Glue and Adhesives (10 Essential Tips to Creating Strong Bonds)

Many projects require a dependable glue or adhesive to create a strong and permanent bond. Knowing more about glues, adhesives, and binding materials can help you create successful projects. Following are some helpful tips on glues and adhesives.

Tips on wood glue and adhesives including information on white and yellow glue, CA cyanoacrylate glue, epoxy, clamping time, drying time, shelf life, and more.

1. Leave clamps on wood for at least one hour.

Under ideal drying conditions when gluing well-matched pieces of wood (i.e., joints which come together tightly). For joints which require extra clamping pressure, such as bent laminations, it is recommended that the clamps be left on for 24 hours.

2. Do not discard white or yellow glue – simply because it has frozen.

White and yellow wood glues contain water and will freeze at temperatures below 32°F (0°C). However, the glue strength will be unaffected when returned to room temperature. If the glue appears thick when warmed, the bottle can be kneaded to restore the glue back to its original consistency. Most wood glues can withstand at least five freeze / thaw cycles before the glue begins to gel.

3. Use “thin” thickness CA (cyanoacrylate) glue for filling hairline cracks.

This is a fast setting glue which has the consistency of water. This glue thickness can penetrate wood fibers and small cracks in a piece helping to stop the spread of hairline cracks.

StarBond CA glue.

4. Use “medium” thickness CA glue for filling small gaps.

This is a very versatile glue which has the consistency of syrup. It works great for filling in small gaps and bonding two pieces together which do not match perfectly.

5. Use “thick” thickness CA glue for filling larger cracks.

This glue has the consistency of honey. It works great for filling larger cracks and uneven surfaces, and for gluing big chucks of wood.

6. Use “flexible” CA glue for filling gaps.

This glue is capable of bending or flexing when dried. It work great for joining dissimilar materials (e.g., wooden barrels & brass tubes).

7. Know the shelf life of adhesives.

Avoid stock piling those with a limited shelf life. While the shelf life of adhesives can typically be extended by storing in a cool area, as a general rule CA glue has a shelf life of six months to one year, wood glue has a shelf life of one to two years, and epoxies have essentially an unlimited shelf life.

8. Realize that epoxy can be colored with paste pigments.

Epoxy can be mixed with universal paint colorants from a paint or hardware store. Read the directions that come with your particular epoxy. However, you will find most epoxies allow you to add somewhere between 2% and 10% by weight of the resin. Furthermore, realize that the term “5-minute epoxy” means it has a working time of 5 minutes. This is the amount of time you have before the adhesive starts setting. This time should not be confused with cure time. Depending upon the brand, the cure time for “5-minute epoxy” will vary from 1 hour to 24 hours. See Inlay Materials for more information on using epoxy.

9. Realize wood which has been coated with epoxy will not accept a stain.

First stain the wood and then apply the epoxy resin.

10. Sand or scrape away dried polyurethane glue.

When polyurethane glue dries, it becomes resistant to water, chemicals, and solvents. Sanding or scraping is the only way to remove dried polyurethane glue. Even warm water will not remove this glue.


Looking for more WoodWorking Tips and Tricks?


Looking for more WoodWorking Projects and Plans?