Wood Glue: 13 Things You Should Know

Wood glue is a popular adhesive that has been used for centuries. From artisans to woodworkers, it’s a staple in many people’s toolboxes. Wood glue is versatile and can be used for simple and complex projects.

This blog post will cover 13 things you should know about using wood glue.

1. Wood Glue: The Basics

Wood glue comes in various formulations, so you’ll need to consider durability, application method, and surface type when selecting the right one for your project or hobby.

Here are some tips that will help you select the perfect wood glue:

  • Be sure there is enough time between applying the adhesive and clamping it together—you don’t want to clamp the pieces together too soon, or you’ll end up with a mess!
  • When clamping, use even pressure on all sides of the glued-together pieces. This will help to create an evenly-strong bond.
  • Select a waterproof formula if you’re using wood glue for an outdoor project.
  • For large projects, it’s best to use polyurethane adhesive instead of wood glue.

2. Wood Glue: The Right Formula for Your Project

Choosing the right type of wood glue can be difficult, especially if you’re working with multiple types of surfaces or materials that require different formulations.

Here are a few tips on how to select one that’s perfect for your project:

  • If applying the adhesive to rough or uneven surfaces, choose a thick formula that will adhere well in these conditions.
  • If the surface of your project is very smooth, something like Gorilla Wood Glue may work better because it’s more porous than other wood glues (so it can grip rougher objects better).
  • If you’re working with metal surfaces, a cyanoacrylate adhesive (such as Krazy Glue) is a good choice. It dries quickly and forms a very strong bond.
  • Select an adhesive that’s easy to clean up if you’re working on a project that will be handled or touched often. Titebond’s III Ultimate Wood Glue is a good option because it’s water-based and, therefore, can be cleaned up with just soap and water.
  • When working with porous surfaces, such as wood, always use an adhesive that will penetrate the material well. This will help to create a strong bond between the two pieces of wood.
  • Polyurethane adhesives are often a good choice for outdoor projects because they can withstand all weather conditions.
  • Your best bet is always to read the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to ask an expert at your local home improvement store or woodworking shop.

3. How Do You Use Wood Glue?

Woodworkers use several methods to apply glue, depending on the project.

The first method is probably what you’re most familiar with: applying directly from a tube or jar of wood glue onto your materials. You’ll need to use an applicator tool for this—either a brush-style one specifically made for gluing wood or something like popsicle sticks or old paintbrushes that you’ve cut the handles off.

Using a brush, keep your glue as thin as possible for maximum penetration. This will make it easier to spread evenly across surfaces and prevent excessive dripping or pooling in areas where you don’t need much. You can apply too much wood glue—if this happens, you can use a damp cloth to wipe it away.

Another method is to mix the wood glue with an equal part of water before applying it. This will make the adhesive runnier and easier to spread, but it also means that you’ll have less time to work with it before it sets.

A third option is to apply wood glue to one surface and then hold the two pieces of wood together until the adhesive sets. This is often done with clamps, which apply pressure to the glued surfaces and help them adhere more securely.

4. Wood Glue vs Gorilla Glue: Which One Should You Use?

Wood glue can be used for a variety of woodworking projects. It’s available in several different forms and is made from various materials. The type you choose will depend on what you’re trying to accomplish with your project and the specific properties each has to offer.

Gorilla glue is a brand-name wood adhesive that has become somewhat of a household name over the past few years due to its popularity. It’s a polyurethane glue used on wood and metal surfaces.

Gorilla Glue is also waterproof, which makes it ideal for outdoor projects or applications where the adhesive will come into contact with moisture. It’s also non-toxic, which can be important if you use it in a household or workshop setting.

However, Gorilla Glue is available in only one type, whereas wood glue comes in various formulations. That means that you’ll need to consider durability, application method, and surface type when deciding which is right for your project.

However, when it comes to gluing wood, neither type of glue is inherently better than the other. Wood glue is more versatile. It can be used on various materials, including paper, leather, and fabric. Gorilla Glue might not work for some applications because it’s only available in one type with specific properties best suited to woodworking projects.

5. What’s the Difference Between Wood Glue and Polyurethane Glue?

Polyurethane glue is a type of adhesive that can be used on both wood and metal surfaces. It dries quickly, which can be advantageous if you work with tight timelines.

