Wood Thoughts #9: Oceans and Oceans of Glue, But Still Don’t Eat It

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Blog entry by Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB posted 05-26-2014 03:14 AM 1603 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Are You Ready for Woodworking Safety Day? Or As I Like to Call It, “Not the Zombie Apocalypse” Part 9 of Wood Thoughts series Part 10: IKEA and the Workshop (Should Those Words Ever Be in the Same Sentence?) »

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Said No Little Boy or Woodworker Ever
Some people may have thought that the glue blog title I mentioned in Clamps, Clamps, and More Clamps!!! was made up. And yes it was, but such a good title should not go to waste – he’s quite the recycling monk, mostly other people’s ideas. So I took it upon my self to patent, trademark, copyright, and claim it as my own. Let’s see those royalty checks just start rolling in – you do remember that you’re a monk and have a vow of poverty? Well they can go to replace those beams I "borrowed" from the abbey church.

Anyway, glue is certainly one of those indispensable items in the workshop and used in practically every project. None of us will ever begin a project without making sure we have enough glue on hand – yeah, nobody would ever do such a silly thing … I just wonder where he got the idea – but what if the unthinkable became the reality? Can other adhesives fill-in for our trusted friend and companion? Matthias Wandel has put glue under the test before: Gorilla Glue Sucks (at filling gaps) and Can You Squeeze All the Glue Out of a Joint? His test are more scientific than any I am able to create – and more entertaining – because of his engineering background. I am not going to let it deter me, however, from testing whether or not other adhesives, probably hanging around peoples’ shops, can substitute for wood glue in a jam.


In This Corner ...


I went to the local hardware store and purchased three products that claimed to work on wood. I also decided to throw the towel in the ring – again with the colloquialisms, get on with it – for cyanocrylate glue (CA glue) because I had it on hand in the shop and many woodworkers use it for a variety of purposes, as well as, a traditional wood glue as a control. The parameters for the experiment were to follow any manufacturer directions (e.g. allowing full curing times) and to create a variable of both clamped and unclamped samples – if you’re bored no one will blame you if you leave now.
If You Don't Have the Jeopardy Theme Song in Your Head, You Do Now

The Results
Sample DesignationAction to Break BondAftermath
I – Clamped2 Blows w/Hammer
I – UnclampedPlaced in X Form and Hit w/Hammer
II – Clamped1 Blow w/Hammer
II – Unclamped1 Blow w/Hammer
III – ClampedPulled Apart by Hand
III – UnclampedPulled Apart by Hand
IV – Clamped1 Blow w/Hammer
IV – Unclamped1 Blow w/Hammer
V – Clamped3 Blows w/Hammer
V – Unclamped1 Blow w/Hammer

Only the weight of the hammer was used.
I (Wood Glue), II (CA Glue), III (Contact Cement), IV (Construction Adhesive), V (Wood Epoxy)

Unexpectedly the clamped wood glue sample was more easily broken than the unclamped sample – what does it mean when the control fails? – and most joints failed with roughly the same amount of force. Joint failure due to a failure in the adhesive occurred only in the contact cement sample, all other failures were the result of weakness in the wood. So I think it is a safe bet that if you ever find yourself in the unenviable position of running out of wood glue, you can get away with using construction adhesive, wood epoxy, or even super glue.



-- Fr. Thomas,

3 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21317 posts in 3253 days

#1 posted 05-26-2014 03:45 AM

I use Harbor Freight epoxy for a lot of different things- including putting metal or plastic in my wood products and have never had a failure. It is cheap and super good.( wait until it goes on sale for 99 cents a package) If it is wood to wood, I use mainly Titebond III now because it is super strong and waterproof.

I was surprised at the contact adhesive. Usually I let it dry to a tacky stage and them clamp the pieces together or rub them down hard if it is thin stuff and it holds really well. If you wait a day of so the bonds gets even stronger.

How long was it between gluing and testing for these samples?

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

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2810 posts in 3585 days

#2 posted 05-26-2014 10:29 AM

Like you said, i wouldn’t associate wood failure with glue failure. I used to cut a guitar neck blank at an angle and reverse it to make the head tilt at a shallow angle. The two pieces were glued together. When the guitar was done it was strung up. They exert about 180 lb. / square inch. I’ve never had one come apart. If you glue two 2×4’s together overlapping about 6” with white glue and clamp it will break someplace else, not the glue joint if put under pressure.

BTW, a well sanded or planed surface with wood glue will substantially increase the strength of the clamped joint.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB's profile

Fr. Thomas Bailey, OSB

79 posts in 1801 days

#3 posted 05-28-2014 08:44 PM

@Jim Jakosh: I followed the directions as written on the package. I applied contact cement to both pieces and waited 15 minutes. I then pressed them together, one sample with clamps and the other I held together for a short period of time (about 20 seconds). The directions did not specify a curing time, but as I had to wait 24 hours for the epoxy to fully cure that was how long I waited for all the samples.

-- Fr. Thomas,

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