Titebond III vs. Polyurethane Glue?

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Forum topic by jasoncarpentry posted 02-20-2012 03:03 PM 18761 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jasoncarpentry's profile


142 posts in 2652 days

02-20-2012 03:03 PM

I just read an ad which claims that Titebond III glue has all the features of polyurethane (i.e., Gorilla) glue, but without the mess. Plus, the Titebond III is water-soluble.

I routinely use Titebond II for all my projects, and have found that it isn’t as strong as Gorilla glue. Has anybody had experience w/ the Titebond III? Does it live up to the hype?

-- Jim in Tennessee

23 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2359 days

#1 posted 02-20-2012 03:09 PM

How did you determine that Titebond wasn’t as strong? I’ve never had a Titebond joint fail…and that ain’t hype.

On the other hand, Gorilla has no redeeming qualities.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2920 days

#2 posted 02-20-2012 03:13 PM

I agree with Clint.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2673 days

#3 posted 02-20-2012 03:18 PM

I believe polyurethane glues expand and we think this should make a tight joint. It does help but it has a kind of foaming action so the expansion has all these bubbles in it that makes it weaker. The Titebond glue works into the wood and bonds to it. This seems to hold some better. There is a place for polyurethane glues. If you have a poor joint and need the expansion and not a lot of strength then you might use it. I have used poly adhesives with limited success. Adhesives will never make up for poor craftsmanship.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3306 days

#4 posted 02-20-2012 03:26 PM

I use Titebond III on most woods and epoxy glues for oily woods such as teak, cocobolo etc. I don’t use polyurethane glues because I would not feel comfortable having my joints held together with foam. I am sure it has some uses…but not for what I do.

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2950 days

#5 posted 02-20-2012 03:33 PM

I wouldn’t say Gorilla glue has no redeeming qualities; I had patio type bricks used as a step to go into my house in Germany. One day, one of them fell off. I guess the mortar failed. I used Gorilla glue to fix it and it stayed there for two years, then I moved out. Probably still in place to this day. Try doing that with Tightbond. For woodworking, I used it on a couple of products, it is harder to clean up when you make a mess with it, but it works as good as any other glue. I do use Tightbond more often though, it is just easier to clean and use.

-- Mike

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2967 days

#6 posted 02-20-2012 03:33 PM

I only reach for the Gorilla glue when it’s that cold that normal PVA would chalk. I’d like to know if chalking is a problem with TB?

View ChrisK's profile


1964 posts in 3080 days

#7 posted 02-20-2012 03:39 PM

I have used both for wood working. Where I need strength I make sure that the joint is a good fitting joint. Nether Titebond or Polyurethane glues are for gap filling. I use Polyurethane glues when I need to sand the joint to the final shape for appearance and the work will be painted. I find they ah cure harder I also use them for vacuum forming molds when I am using foams and other materials where wood glues will not adhere strongly. If parts are already painted or finished with polyurethane I will reach for a Polyurethane glue. If the polyurethane glue foams it has almost no strength. Making the parts too wet makes the foaming problem worse. For wood and plywood I do not use extra moisture, here in the south there is almost always enough humidity in there air. For man made materials I will use a slightly damp cloth to add a little moisture.

Titebond III is supposed to be water proof after drying. I use it for wood toys and such. I have a ’.50 cal machine gun’ I built for the boys club house. The gun body was made of 6 layers of plywood, glued with Titebond III and fully painted. It survived the summer and this far into the winter. Gorilla would have worked to, it just costs a bit more.

Wood glues are best for bare wood. Use the right tool for the job.

-- Chris K

View Bertha's profile


13528 posts in 2691 days

#8 posted 02-20-2012 03:41 PM

I was going to answer “Titebond III” without reading the post, lol. I’ve had more failures with PU than with TIII. I use it for just about everything.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2969 days

#9 posted 02-20-2012 03:48 PM

My experience with polyurethane glue is that is is very weak in shear. Used it to build a fence and I could easily pull boards off the next week when I decided to modify the fence. With Tite Bond III I would have ripped the boards to pieces before the glue would release.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2996 days

#10 posted 02-20-2012 04:31 PM

I don’t see the point to the PU glues like Gorilla glue. It glues ok when clamped well but I don’t like it for all the other reasons: It is more expensive per ounce than epoxy, messy, poor gap filling, and horrible to get off your skin.

I like TB III for most stuff. I have never seen it fail when it was clamped well. I buy in the gallon container and transfer to roller bottles. The only time I use a different PVA is when the darker glue line of the TBIII is an issue.

Epoxy when I want a longer open time or lots of gaps to fill. The different fillers you can use with epoxy is another big plus.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2575 days

#11 posted 02-20-2012 06:05 PM

With epoxy there’s no place in my shop for PU glues.

My main wood glues are TBII, TBIII and elmer’s wood glue max (same as TBIII but not as runny).

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3478 days

#12 posted 02-20-2012 06:15 PM

I primarily use TiteBond III. And as others have said, never any joint failures. I do use poly glue however if I need a longer set time. Often when I am doing chests that all four corners have dovetails or a lot of mortise and tenon joints and its going to take a bit to get the joints aligned I will use poly glue. I have never had a poly glue joint fail either.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Retrowood's profile


117 posts in 2417 days

#13 posted 02-20-2012 07:28 PM

I use TB2 although recently switched to TB3 due to a slightly slower setting time and lower operating temps. Seems like I’m always using about 20+ clamps to put something together and the longer set-up time allows me some breathing room. Tried Poly twice and did not like the overall characteristics.


-- Retrowood

View thebigvise's profile


191 posts in 2899 days

#14 posted 02-20-2012 08:18 PM

I agree with Clint Searl and many of the other comments above. Polyurethane glue has no place in my shop. I did a glue demonstration for my church men’s group with red oak and simple lap joints glued the day before. The polyurethane was easily overpowered by my arbor press, but all the other glues held as the 3/4” oak broke apart. Even the old white Elmer’s glue from elementary school was far superior to the polyurethane.

I also agree with David Kirtley. If gap filling and longer open time are needed, thenby all means, break out the epoxy.

-- Paul, Clinton, NC

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2512 days

#15 posted 02-20-2012 08:23 PM

Agree with most of these comments. Virtually every one of my guitars has been assembled with Titebond III. It’s pretty much waterproof, yet while still wet I can wipe it off my bench with a wet cloth. It does dry dark, but I literally can’t remember the last time I had a joint actually break at the glue point with Titebond III.
Gorilla glues, with the foaming action and shelf life of no more than 4-6 months put them in the “but a really little bottle for special projects” category, IMHO.

I have multiple 3MM thick pickguards out there getting hit everyday with hard strumming guitarists, and so far, the only one that broke got kicked while on a stand, and it didn’t break at the joint.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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