Woodworking Glues

Modern wood glues are fast, reliable, easy to use and strong. Some are ‘user friendly’: they take time to set and dry, allowing you to make adjustments during assembly and even to disassemble pieces in the future. Others fix forever, making a bond that is stronger than the wood itself.

Adhesives for wood and man-made boards include PVA woodworking glue; synthetic resin; rubber-based contact adhesives; cyanoacrylates (the ‘super-glues’) and acrylic adhesive. Yellow glue is a ‘fast-tack’ glue, almost transparent and non-toxic. It’s good for sanding and can be used indoors and out. For joints that need to be waterproof, two-part epoxy resins are needed; note that in powder form they can be toxic. Always follow the manufacturers’ guidelines on application and storage. Some glues contain solvents that can give off dangerous fumes, so work in a well-ventilated area. Check what solvent is needed to remove the glue: some simply need water; others require methylated spirits, acetone or even (for superglues) a special solvent. Whichever glue you use, apply it sparingly and immediately wipe off any excess.

PVA, or white glue, made from petrochemicals, is one of the most common and is non-toxic. Squeezed straight from the tube, it becomes transparent. When you sand it, however, it goes a little rubbery.

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