bottle of superglue, this bottle makes it easy to get precise placement and makes it easier to reach those little crevices. However, there is one little problem with this design. Like a bottle of superglue, this thing has a tendency to get its tip clogged with dried glue. The only way to avoid this is by unscrewing the lid and washing out the tip after each use.
Long Dry Time
This one has a fairly long dry time. It takes a minimum of two hours before it begins to set up. Thus, you will need to bust out the clamps when you use this glue. After drying, it needs an additional 24 hours to cure and harden. There is one upside to this long dry time, and that is the fact that you have much more time to correct your work. If one of those pieces is misaligned, you will have a lot more time to notice and correct the issue.
Slow And Expensive, But Effective
This is one of the more expensive products on my list, but it offers something of value. What we have here is a strong glue that is also non-toxic. It’s easy to sand and paint and can be trusted to last for years under optimal conditions. As long as you aren’t in a big hurry to finish the job, this glue is a good choice. Still, I wouldn’t recommend it for big jobs because of its relatively high cost.
Just about everyone has used this type of glue at one time or another, as it is the go-to wood glue for many people. There are reasons for its popularity, most of which comes down to a combination of low price and ease of use. When we compare prices, we see that Elmer’s glue is by far one of the cheapest products on my list.
This product is really easy to clean up. Until it cures, it can be dissolved with water, so you don’t need to be very precise when using this stuff. When it dries and cures, it is still softer than many other types of glue, which makes it easy to sand and paint.
This type of glue is commonly given to children because of its non-toxic nature. There are no toxic fumes to burn your nose, and the formula is gentle enough that you could eat it (although no one with any sense would do so). Drying time is pretty good, as it dries within 30 minutes and cures fully within 24 hours.
Not The Most Durable
Sometimes, this glue is not the best choice because of its thin, watery consistency. When gluing a rounded surface, this glue has a tendency to run. Also, this glue is not very good for outdoor use. Over time, water and the elements will cause it to dissolve. Also, this glue is not the hardest in the world. Therefore, it is a great choice for low-stress applications. If you need maximum strength, however, this isn’t the one to grab.
This is another Titebond product, and this one is the earlier version. As you might expect, Titebond II isn’t that different from Titebond III. However, there are still a few significant differences to be considered.
The biggest difference is in the drying time. Although the total dry time of 24 hours has not changed, the initial drying time is reduced substantially. Titebond II has a much stronger initial tack, meaning that it sticks much better when first applied. In the third incarnation, they reduced this initial tack in an attempt to provide a longer dry time, but we find that this product already gave sufficient work time. Thus, they improved something that was not broken.
Very Tough Glue
This glue is apparently a little tougher than most others. First of all, it’s totally waterproof. That means it is a good choice for that wooden deck furniture or that shed repair or any other outdoor project. Not only does it resist water, but this glue also does not degrade as a result of normal temperature changes. It would take a great deal of heat to make this glue break down. Titebond II also does a good job of resisting chemicals, which is good for those who prefer harsh furniture cleaners.
It’s Foodsafe…Kind of
This glue is more or less non-toxic, so there’s no real danger when working with this one. I say “more or less” because the FDA has approved it for “indirect food use.” This somewhat confusing term tells us that this glue would be safe to use in food packaging, but not on utensils or preparation surfaces.
A Few Issues
When we look for problems, we see that this one has a few. Like its sister product, it has an applicator tip which is prone to clogging. The lid and tip must be removed after each use and cleaned, which is a slight inconvenience. Like its sister product, this one is also expensive. What’s more, several customers have complained of receiving dried-out glue. Thus, we can deduce that this product doesn’t have a particularly long shelf life.
As you might expect from this company, they have produced a glue that is extremely strong. Once dry, this glue will probably be harder and tougher than the wood itself. Thankfully, this isn’t the brown and foamy mixture that most people think of when you mention “gorilla glue”. Instead, this is a clear glue that provides a nearly invisible repair. This makes it a great choice for fine furniture.
We like the convenient applicator tip, although it is not a unique feature by any means. With such a strong and long-lasting glue, precision is very important. Of course, this tip will need to be cleaned in order to avoid clogging. If this tip gets clogged, you might as well cut it off because that’s the only way it’s coming loose. This tip is a little more difficult to clean than the tips on our two Titebond products.
That brings us to a small problem with this glue. It is probably the most difficult to use out of all our choices. First of all, it’s a really thick mixture. It isn’t nearly as thick as standard gorilla glue, but it’s still thicker than most wood glues.
