Glue Characteristics


PVA, White

Working Water

Temperature (°F) Resistance

60"-90' Fair

Woriing Characteristics

5 min. open time; 1 hr. clamp time; moderate gap filling: non-toxic; cleans up with water

PVA. Yellow


Moderately fast tack; 5 min. open time; 30 min. clamp time; moderate gap filling; noo-toxic; cleans up with water

Cross-Linking PVA (Titebond II)

Plastic Resin (Powder)

Plastic Resin (Powder/Resin)




Hot Hide Glue liquid Hide Clue


35°-2003 depending on formula

Excellent Excellent Excellent Waterproof

Waterproof Excellent



Moderately fast tack; 5 min. open time; 1 hr. clamp time; moderate gap filling; non-toxic; cleans up with water

Mix powder with water; 20 min. open tlmo; 12 hr. clamp time: poor gap Tilling; fast-cure with heat or radio frequency gluing machine; cleans up *ith water

Mix powder with resin; 15 min. open time; 3 hr. clamp time: good gap Tilling; fast-cure wth heat or radio frequency gluing machine; cleans up with water

Mix liquid resin with liquid hardener; open time varies with formula—fast and slow-set epoxies available; no clamping required; excellent gap Tilling: cleans up with lacquer thinner

Mix powder with resin; 15 min. minimum open time; 10 hr. clamp time: good gap Tilling; cleans up with water

Bonds wrthln 30 sec.; no clamping requ>red; thick and thin formulas available for porous or nonporous material; thick formulas good for gap Tilling: accelerators available to speed bond; gluing oify woods difficult

Mix dned glue in water and heat to 160:; fast tack; temperaturedependent open time: no clamping required; moderate gap filling: non-toxic; mixed glue can spoil after 3 weeks: cleans up with water

10 min. open time; 12 hr. clamp time (longer In htgh humidity); moderate gap filing: nontoxic; cleans up with water

Contact Cement

Excellent (Fair for waterborne)

Apply to both parts, allow to dry 5 min. to 1 hr.. then assemble: parts bond on contact, no clamping requirod; solvent-based and water-based formulas available

Hot-Melt Clue


Heat glue sticks in glue gun to apply. 5-10 sec. open time; good gap filling: norvtoxic

Plastic resin glues, also known as urea-formaldehyde glues, are my personal favorites for cabinetmaking. Their high water resistance makes them good for jobs like tabletops, cutting boards or laminated countertops.

With the plastic resin glues, you mix a powder with a catalyst—either water or resin—to form a rigid polymer in the joint. When dry. the glue is similar to hard plastic. It is strong and impervious to cold water; however, it's also brittle, and hot water will eventually soften the cured glue. Uncured glue cleans up with warm water.

The common variety of urea-formaldehyde glue is a powder that you mix with water. Its long open time (about 20 minutes at 70°F) makes it easy to assemble your project. On the minus side, its clamping time of 12 hours is one of the longest of all the glues. (Sec chart above.)

Newer, two-part glues such as Uflibond 800 (available from Vacuum Pressing Systems Inc., 553 River Rd., Brunswick. ME 04011, 207-725-0935) come as a powder you mix with a

Hide glues are a good choice for joint« that you may want to dwawcnihle later.

resin. They reduce clamping time to a couple of hours, depending on air temperature and humidity.

Both types of plastic resins sand well and are good for lamination because there is no creep. Plastic resin's rigidity when cured and iLs reasonable assembly time make it my choice for veneering, and I prefer the powder/resin variety. It lias good gap-filling ability and shrinks less than the powder/water type when curing.

The powder in plastic resin glue comes in several shades of brown from light to dark, allowing you to tailor the glue to the wood's color. Hie resin can also Ik- tinted with dye stains to make additional hues.

The open time and curing time for plastic resin glue varies significantly with temperature—the warmer it is, the faster it sets. Unfortunately, these glues won't cure in a cold shop, because the chemical reaction won't take place if the room is below 70° F (65CF for the two-part variety). I know several woodworkers who buy a cheap electric blanket and throw it over the assembly to help speed curing in a cold shop. Another method is to bombard the joint with radio frequencies (RFs). RF gluing machines arc used in industry, and smaller machines arc made for small-production shops.

