What type of Glue for Ebony to Hickory

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Forum topic by PinsandTales posted 12-31-2010 05:54 AM 5066 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 3221 days

12-31-2010 05:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: ebony inlay hickory ca glue

I have created a four piece ebony inlay which is to be placed into a hickory top. What are the pros and cons of using Titebond III versus a CA glue to secure the inlay (no one seems to use epoxy)? I have read conflicting inputs on the forums with some people reporting success with Titebond with ebony and others questioning the ability of Titebond to secure a non-porous ebony. I have never used CA, so any hints on types of CA or application methods for an inlay which is 5 inches in diameter?

7 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10373 posts in 3642 days

#1 posted 12-31-2010 06:15 AM

Ebony glues with a white or yellow glue, but I can’t say it will work
with Titebond 3 because I haven’t used it. I’d use white glue
myself as it has a longer open time than yellow and it dries more
brittle which makes it less prone to creep.

If you need a waterproof joint… well, do you?

Are you familiar with urea formaldehyde glues? You should learn about
them if you are doing laminate work, veneering, or working with

I only use CA where I need a real fast grab in non-structural applications –
it is brittle when dry. CA is great for “flash filling” gaps and fixing problems
during finishing but as a glue for joinery and wood-to-wood lamination
I wouldn’t use it myself. I use it to fix tear-out and splintering of bent
wood parts where clamping is impractical when working on guitars

View PinsandTales's profile


9 posts in 3221 days

#2 posted 12-31-2010 06:25 AM

This is an inlay for a blanket chest, so it better not be located where it needs to be waterproof.
I am not familiar with urea formaldyhide glues.

View Loren's profile


10373 posts in 3642 days

#3 posted 12-31-2010 06:30 AM

Well, it’s cool stuff. You can get it in powered form as “Weldwood
plastic resin glue” at Home Depot and other similar stores. It’s not
a convenient glue for dovetails and mortise joinery, but for a lot
of other things it’s great.

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3044 days

#4 posted 12-31-2010 08:25 AM

Loren’s right. Ebony and hickory both glue well and any pva glue will work. Titebond I, II, AND III are all pva glues. II is used where water is common; ie. cutting boards. III is for emersion and below a water line. A white pva such as Elmer’s will have a longer open time, but in your case, any wood glue will work.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View dfdye's profile


372 posts in 3031 days

#5 posted 12-31-2010 08:42 AM

If it is an inlay, why not use CA? It won’t have to do anything but hold the ebony in place, right? That seems like it would work just fine. I do know that instruments often use hide glue between ebony finger boards and other species, so a I would bet that a liquid hide glue would work fine for this application, but this is just speculation. The joint doesn’t need to be that strong for an inlay, so I doubt that there will be too much of a problem with whatever glue you do use.

For a structural applications, polyurethane glues (Gorilla Glue) will work for just gluing just about anything to anything else, but the cleanup and difficulty clamping would probably make me avoid it for inlay work. Never have tried, quite honestly.

Sitting here thinking about it, though, there shouldn’t be a problem for the Titebond III. Think about it like this, even if the ebony is “non-porous,” it isn’t so non-porous that it can’t absorb moisture! If you don’t believe me, wet the surface and see if it raises the grain. Even though the pores are small and not really that noticeable (which is why we love ebony), the “micro-porosity” is plenty for the Titebond to “grip” and form a solid bond. The “non-porous” problematic materials that you want to avoid with wood glues are things like plastics, metals and glass that are not porous on the microscopic scale. Ebony definitely has porosity at this scale, or else the tree would not be able to pass nutrients and water through the wood. Honestly, the only issue I would ever think about Titebond having would be with really oily woods, but after thinking about it, I have never heard any instrument makers complain of ebony causing problems after glue-up. I would just use the Titebond and be done with it. I think somebody somewhere is over analyzing things.

PS I just read back through the comments and realized I didn’t actually add anything. Oh well! :)

-- David from Indiana --

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3044 days

#6 posted 01-01-2011 12:22 AM

Something else to think about would be the wood swelling you’re going to get in using a PVA vs. CA glue. It might not swell the ebony very much at all, but it’ll swell the hickory a little bit, locking everything in place that way, vs. the CA glue that will just fill the gap.

I just used TBIII on an ebony pull on a bandsaw box to connect it to some beetle kill pine. We will see how it holds up, since it will be pulled on, vs. your application where there won’t be any further stress on the joint once the inlay is in place.

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

View shipwright's profile


7979 posts in 2792 days

#7 posted 01-01-2011 01:17 AM

Loren”s right. If you’re going to be inlaying or veneering Urea Formaldehyde will dry hard, not creep and not shrink back on your glue line like PVA’s do.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

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