On top of that, this glue begins to set up very quickly. Once the glue is in place, you can only count on about five minutes of working time. Thus, you had better make sure that you know what you are doing before you use this stuff. After 30 minutes, there is no moving this stuff. After 24 hours, it becomes like a rock. If you happen to make a serious mistake with this glue, it can be very difficult to reverse course.
This is one of the products on my list that isn’t labeled as a wood glue. However, it was deserving of inclusion in this list because it bonds well to wood…and pretty much everything else. This makes it a great choice for wooden objects with nonmetal fittings. Whether it’s a bronze finial or a wooden table with a stone top, this stuff is definitely up to the task.
Yes, It’s Superglue
If you are wondering what “cyanoacrylate” means, it’s just a fancy way of describing superglue. This product could accurately be described as high-end superglue. As such, it comes with the same benefits and drawbacks as standard superglue. First, it has a tendency to get stuck to your fingers, and it isn’t easy to remove. Many people find that it’s easy to glue their fingers together, and you can actually lose flesh in trying to get them apart. Now imagine how bad it would be to get this stuff in your eye. For this reason, you should wear goggles when using this glue.
A Little Dab Will Do It
This stuff is expensive, but there is a reason for that. The high-strength nature of this glue makes it so that you don’t need to use much. Thus, its high cost is somewhat mitigated by the fact that a little goes a long way. We also like the money-back guarantee offered by the company, which also makes us feel better about the cost.
Fast Dry Time
The fast dry time is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you can definitely get the job done quickly. This glue bonds almost instantly, and requires only a couple of hours to cure fully. This is great from a time-management perspective, but you will have very little time to align the pieces before the glue hardens. This is a product to be used sparingly and carefully. Another good reason to be careful is the toxic and slightly hazardous nature of this glue.
This is a type of super glue (cyanoacrylate) that has been triple distilled like a fine whiskey, resulting in the purest super glue that you can get. We can see that this hardcore purity is the main selling point of this item.
So, what does this extra purity do for the product? Well, it basically magnifies all the essential qualities of the substance. For one thing, it will form a harder and stronger substance upon curing. The label says that it can handle tensile pressure of up to 4000 pounds per square inch, which is a bold claim.
This product is only sold in small bottles, but the cost is actually quite low. Considering all that extra work that must have gone into the production of this glue, the cost is lower than we would have expected. While the quantity is quite low, a little bit goes a long way.
Quick Drying Time
The drying time of this stuff is absolutely amazing. Within ten seconds, it is completely bonded. Within 30 more seconds, it is completely cured. Although these types of glues will normally dry fast, this is an extreme case. Before you pick up this bottle, you had better make sure that all your surfaces are prepared and ready to be joined. Even a slight delay can ruin the whole job. Because of how hard and strong this glue is, it won’t be easy to remove if you make a mistake.
I should mention that this is a 2-part mixture. It is meant to be used with an “activator” substance that has to be purchased separately. In order to obtain maximum benefits, you have to use the activator. However, the good news is that the glue will still work without the activator. The only difference is that it will dry a lot slower. This could actually be a good thing for some projects that require a little bit more working time.
Get a Respirator
I would recommend that you put something over your nose and mouth when using this glue, as it stinks terribly. Those fumes are very hard on your nose and throat, and could even make you sick if you inhale them continuously.
This is a glue that is created specifically for wood, and which is created to be as strong as possible. Overall, there is a lot to like about this one. The main thing that stands out is the incredibly quick drying time that we see from this product. Within less than a minute, it starts to get tacky. Even if you spread the glue very thick, you will only get 1-5 minutes before it starts to set.
This fast drying time can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on how you use the product. If you are trying to finish a job as quickly as possible, this glue will help you to zip through the project and get it done very quickly. For slow and precise work, this might not be the correct product to use. If you make a mistake with this stuff, it isn’t easy to remove. Unless you feel like spending a lot of time sanding that old glue away, it is important to work quickly with this product. Treat it like superglue, because that is how it behaves.
The short drying time also contributes to the relatively short shelf life of this product. This isn’t something you can stock up, because each bottle is only good for about a year. Still, it’s hard to deny that this one creates a very powerful bond and does so without any need for harsh or toxic chemicals.
Easy to Remove
Because it isn’t made with harsh chemicals or dyes, this glue is easy to clean up if you happen to spill some. It dries so quickly that you can just wait for it to form a hard lump, which can then be scraped off easily.