However, polyurethane glue can also be more difficult than wood glue. It’s thicker and less forgiving, so getting an even coat without drips or bubbles can be more challenging.

Wood glue is a better option for most woodworking projects. If you’re also working with metal, try using epoxy instead of polyurethane glue. It has the same advantages of drying quickly and adhering to multiple surfaces, but it’s less likely to drip.

6. Wood Glue vs Liquid Nails: Which One Should You Use?

Liquid nails is another popular brand-name wood adhesive due to its affordability and ease of use. It comes in a standard and quick-dry formula, which is ideal for tight timelines.

Liquid nails dry clear, so it’s less noticeable on your woodworking project than other types of glue. However, the adhesive isn’t waterproof—it will become soft when exposed to water.

So while it’s a good option for quick projects or ones where you don’t mind if the adhesive is visible, it’s not as durable as other options and shouldn’t be used in applications where it will come into contact with moisture.

Wood glue is still the best choice for most woodworking projects. If you’re looking for an adhesive that dries quickly, epoxy is a better option. It’s available in many formulations, so you can choose the one that best meets your needs.

7. Wood Glue vs Hot Glue: Which One Should You Use?

While hot glue isn’t technically wood glue, it can be used to attach some types of wood surfaces—for a good reason. It’s easy to use, dries quickly, and is available in various colors.

If you’re looking to start some arts and crafts, check out our reviews of the best hot glue guns.

However, hot glue isn’t as durable as wood glue. It’s also not waterproof, so it can’t be used in applications where the adhesive will come into contact with moisture.

Wood glue is still the best option for most woodworking projects. If you need a waterproof adhesive, epoxy is a better choice.

8. What’s the Difference Between Wood Glue and Super Glue?

While both types of adhesives are strong and bond wood surfaces, they also differ. Wood glue can be easily removed from the skin with soap and water, while superglue must be filed off—and it will stick to anything!

Superglue is a cyanoacrylate adhesive that dries quickly and forms a strong bond. It’s ideal for bonding small pieces of metal or plastic together.

Wood glue, on the other hand, is a polyurethane adhesive specifically formulated to adhere wood surfaces together. It dries slowly, allowing more time to adjust the pieces if needed, and forms a strong bond that can withstand everyday wear and tear.

9. What’s the Best Way to Clean Up Wood Glue Spills?

The easiest and most effective method is simply soap and water. If this isn’t available, you can use an adhesive remover such as Goo Gone for a quick fix.

You can also try heating any hardened residue with hot water until it becomes soft enough to scrape off. Just be careful not to damage the surface underneath.

10. How Long Does it Take for Wood Glue to Dry?

Wood glue usually takes 24 hours to dry fully, although this may vary depending on the type of adhesive you’re using. Polyurethane adhesives need more time to cure than other types.

11. What are the Best Adhesives for Outdoor Projects?

Outdoor woodworking projects require a specific type of glue that can withstand moisture and environmental changes. An example is polyurethane adhesive, which provides great strength but remains flexible so it won’t crack or break when exposed to rain or sunlight.

12. Is Wood Glue Toxic?

Wood glue is similar to edible gelatin and poses no threat if ingested. It’s still used in specialized applications like musical instruments (lutherie), for replica furniture, or for conservation-grade repairs on antique woodwork.

13. What Are Some Adhesive Alternatives?

If you want to avoid using an adhesive altogether, dowels and biscuits are two alternatives that can be used in place of adhesives or glues. Dowels are round pieces of wood inserted into pre-drilled holes in the two pieces you’re joining. They provide extra stability and strength to the joint.

Biscuits are small, square-shaped wood inserted into pre-drilled holes in the two pieces of wood you’re joining. Biscuits are less visible than dowels, but they aren’t as strong.

If you’re working with metal surfaces instead of wood, screws can easily attach two pieces. You can purchase specially-designed screws that will fit into pre-drilled holes in both materials or use a drill to create your hole through the metal.

If you plan on using screws to attach two pieces, be sure that the drill bit size is a little smaller than the head of your screw. You don’t want to create a large hole that goes through both in one piece.

Consider investing in a Kreg Jig if you have several woodworking projects planned for the coming weeks or months. It’s an easy-to-use tool that helps to create pocket holes for joining pieces of wood together.


We hope you’ve found this blog post helpful in learning more about wood glue and how it can be used. It is important to use a good-quality adhesive for your project and know how much surface area will need to be covered.