Bent laminations......urea formaldehyde glue safety question.

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Forum topic by Amr posted 07-23-2013 07:18 AM 1703 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 1796 days

07-23-2013 07:18 AM

Topic tags/keywords: bent laminations unibond 800 woodweld glue

I have my walnut strips planed down to 1/8” and my bending form is ready to go, but I cannot decide on the best glue to use for this step of the project. It seems that Unibond 800 or woodweld are what everybody is recommending for bent laminations and I don’t mind taking all the safety precautions while mixing the glue and handling the squeeze out. The reason I hesitate is because this piece will go on the top rail of a crib that I am building for my son, which I am sure will be in frequent contact with the glue lines once he starts pulling up on those rails.

My main concern is once the glue has cured and the workpiece is finished (I plan on using oil and shellac) would there be any health concerns from those exposed glue lines?

I have only been woodworking for less than one year, but this forum has been my go to place whenever I need to research any topic so I am hoping you could shed some light and help me make a decision.

8 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3674 days

#1 posted 07-23-2013 08:20 AM

It’s safe. It’s the type of glue used in plywood.

Don’t get it on your skin when it’s wet though.

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7992 posts in 2824 days

#2 posted 07-23-2013 02:27 PM

Hide glue is excellent for bent laminations with virtually no springback. If you use a liquid one like Old Brown Glue you will have lots of open time and best of all your son can eat it if he so decides. It is no more toxic than gelatin.

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

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2853 posts in 2001 days

#3 posted 07-23-2013 07:05 PM

Agree with Paul. Old Brown would be my choice also.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3675 days

#4 posted 07-23-2013 07:21 PM

uh…. for the same reasons (health safety) I would not use plywood either for any baby related furniture.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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scott ernst

41 posts in 1854 days

#5 posted 07-24-2013 01:17 AM

I believe that those glues are inert when they have cured, but if you contact the manufacturer you can get a material safety data sheet (MSDS). Their tech department should also be able to tell you. One thing to watch for with those glues is that they will not cure properly below 70 degrees F. Probably not an issue at this time of year, but it can be at other times. Personally I like epoxies for bent laminations. They give you lots of open time, cure inert and don’t creep. I use West System because it sands really well. Some others like MAS will get rubbery when you sand them.

When you put finish on the piece the only contact your son will have will be with the finish. I would stay away from the shellac, because you are going to have to do some wiping and cleaning at some point and it blushes when you put water on it. You might think about a wiping varnish. They are tough and easy to apply.

-- Scott, NM

View Amr's profile


9 posts in 1796 days

#6 posted 07-24-2013 06:15 AM

Paul, I have seen some pretty chewed up top rails from teething toddlers so I think “eating”is probably not an exaggeration. I had contacted the folks at Vacuum Pressing Systems a couple of days back and just heard back today. They stated that…..

“Once Unibond 800 is fully cured it becomes inert. What formaldehyde was in the glue is off gassed and gone Not to mention its only .4% which is next to nothing. Once you have glued, clamped your project and then removed it from the clamps, let it sit for 2-3 days. The cure will then be completed”

Which makes sense to me since formalin is the only toxic component in that glue, and it is also consistent with most of the responses I have gotten. even if there is any residuals in the gluelines, it is likely very insignificant.

However, I’ve also looked into liquid hide glue, it does look like a viable option. No springback, ready to use, easy clean up, no sharp squeeze outs and best of all…non toxic….have you guys tried Titebond Liquid Hide glue? I can pick some up tomorrow from Woodcraft as opposed to ordering OBG online. I plan on experimenting with both Unibond-800 and hide glue and see which one I like working with the most.

Scott, thanks for the advice. I will take that into consideration when it is time to finish…(Hopefully soon, I’m 3 months behind schedule)

View LakeLover's profile


283 posts in 1966 days

#7 posted 07-24-2013 01:00 PM

Titebond liquid Hide glue is great. I am using it more all the time for interior projects.

View Patricelejeune's profile


375 posts in 1946 days

#8 posted 07-29-2013 07:15 PM

I personally use Old Brown Glue, as we are making it.
“Amr mention pretty chewed up rail from teething toddlers”, even if the glue is inert, the eating and digesting part on kids will worry me.
I had a summer job in France making handcrafted wooden toys and the rules where strict. I was hired to change the toys from white glue to hide glue friendly as the owner was worried about ingestion even if the official requirement did not list it as a big danger once cured.
The main rules that applies here where, the dyes that had to be food grade and the finish could not be epoxy polyurethane etc… they were using a water base finish and we changed it for shellac as it can be food grade also.
Here is an interesting independent article on the 2 liquid hide glue available
Good luck and let us know!

-- Patrice lejeune

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