The previous choice reminded us of superglue in terms of its performance. However, this one is even more similar to what we would expect in a high-strength cyanoacrylate glue. It only comes in very small bottles, and isn’t very cost-effective in terms of price per gram. If you wanted to buy a large amount of this stuff, it would cost you quite a bit. However, this high cost-to-weight ratio is somewhat offset by the fact that it tends to require less glue per task.
This is partly due to the formula of the glue, which is meant to penetrate gaps and crevices. This is very good for those instances in which a piece of furniture is only partly detached. For instance, let’s say you have a chair with a loose leg. Instead of removing the leg (as you would have to do with most glues), you can just put a few drops around the seam, and it will drip down as far as possible.
This glue will bond to nearly anything, making it easy to attach other materials to something made of wood. For instance, a wood cabinet with a loose hinge might benefit from a drop or two of this stuff. As it will bond with both surfaces, it should make for a tight and permanent repair.
As you might expect, this stuff does dry very quickly. In less than a minute, it begins to tack. As a result, you really do need to be precise when you work with this glue. If you don’t work very quickly, you can mess up the whole thing. If you get it on your hands, it is not easy to remove, and you don’t even want to think about how bad it would be to get this stuff in your eyes.
One thing I like about this glue is that it dries completely clear. There are many products on the list that do not have this quality. It may seem like a small matter, but it is important for a repair to be invisible. This is especially important when repairing high-quality furniture or antique furniture. The clear-drying nature of this product, combined with the penetration factor, makes this a good choice when invisible repairs are needed.
This is a cyanoacrylate-based glue that comes in a bigger size. Since its cost is about the same as the high-end superglue that we looked at previously, that gives it some serious value points. You get a lot more product for your money this way, and the properties of this glue are quite similar.
Longer Shelf Life
This glue also has a longer shelf life than most other glues of this type. In general, glues in this category do not store well once opened. This one is meant to be an exception. Of course, it isn’t going to keep for years and years, but it should last a lot longer than most. This is one that you could actually stock away in a practical way. Like most cyanoacrylate glues, this one does a good job of bonding to any surface that we can think of, including rubber, metal, plastic, glass, fabric, and (of course) any kind of wood.
We do, however, have one complaint with this product, and that is the applicator tip. This kind of tip works fine on small bottles of superglue, but this larger bottle needs to last a lot longer. Indeed, the long shelf life is one of the selling points of this product, and the applicator tip undermines that benefit.
It’s just entirely too easy for this tip to become clogged with dried glue. After the first use, you may find it very difficult to clear such a clog. You can always cut the tip to a certain point, but that can only be done a few times. One trick is to use a small screw to grab the plug of dried glue so that it can be removed with a set of pliers.
If you need a lot of wood glue at a reasonable price, this is a very good choice. It offers quite a lot more for your money than any of the other products we have seen. Professionals who work with this stuff on a regular basis might find this to be a great solution.
This one looks and acts more like a traditional white wood glue than superglue, but it dries clear. It is a little more runny and watery than most others, so you do have to be a little bit careful not to let it get out of bounds. Using it on vertical surfaces is probably a no-go, as it will likely drain from the crevice. If you have to use it in this way, I would recommend using very small amounts.
This one is easily one of the most versatile products on today’s list. It can easily be mixed with water but forms a waterproof seal once dried. This means that you can water it down and mix it with other substances. For instance, let’s say you want to weather-seal the wood on your back porch. A wood sealer can be very expensive, but this glue might give you a cheaper alternative. Just water it down a little bit and paint it onto the surface of the wood. You could also theoretically use this product as a sealer for stone surfaces or any other porous surface. Nevertheless, I would recommend using a normal sealer.
You can also mix this glue with sawdust, fibers, or any other filler substance so as to make a putty. This can get expensive due to this large amount of glue needed, but it’s another way in which this product can be adapted to special purposes.
Once again, we see an applicator tip here, and that can always be a potential problem. However, this one isn’t that bad because it comes with a separate lid. As long as you don’t lose or break that little cap that goes on the nozzle, you shouldn’t have any major problems. Of course, you are in big trouble if you should happen to break or lose that cap. Before long, that applicator nozzle will be sealed up tightly.
The selection of wood glue has probably turned out to be more complex than you thought. Glue has come a long way from its primitive beginnings, and there is a lot of chemistry that goes into the design of such products.
But which one is the best? In most cases, this will depend on your project. Still, I would recommend Titebond III Ultimate glue for general purposes. In general, this type of glue had the strongest advantages with the fewest disadvantages, making it the best all-around choice. We thank you for reading to the end, and we hope you will join us again.