My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #589: Wood Glue Review

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 01-21-2012 04:33 PM 10701 reads 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 588: Today It's Your Turn - I Would Like Your Input Part 589 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 590: Getting to the Finish Line »

I am really pleased with all the responses that I received yesterday on glues. There are so many different types of glue out there, that one can go crazy just trying to figure out which one is the best for the job at hand.

Before I begin, I want to say that I am not affiliated with any of these companies that I will be mentioning. This was a completely informal poll that I took because I wanted to see what products that you feel are tried and true for your different gluing needs. As woodworkers, we ALL need to use glue at one time or another. And as for myself, I don’t like the idea of experimenting on projects that I put a lot of time and effort into. I find that I am less likely to blindly try a new product without some idea as to how it will preform. Hearing personal testimonials from each of you really helped me out a lot, and I think that many other readers feel the same.

As I stated yesterday, many times I am asked to recommend a type of glue for a certain application or type of project. While I do have my own ideas and opinions as to what works for me, I don’t for a minute think that what I use is the only good product available. Since I live here in Canada, the same products aren’t always available to those who live elsewhere. Since those of you who responded are from all over the world, it give us all a nice array of products that will fill our need and if one isn’t available, chances are we will find another that is also suitable.

After reading all of your comments and preferences for glues, I will try to give a summary of what you generally liked and used successfully. I realize that everyone has their own personal preferences and I am just putting the options out here for you to see so that if you are looking for a better way to glue up your projects, you will have a starting point as to what you may want to consider. I will list the specific brands of glue that were most frequently mentioned, along with links to their main sites so you can read a bit more about what each type has to offer and see if it is something you may like to try. Following are what you talked about the most:

Aleene's Tacky Glue

The original formula has been around for years and still seems to be a favorite of woodworkers for general purpose gluing needs. It’s high-tack formula dries quickly and clear and is a good choice for applications where you need a good bond quickly. Good for medium-duty gluing of projects and like scroll work, segmentation and intarsia. It remains flexible when dry, which may be beneficial in some instances. It is not waterproof.

Elmer's Wood Glue

Lots of people liked this glue for general woodworking. Many who responded didn’t specify whether they used the white glue or the wood glue specifically formulated for gluing wood. The glue all dries clear and the wood glue dries a bit hazy. Both are best for porous materials like wood and particle board. Good for boxes and construction of small pieces. Both are for indoor use only and not waterproof.

CA Glue or Superglue

I was surprised at how many of you use Superglue in your woodworking applications. While no particular brand was specified as being above and beyond the other, we have all probably used this type of glue one time or another for many different projects. My own personal uses of it have been for the most part as small repairs on scroll saw pieces that may have chipped or broken. I never really considered it as something to use for larger applications and felt that its strength was an issue. But from what I read from your responses, many of you also have had lots of success in using it for assembly of delicate projects that aren’t going to be handled too much or gluing small pieces of veneer. It also seems to be to ‘go to’ choice for gluing corian and other non-porous materials.

Gorilla Glue

Like many people, while I liked the strength of the original Gorilla Glue (the clear amber coloured stuff) I didn’t like the fact that it had a mind of its own and ‘grew’ after it was drying. Many of my own uses for it were on decorative woodworking, and the overgrowth of it was unsightly and very difficult to remove and clean up after it was dry. It did however show me the incredible strength of this product, and I found myself wishing that I could find a product that had that kind of holding power without the mess.

After the contest here last year on Lumberjocks, I was made aware that Gorilla Wood Glue was now available. I remember wondering why they would have a contest using the original glue, when it proved to be so messy, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that this other product was now being made. It took a while for me to find it here in Canada, but I finally found some last autumn at Home Depot, so hopefully it will be more available to people here too.

Although it doesn’t dry completely clear, it is nearly clear and only has a bit of a haze. It is waterproof, strong and good for gluing most things that require construction, such as boxes. I find its holding power to be excellent, and while it is not as thick and tacky as the Aleen’s, it is thicker than the Elmer’s and has better holding power and is waterproof. I find it a good choice for most of my gluing needs on projects.

Titebond III

This is another overwhelming choice of many woodworkers for many applications. Many of the characteristics of this glue are very similar to the above Gorilla Glue for wood. The Titebond III has holding strength, is waterproof and is a great glue for building and strength. I think that you would not be disappointed if this was your glue of choice for many of your woodworking projects.

2-Part Epoxy

Many people like to use 2-part epoxy for many applications. I find it to be very useful when gluing on hangers to the back of scroll saw projects and gluing Rare Earth Magnets into place and on places where strength is critical. LePage makes great glue products (I have seen them a lot here in Canada) and I have used their 5-minute epoxy frequently. Although I must admit, lately I have been getting similar sized tubes at the dollar store for a fraction of the price and they preform equally well. The advantage of using the 2-part epoxy glue is that is is great on non porous surfaces such as metal (hangers, metal washers and magnets) and slick finishes. I also like that it dries clear and is waterproof and moisture proof. The disadvantage is that it sets up very quickly, which means that it is best used on small areas at a time.


I only had one respondent from Australia, and they spoke highly of products by Selleys. I went to their web site, and it seems that they have a full range of products available in most types of glues that were discussed here. While I can’t personally recommend them, I think it will be a good starting point for you if you live in Australia and are looking for glues. Any additional feedback on these products, or others available in Australia would be most welcome.

Clear Silicone

While no one mentioned it, I wanted to add one of my own choices in the mix. I frequently use clear silicone adhesive when gluing things such as lettering onto a plaque. It is also great for non-porous surfaces that may allow other glues to peel off when cured. It is easy to find, clear, waterproof and the gel-like consistency allows for expansion and contraction of the wood. Since it is thick, it also makes a great bond with surfaces that aren’t completely flat and may cup or warp a bit due to humidity. The gel fills in any gaps the wood may have and it won’t crack when dry. When I glue lettering, I am able to take an exacto knife when I am done and gently scrape any oozing that may have occurred without much trouble. I buy this in small tubes like the one pictured and it last a long time. There are many brands of this available, and I found no one brand to be better than the next. It is something that you may want to try if you have a need.

Well, that just about does it for now. While I know that this review in no way covers everything, I do think that it may help some of those of you who are new to woodworking and scrollsawing find a starting point to fill your gluing needs. Click on all the links and read in depth about all the products that are mentioned to help you find which glue is right for your own application and project. Chances are you will like several of them and find many of them useful.

Again, any additional feedback is welcome. As always, it is great to hear about first-hand experiences. It helps us all make better decisions. Remember – “Knowledge is Power!”

Have a wonderful Saturday!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

15 comments so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3693 days

#1 posted 01-21-2012 05:04 PM

Sorry I was a little late in posting today. This took a while to write. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6869 posts in 4752 days

#2 posted 01-21-2012 05:58 PM

Hi Sheila,

This is a very helpful post.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3809 days

#3 posted 01-21-2012 05:58 PM

Worth waiting for, Sheila. Nicely covered the subject.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3661 days

#4 posted 01-21-2012 09:05 PM

Here’s a link to a really nice comparison chart of various wood glues from the Lee Valley web site. Worth having a look and printing out as a reference piece.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10923 posts in 4825 days

#5 posted 01-21-2012 09:32 PM


You have good choices… except for one… The CA glue… The Cost is way too high!
Here is a Super resource for CA glue... (a fellow woodworker) with very reasonable prices & products.

I get all of my CA here…

The Thin stuff is like water… it will flow where you want it AND where you DON’T want it… BE Carefull!
The Medium is a little easier to handle and will flow much slower that the thin.
The Thick, my favorite, is more like good ole glue… easy to control & spread & work with.

Spraying one surface with Accelerator will speed-up the curing wait time from hours to Instant (5-10 seconds)... a GREAT aid when gluing lots of parts you want to use FAST!

They all have their purposes…

For simple gluing small parts to other parts, the Thick is the easiest to use without getting yourself all glued up t’boot! LOL

Don’t forget the Debonder (a small bottle will last a long time… I haven’t had to use mine yet!)
... and the Accelerator… I use the Fast accelerator with a small sprayer on it… they’re refillable from larger containers…

Good Luck…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3693 days

#6 posted 01-22-2012 01:40 PM

Thanks so much, Joe for the link. I just had the CA glue picture as an example. I am going to show Keith the link though because he uses LOTS of CA glue and related products when he makes his pens. It very good to know of good sources and I appreciate it very much. I am sure others will too! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3809 days

#7 posted 01-22-2012 01:48 PM

Sheila, my 10 cents worth. For people in the UK a good, cheap source for Superglue (CA) is

The 50g (2oz) size is good at £2.27 and they supply accelerator pens and de-bonder as well. Again I suggest the viscous (thick) variety as this works more effectively with porous substances, like wood.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3693 days

#8 posted 01-22-2012 01:53 PM

That’s great information, Martyn. I am sure that it will be appreciated by many in that area. I don’t have a clue as to what is even available to you and I know that there are many people from all over the world here. Thanks so much for posting. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View HamS's profile


1837 posts in 3162 days

#9 posted 01-22-2012 02:06 PM


This is an interesting topic to me as well. I usually use the original Gorilla glue for stage work. because of its strength and gap filling capacity. Most set pieces are not made with the most precise joints and are always painted so there is no concern with color etc. That is a polyurethane base glue which chemically is quite different from the polyvynlacetate glues which is the Titebond, Elmers etc white and yellow glues. I did not see anyone post about hide glue or hot glue. I would think there would be hide gluers in the scrolling world.

Hide glue is used extensively in the luthiery field where pieces have to be strong, but also have to come apart. It is a very heartstopping experience to see a luthier take the belly off of a viola your wife has played for forty years that would cost 10,000 USD to replace to make a minor repair and see how easy it was to get the glue apart, and then see it all go back together as strong as ever. That is what you can do with hide glue.

Hot glue is pretty much good for gluing felt to wood and that is about it. Woodworkers almost always have better choices handy than a hot glue gun.


-- Haming it up in the 'bash.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3693 days

#10 posted 01-22-2012 02:18 PM

That’s a good point, Ham. I have never used hide glue myself and would like to learn more about it. In hearing about how it has the ability to come apart, I used to think ‘what’s the point of using it then?’ but you have brought up some very valid reasons that characteristic would be desirable.

As for hot glue, I find that it works well in scrolling when I am stack cutting (cutting more than one layer at a time.) I have only recently began to use it for that purpose. I simply hot glue the two layers of wood together (aiming for the waste areas) and I am good to go. Since most of the glue is in the waste areas, once the pieces are cut, they are already separated. If by chance you have some places where the glue is on the actual piece and it is sticking, you just put it into the microwave for 10-15 seconds and gently (and quickly) separate it with a small paring knife. This works very well with small pieces and sometimes I actually purposely get a small part of glue on the real piece to make sure that it doesn’t shift as the waste areas fall off. To me, it is much easier and quicker than double sided tape and because of the thickness of the glue, it is good when the wood is not perfectly flat, which much hard wood is not when planed as thin as I use it.

Thank you too for your input. I will certainly be looking more into hide glue.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 3657 days

#11 posted 01-22-2012 03:19 PM

Shelia – GREAT POST and information – thatnks for all the input from everyone and for putting this together.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3695 days

#12 posted 01-24-2012 06:52 AM

Hi Sheila,
Late again. To a distant place… I can say only Elmer’s glue is the one I can buy here (Philippines). But other generically substitutes are available. Just recently, I discovered the Bostic PVA is the most convenient one I used for most of my boxes. (The EVOSTIC PVA I used before is no longer available.)
Very good review you mentioned here, if ever the above mentioned will be available, I will try it. Thanks,

-- Bert

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3693 days

#13 posted 01-24-2012 12:37 PM

Thank you for your input too Bert. Sometimes it is difficult to find things in your own area. I know that living here in Canada, I don’t always have access to some of the products that are available in the United States. If I can get them, it usually comes with high shipping costs, taxes and duties making it a poor choice. Thanks for mentioning what is good in your area so that others that may be in the Phillippines will benefit knowing it has worked for you. It is always nice to hear from you. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Nighthawk's profile


557 posts in 3129 days

#14 posted 01-24-2012 01:21 PM

I use Selleys here in New Zealand… and recommend their glues… actually I think already did give feed back on your other thread… doh!... But I don’t live in Austrialia… I be quiet now…

-- Rome wasn't built in a day... but I wasn't on that job? ...

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3693 days

#15 posted 01-24-2012 01:27 PM

I may have mixed you up or I may have received another comment on either facebook or my site from someone in Australia who used the products. I saw they were based there and may have assumed you were from there. It is good to know they are available in NZ too (and that you like them) because I do have several customers located there. :) Thanks for clarifying things.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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