End Grain to End Grain Jointery - What is the best Glue to Use

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Forum topic by SteveGaskins posted 05-29-2013 02:36 AM 8444 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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745 posts in 2552 days

05-29-2013 02:36 AM

I’m building a cradle and will be joining the vertical slats to the lower platform of the cradle. Most of the joinery at this location will be end grain (bottom of vertical slat) to long grain (platform), but due to the design of the platform, some of the vertical slats will be joined end grain (slat) to end grain (platform). I will be using M/T joinery for reinforcement of the joint, but wanted to use the best glue possible to add strength to the end grain to end grain joints. The design involves bent wood lamination, so I’m using Weldbond plastic resign glue on the laminations.

Here is my question: Should I use the Weldbond glue at the end grain to end grain joinery, too. I have also had good success with Titebond III on end grain. I guess I could use some type of epoxy, but I have never used epoxy before, so I’m not sure if this will be a suitable adhesive for end grain to end grain joinery.

When I use Titebond on end grain, I apply the glue, let it set for a minute or so to allow the end grain to absorb the glue, then add a little more and then make the joint, and this seems to work fine.

Any help would sure be appreciated LJ’s

-- Steve, South Carolina,

11 replies so far

View JAAune's profile


1788 posts in 2281 days

#1 posted 05-29-2013 02:43 AM

Epoxy would probably be the strongest but it needs to be a slow-set type like West System or System Three sell. Five minute epoxies aren’t good enough.

In order to achieve high strength on wood joints with epoxy it’s important to allow the adhesive to soak into the wood until it stops being absorbed. Only when the joint is saturated and no longer shows any sign of absorbing more epoxy is it time to clamp it together. On end grain this can easily take three coats of epoxy applied in a 30-60 minute time frame. The exact time needed depends upon the open time of the product used.

People do the same with pva glues as you’ve already mentioned but if you really need maximum strength the epoxy will perform better in this situation.

-- See my work at and

View SteveGaskins's profile


745 posts in 2552 days

#2 posted 05-29-2013 10:04 PM

Thanks JAAune, I appreciate your response. I would assume there are no issues with finishing when using one of the epoxy system which you mentioned.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View AandCstyle's profile


3027 posts in 2222 days

#3 posted 05-30-2013 01:07 AM

Would you be able to drill holes in the ends of both pieces and glue in a dowel?

-- Art

View SteveGaskins's profile


745 posts in 2552 days

#4 posted 05-30-2013 01:23 AM

Yes, that is a viable option. I was planning on using dowels or true M/T, but wanted to use a good adhesive at the joint, too.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View JAAune's profile


1788 posts in 2281 days

#5 posted 05-30-2013 03:28 AM

There is some potential for finishing problems since the epoxy does penetrate wood fibers somewhat. If the epoxy is allowed to soak into exposed wood faces it tends to stain the wood as if an oil finish were applied. Topcoating over the epoxy works fine though with the finishes I use (lacquer, oil and shellac). Also, I find that clear oil finishes tend to blend into discoloration caused by epoxy.

That being said, the above problem can be avoided by judicious use of silicone-free wax around the joint before doing the glue up. I use Waxilit and follow the procedure that was recently published in a Fine Woodworking article. The Waxilit keeps the epoxy from bonding to the wood around the joint and helps prevent stains.

-- See my work at and

View Dominik Matus's profile

Dominik Matus

104 posts in 1874 days

#6 posted 05-31-2013 02:09 PM

I one time used PVAc glue (polyvinylacetate) and it was stronger than wood. I tried to broke it and it cracked 1 mm from the joint.

-- Cabinetmaker, restorer

View Loren's profile (online now)


10260 posts in 3613 days

#7 posted 05-31-2013 03:04 PM

I am not a big fan of foaming poly glue, but in this
application I think it would be a good choice because
it will fill the inevitable gaps you’ll have in the
fit of the tenons. Cutting so many mortise and
tenon joints for slats some are bound to be a bit
sloppy if you use machine set ups to cut the
joints. You can make the tenons most consistent
by referencing both cheek cuts off the same
face of the part. If you flip the slat to cut the
second cheek, small variations in part thickness
will throw off the tenon thickness.

I would use dowels if the parts are thick enough –
the fit of dowels is more reliable when doing
a lot of joints and of course you can just use
white glue which gives you more time to get
the thing together.

Tenons are very craftsmanlike though and strong
so if you want to put the time in or feel like
using dowels is a cheat, go with the tenons.

View Underdog's profile


1074 posts in 2000 days

#8 posted 05-31-2013 03:13 PM

Best glue to use on endgrain joints?

A mortise and tenon.

Just sayin….

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View SteveGaskins's profile


745 posts in 2552 days

#9 posted 05-31-2013 09:46 PM

Thanks LJs for the great information….just another reason why this is such as grand site.

-- Steve, South Carolina,

View pintodeluxe's profile


5620 posts in 2778 days

#10 posted 05-31-2013 09:49 PM

I use TB II whenever I can. As long as it is reinforced with biscuits or M&T you should be fine.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2153 days

#11 posted 06-03-2013 03:47 AM

Time to redesign. End grain to end grain and glue don’t go together.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

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