I am really pleased with all the responses that I received yesterday on glues. There are so many different types of glue out there, that one can go crazy just trying to figure out which one is the best for the job at hand.
Before I begin, I want to say that I am not affiliated with any of these companies that I will be mentioning. This was a completely informal poll that I took because I wanted to see what products that you feel are tried and true for your different gluing needs. As woodworkers, we ALL need to use glue at one time or another. And as for myself, I don’t like the idea of experimenting on projects that I put a lot of time and effort into. I find that I am less likely to blindly try a new product without some idea as to how it will preform. Hearing personal testimonials from each of you really helped me out a lot, and I think that many other readers feel the same.
As I stated yesterday, many times I am asked to recommend a type of glue for a certain application or type of project. While I do have my own ideas and opinions as to what works for me, I don’t for a minute think that what I use is the only good product available. Since I live here in Canada, the same products aren’t always available to those who live elsewhere. Since those of you who responded are from all over the world, it give us all a nice array of products that will fill our need and if one isn’t available, chances are we will find another that is also suitable.
After reading all of your comments and preferences for glues, I will try to give a summary of what you generally liked and used successfully. I realize that everyone has their own personal preferences and I am just putting the options out here for you to see so that if you are looking for a better way to glue up your projects, you will have a starting point as to what you may want to consider. I will list the specific brands of glue that were most frequently mentioned, along with links to their main sites so you can read a bit more about what each type has to offer and see if it is something you may like to try. Following are what you talked about the most:
The original formula has been around for years and still seems to be a favorite of woodworkers for general purpose gluing needs. It’s high-tack formula dries quickly and clear and is a good choice for applications where you need a good bond quickly. Good for medium-duty gluing of projects and like scroll work, segmentation and intarsia. It remains flexible when dry, which may be beneficial in some instances. It is not waterproof.
Lots of people liked this glue for general woodworking. Many who responded didn’t specify whether they used the white glue or the wood glue specifically formulated for gluing wood. The glue all dries clear and the wood glue dries a bit hazy. Both are best for porous materials like wood and particle board. Good for boxes and construction of small pieces. Both are for indoor use only and not waterproof.
I was surprised at how many of you use Superglue in your woodworking applications. While no particular brand was specified as being above and beyond the other, we have all probably used this type of glue one time or another for many different projects. My own personal uses of it have been for the most part as small repairs on scroll saw pieces that may have chipped or broken. I never really considered it as something to use for larger applications and felt that its strength was an issue. But from what I read from your responses, many of you also have had lots of success in using it for assembly of delicate projects that aren’t going to be handled too much or gluing small pieces of veneer. It also seems to be to ‘go to’ choice for gluing corian and other non-porous materials.
Like many people, while I liked the strength of the original Gorilla Glue (the clear amber coloured stuff) I didn’t like the fact that it had a mind of its own and ‘grew’ after it was drying. Many of my own uses for it were on decorative woodworking, and the overgrowth of it was unsightly and very difficult to remove and clean up after it was dry. It did however show me the incredible strength of this product, and I found myself wishing that I could find a product that had that kind of holding power without the mess.
After the contest here last year on Lumberjocks, I was made aware that Gorilla Wood Glue was now available. I remember wondering why they would have a contest using the original glue, when it proved to be so messy, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that this other product was now being made. It took a while for me to find it here in Canada, but I finally found some last autumn at Home Depot, so hopefully it will be more available to people here too.
Although it doesn’t dry completely clear, it is nearly clear and only has a bit of a haze. It is waterproof, strong and good for gluing most things that require construction, such as boxes. I find its holding power to be excellent, and while it is not as thick and tacky as the Aleen’s, it is thicker than the Elmer’s and has better holding power and is waterproof. I find it a good choice for most of my gluing needs on projects.
This is another overwhelming choice of many woodworkers for many applications. Many of the characteristics of this glue are very similar to the above Gorilla Glue for wood. The Titebond III has holding strength, is waterproof and is a great glue for building and strength. I think that you would not be disappointed if this was your glue of choice for many of your woodworking projects.
Many people like to use 2-part epoxy for many applications. I find it to be very useful when gluing on hangers to the back of scroll saw projects and gluing Rare Earth Magnets into place and on places where strength is critical. LePage makes great glue products (I have seen them a lot here in Canada) and I have used their 5-minute epoxy frequently. Although I must admit, lately I have been getting similar sized tubes at the dollar store for a fraction of the price and they preform equally well. The advantage of using the 2-part epoxy glue is that is is great on non porous surfaces such as metal (hangers, metal washers and magnets) and slick finishes. I also like that it dries clear and is waterproof and moisture proof. The disadvantage is that it sets up very quickly, which means that it is best used on small areas at a time.
I only had one respondent from Australia, and they spoke highly of products by Selleys. I went to their web site, and it seems that they have a full range of products available in most types of glues that were discussed here. While I can’t personally recommend them, I think it will be a good starting point for you if you live in Australia and are looking for glues. Any additional feedback on these products, or others available in Australia would be most welcome.
While no one mentioned it, I wanted to add one of my own choices in the mix. I frequently use clear silicone adhesive when gluing things such as lettering onto a plaque. It is also great for non-porous surfaces that may allow other glues to peel off when cured. It is easy to find, clear, waterproof and the gel-like consistency allows for expansion and contraction of the wood. Since it is thick, it also makes a great bond with surfaces that aren’t completely flat and may cup or warp a bit due to humidity. The gel fills in any gaps the wood may have and it won’t crack when dry. When I glue lettering, I am able to take an exacto knife when I am done and gently scrape any oozing that may have occurred without much trouble. I buy this in small tubes like the one pictured and it last a long time. There are many brands of this available, and I found no one brand to be better than the next. It is something that you may want to try if you have a need.
Well, that just about does it for now. While I know that this review in no way covers everything, I do think that it may help some of those of you who are new to woodworking and scrollsawing find a starting point to fill your gluing needs. Click on all the links and read in depth about all the products that are mentioned to help you find which glue is right for your own application and project. Chances are you will like several of them and find many of them useful.
Again, any additional feedback is welcome. As always, it is great to hear about first-hand experiences. It helps us all make better decisions. Remember – “Knowledge is Power!”
Have a wonderful Saturday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"