Boards. #6: Can you glue end grain to long grain...

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by degoose posted 11-03-2011 12:53 AM 13450 reads 2 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Just a few more.. Part 6 of Boards. series Part 7: Today... »

When gluing timber it is important to take into consideration grain direction..

Long grain to long grain is fine, due to the fact that timber contracts and expands across the grain.. more than with the grain…

End grain to endgrain makes for a very poor glue joint [without some mechanical faster]...and you must be aware that movement can cause a joint to fail.. this is generally true when gluing long grain to endgrain… However….

Quite a while ago, I made this piece and as you can see it is endgrain to long grain … and most people would have expected it to break itself apart at the very least…

I just checked and I made this over one year ago…

This would be true with a larger item such as a table.. but…. with small pieces similar to the ones used in this cutting board… the amount of movement is quite negligible … hence the fact that this item has held up over many months… in various extremes of temperature and humidity…

Here we can see a close up of the nice tight glue lines…

I could waffle on about the mechanics of glues and how their bonds work… but suffice to say the proof is in the pudding …or how the glue holds…

I only use Titebond III and have not had any problems… so I hope this is some help to those who asked about this type of glue up…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

18 comments so far

View moshel's profile


865 posts in 3739 days

#1 posted 11-03-2011 01:27 AM

i don’t know, pudding or not pudding…. i have relatively small pieces (maybe twice as large as this one) that tore themselves apart. might also have to do with the finish, the type of timber, etc. with this piece specifically the pieces are not 90 degrees to one another so maybe the stress finds another way to move. my failed pieces were also titebod III glued. go figure…. how was christchurch BTW? i heard you had lousy weather most of the time.

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3879 days

#2 posted 11-03-2011 01:30 AM

Larry the key here is the tight fit and the size of the unit as you have stated. Having parallel surfaces is rule no. 1 and would like to add not to over tighten clamp as to leave very little glue for bonding. Nice post my friend very informative insight…BC

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3043 days

#3 posted 11-03-2011 01:41 AM

I have also made some things with glue-ups that “shouldn’t” be done. No failures yet. Though I don’t let the questionable ones get too far from home. Time will tell.
Here is one example:

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View amagineer's profile


1415 posts in 2653 days

#4 posted 11-03-2011 02:11 AM

I just went to the “Titebond website and here is what I found;
The strength of end grain joints can be improved if the “open” end grain is first sized. A sizing mixture may be made by mixing one part to two parts water to one part glue. Place the sizing mixture on the end grain. Let it soak in for no more than two minutes, and then continue with a regular application of glue.
When different wood species are used in a project, it is important that all woods have the same moisture content. Storing all the wood together in the same warm, dry location before beginning the project will help all the wood reach the same moisture content.
Nice blog info Larry, I have yet had to glueup an endgrain to longgrain. I will definetly keep this info in mind.

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3106 days

#5 posted 11-03-2011 02:14 AM

Interesting to see this after a year. It looks brand new.

Triangles tend to be a strong geometric shape and I wonder if that has helped as well in keeping everything together? Just thinking that with a triangular setup, where something might want to pull apart, there’s something on the other side that’s pushing against it, or at least helping to offset the force of the pulling?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3729 days

#6 posted 11-03-2011 02:19 AM

Looks good!

View rance's profile


4259 posts in 3216 days

#7 posted 11-03-2011 02:25 AM

L. grain to E. grain can work, but it has its limits. I limit mine to about 4”-5” and it seems to do well. Many many other factors can affect it though. Looks like Larry found one that works for him. Thanks for posting Larry.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20780 posts in 3161 days

#8 posted 11-03-2011 04:11 AM

Larry. I’m a fan of Titebond III too. Especially if there is chance the piece may get wet. If you seal the board well, you can minimize the movement if the wood does not feel the change in humidity that much.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View degoose's profile


7237 posts in 3410 days

#9 posted 11-03-2011 04:40 AM

To answer the 90 degree comment… I have made a lot and I do mean a lot of weaves… normal, open and tight… and not one has let go…I can understand when there are two or more pieces holding another piece in but in the tight weave all are square… and let us not forget the chessboard… there must be gazillions of these out there … all or most still surviving…some for many decades....
I have tumbling block designs at 60 degrees and they have held up over time… some for many years... Must be just darn lucky…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2553 days

#10 posted 11-03-2011 05:27 AM

Some 35 years ago when I was young and foolish, I glued 3” x 3/4” flat mitred cherry legs together using carpenter’s glue. This was for a low end table. I used a rubbed joint, no clamps, just let them sit on waxed paper in a u shape (top rail, two legs) for a day.
Every year I expect them to fall apart but I can still pick up the table by the feet and press with all my might inwards. Nothing doing. Just keep the faith that says to me.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View thiel's profile


387 posts in 3348 days

#11 posted 11-03-2011 05:48 AM

Don’t forget the cut of the wood itself… this piece looks to be almost all quarter/rift sawn. That type of grain is WAY more stable and I bet that adds quite a bit to the stability.

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2990 days

#12 posted 11-03-2011 06:25 AM

Nice post Larry.

although TBIII is king, I still used biscuits when I assembled my ZigZag board.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18316 posts in 3731 days

#13 posted 11-03-2011 06:51 AM

Thanks Larry ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3246 days

#14 posted 11-03-2011 07:27 AM

very nice, tight bond 3 is da good seuff.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4187 posts in 3220 days

#15 posted 11-03-2011 03:30 PM

Thanks Larry, interesting post. You need stock in Titebond, just like I need stock in Watco….....(-:

Actually, I have used a fair amount of Titebond III over the last two years and really like it. Have a good one, I am off on vacation….......


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

showing 1 through 15 of 18 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics