Does wood glue have a shelf life?

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Forum topic by RMH posted 11-23-2009 10:51 PM 17270 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 3621 days

11-23-2009 10:51 PM

Does anyone know if wood glue has a shelf life? I have some that is five years or so old. I’m not opposed to buying new glue, but I am cheap and don’t want to throw it away if I dont have to.

-- Ron in central Ohio

15 replies so far

View rustfever's profile


773 posts in 3789 days

#1 posted 11-23-2009 11:01 PM

Not really sure. But I just found a 5+ yr old bottle of tight-bond that was thick and would not flow. Heated in a double boiler until it softened a bit. Used it to glue one joint. Then threw the bottle away. BTW, the joint did hold.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View CharlieM1958's profile


16283 posts in 4697 days

#2 posted 11-23-2009 11:03 PM

This topic came up a while back, and it’s a little tricky.

Titebond advertises a shelf life of one year, but their website also states that their yellow glues can be used as long as they remain fluid. In other words, if the glue appears to be okay, you can use it.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4127 days

#3 posted 11-23-2009 11:10 PM

yes it has shelf life, and as Charlie stated – as long as its fluid it should work ok.

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

View matt0852's profile


49 posts in 3834 days

#4 posted 11-23-2009 11:10 PM

I wish I would have seen this a while back. A couple months ago I threw away a one gallon jug of wood glue because it was very thick and wouldn’t flow. AHHH!!! I guess you live and you learn.

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 4004 days

#5 posted 11-24-2009 12:06 AM

From what I have heard, titebond does degrade. Bacteria breaks it down over time.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View RMH's profile


16 posts in 3621 days

#6 posted 11-24-2009 12:08 AM

The stuff I have is still very fluid so I guess I’ll keep on using it. Thanks for the info.

-- Ron in central Ohio

View SnowyRiver's profile


51458 posts in 3959 days

#7 posted 11-24-2009 12:18 AM

This is an interesting question. I know what many here have said is posted in various articles. The problem I have is there are just as many articles indicating that yellow glue does have a shelf life and its around one to two years. So I guess the bottom line is maybe no one knows for sure. I spend too much time working on projects to take a chance. I never buy wood glue in large quantities…I always use a fresh bottle (6 months old at the most) when I start the project. I dont need it falling apart two or three years down the line.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View RMH's profile


16 posts in 3621 days

#8 posted 11-24-2009 12:20 AM

That’s a good point Wayne.

-- Ron in central Ohio

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 4192 days

#9 posted 11-24-2009 12:49 AM

we did this test about 6 months ago at school where we made two of the same exact joint and then put them together with 2 different glue bottles, one that was brand new and one that was about 18 to 20 months old, both bottles flowed well and they both set up within 24 hours, but the joint with the old glue only held up to 200 lbs. of pressure where as the new bottle joint didn’t break until almost 400 lbs. so it will work but it is not at full strength.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View Chuck 's profile


88 posts in 3679 days

#10 posted 11-24-2009 03:19 AM

both glues the same brand? Same wood used for joints made identically? What about the amount of glue applied? If the age of the glue was the ONLY variable, then that is good to know. Of course this all leads to the next question: does glue that is set holding a joint half a lifespan?

-- Chuck, Washington D.C.

View a1Jim's profile


117711 posts in 4056 days

#11 posted 11-24-2009 03:28 AM

The best way is to just do a test if your test holds after it dry’s it’s good. If it’s thick and does not flow well it’s done for. Glues shelf life will very depending on the conditions its stored in , If the glue freezes it’s all over even if its a new bottle.

View Frankie Talarico Jr.'s profile

Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 3835 days

#12 posted 11-24-2009 03:36 AM

I back jim on this. All his points are true, and like others. is a $5.00 bottle of glue worth the risk? Newer is beeter and I won’t take that chance with a nice projuect, or jigs for that matter. If the bottle is yellowing then throw it away.

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3832 days

#13 posted 11-24-2009 03:43 AM

I’ve heard 6 months and that’s pretty much what I go by. When I open a bottle I write the date on it with a Sharpie. Once air gets in the bottle from repeated use that is what affects the glue and after time it won’t be as strong as it should be.

Sure if you glue something up and it holds and you can’t pull it apart with you’re hands, but that’s no test. LOL What Roper said is what I had heard, it loses it’s bonding strength over time due to the contact with air.

But, you’re making something I presume you want to last, you going to take a chance on old glue? For what, to save a few bucks? And when you’re in the business you going to do that to your customers? I’d steer way from those manufacturers…

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 4192 days

#14 posted 11-24-2009 04:24 AM

same glue, same wood , same joint, just about the same amount of glue, that was hard to judge.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3832 days

#15 posted 11-24-2009 04:47 AM

Another trick is to squeeze the air out of the bottle before you close it or put the cap on. I did this with the polyurethane glues because I had heard they were the worst in regards to air contact, but I don’t use them anymore.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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