Exposure to the formaldehyde in plastic resin glue is negligible, but the glue can cause skin irritation. Wear a mask to avoid breathing the powder as you mix, and protcct your hands with rubber gloves.

Cured Characteristics

Transparent, flexible glue line; clogs sandpaper; subject to creep

Semitransparent. moderately flexible glue line; subject to moderate creep: sands better than wftite glue

Semitransparent. moderately flexible glue line; subject to moderate creep

Hard, opaque, tan-colored glue line; sands «veil; no creep

Hard, opaque, light to dark brown glue line: sands well; no creep

Transparent; sands well: cured glue can be filed or machined

Hard, opaque, red-brown g)ue line; withstands most solvents; sands well; no creep

Transparent glue line; resists most solvents

Hard, semitransparent glue line; sands well; cured gjue remains water soluble

Hard, semitransparent glue line; sands well; cured glue remains water soluble

Rubbery glue line; resists heat; subject to shitting, water-based is slow drying

Semihard, semitransparent to opaque glue line: cured glue softens when heated; weak adhesive bond


General interior woodworking General interior woodworking

General interior woodworking; outdoor furniture

General woodworking; bent laminations: structural uses

General woodworking: veneering and bent laminations; structural uses

Boatbuilding and outdoor applications requiring a waterproof glue: bond ng wood to glass, metal, etc.; mixing with sawdust for gap filler

Boatbuilding and outdoor applications requiring a waterproof glue

Bonding wood to nonporous materials: small repairs; model making; mounting blanks and controlling checks for bowl turning

General interior woodworking; antique restoration: instrument making; hammer veneering; joints that may require later disassembly

General interior woodworking; joinery requiring long open time; antique restoration: instrument making; jo<nts that may require later disassembly

Bonding plastic iam:nates to wood or man made boards

Temporary tackmg; model making


Freezing destroys glue Freeing destroys glue

Freezing destroys glue

Contains formaldehyde; uncured glue toxic to skin; use adequate ventilation

Contains formaldehyde: uncured glue toxic to skin; use adequate ventilation

Uncured glue and vapors toxic: use adequate ventilation; repeated exposure can cause allergic reaction

Contains formaldehyde; uncured glue toxic to skin; use adequate ventilation

Bonds skin instantly—clean up with manufacturer's solvent or acetone; vapors irritating; use adequate ventilation

Don't heat glue above 212°


Solvent-based formulas are extremely flammable and vapors are toxic; use adequate ventilation

Some oil fin»shes may cause glue to break down

Epoxies arc two-part glues that are waterproof and solvent resistant, have very low creep, dry without shrinking and do not require clamping. Epoxy's non-shrinking characteristic makes it an excellent gap filler. You can mix cpoxy with sawdust and/or tint it for use as a wood filler.

General-purpose epoxies are available in either quick-set or slow-set formulations. The quick-set varieties harden in anywhere from one minute to 10 minutes and cure in a few hours. Slow-set epoxy can take up to 24 hours to harden and a week to completely cure.

Quick-set and slow-set epoxies aren't equals when it comes to water resistance. According to Ernie liporto of Devcon, a large epoxy manufacturer, Devcon's slow-set 2-Ton Epoxy is completely waterproof. Devcon's quick-set 5-Minutc Epoxy and their newer 1-Minute Epoxy are water resistant, not waterproof, and shouldn't be used on objects that will be immersed in water for long periods.

Shop temperature is critical with some epoxies, and you should always check the container label for the recommended temperature range. Some epoxies are specially formulated for cold temperature use. System Three Resins. Inc. makes T-88 Epoxy. which works down to 35°F (available from Flounder Bay Boat Lumber, 1019 Third St.. Anacortes. WA 98221.80( >-2284691).

Other specialty epoxy formulations are also available. My local boating sup ply store stocks the line of WEST SYSTEM Brand Epoxy (available from Gougeon Brothers. Box 908. Bay City, MI 18707, 517-684-7286). This epoxv consists of a base resin which can Ix* mixed with three varieties of hardeners, from fast to slow, so you can control open time and working temperature. Gougeon Brothers also sells pumps that siphon pre-measured

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  • greta moretti
    What are the characteristics of glue for woodwork?
    15 days ago

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