UK Rookie needs guidance, Timber too wet to glue and machine? , then how to dry?

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Forum topic by Philuk posted 01-20-2016 12:46 AM 565 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1219 days

01-20-2016 12:46 AM

Hi all,
I planned on jointing 2×4 construction timber (softwood) to make two 6 ft tall by 4ft long yard gate frames, onto which I would nail vertical featheredge board. I was going use T lap joints cut with the router and glue with Titebond 3. I chose this glue for our wet outdoor conditions and low minimum curing temperature of 47 F, which is about the workshop temp. at this time of year. I live in south west Wales 200 yards from the sea and we get some seriously wet Atlantic weather here, but temperatures are mild and temperate.

The timber arrived today from the local wood yard at the dock, very wet, measuring 25% moisture content on a meter I use for firewood. I had purposely avoided buying pressure treated timber in the hope standard construction timber would be dryer – but this hasn’t worked out.

Am I right in thinking Titebond 3 wont cure under these conditions? Is there any glue that could handle these conditions?
Will this soft wood be too wet to machine with the router? It was sticky with the hand saw on a test piece.

Naturally, my thoughts turn to drying this wood and also how dry will it need to be before I can cut and glue successfully.
I can either leave the timber in the workshop or bring it into an unused unheated room in the house which is at about 54 degrees Fahrenheit. Is either options going to have much impact on the moisture content and how quickly? What value of moisture content should I be aiming at before starting work?

Any advice is most welcome. Many thanks.

3 replies so far

View Bob Kassmeyer's profile

Bob Kassmeyer

241 posts in 3286 days

#1 posted 01-20-2016 01:11 AM

If you wanted to work it now you could use polyurethane glue, it uses moisture to cure. If you do though I suspect there will be a great deal of movement in the wood as it drys. Not sure how long it would take to dry. Welcome to lumberjocks

-- Bob Kassmeyer, Nebraska

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

335 posts in 2409 days

#2 posted 01-20-2016 02:21 AM


Remember there’s a real mix of folks on this site. From pro contractors to hobbyists to somebody with an opinion.

For t-lap I’ve seen galvanized nuts and bolts and screws used. I don’t see what the glue adds. The strength of that joint comes from the overlapping shoulders and just needs some pinching together to keep the shoulders from becoming disengaged. The glue won’t provide that.

If you want a rustic appearance you could use clinching nails as old crates are made. I hesitate to recommend this too much because finding the right kind of nails for your climate would be tough. Maybe there are ways to peg it? In fact, maybe there’s a proven old fashioned joint that doesn’t need any glue or metal? Perhaps through peg with a wedge in it, making sure to wedge toward the end grain on just one end.

In any case, I wouldn’t recommend glue of any sort. Good luck!

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View Philuk's profile


2 posts in 1219 days

#3 posted 01-20-2016 07:21 PM

Thanks for advice guys. Taking on board your comments….
I have brought the wood into the house, stacked carefully and have a fan circulating the air. I’ll measure the moisture content each day – aiming for a value around 15% before routing the joints.
I will position the 18 inch hinges such that their screws reinforce the T lap joints on the hinge side where there is a substantial hinge bolt used to tighten the hinge, so this will hold 2 of the joints together. On the opposite side I will use a bolt or two also.

Interestingly, Titebond Tech support emailed me today and suggested 8-12% MC for applying their water based products (which I think includes Titebond III) – and a value of up to 15% MC for their Titebond Polyurethane glue. They stated that higher MC lengthens curing times.
With that in mind I will wait a week to see what MC I can get the timber down to, then choose a glue accordingly. I’ll try and heat the workshop some during gluing.
I read somewhere that Gorilla glue ( polyurethane) can be used on green wood which may suggests it should be an option if I can’t get the moisture content down. My current thinking is that Titebond III probably won’t suit if I cant get the MC down to 12% or below.

I believe I also have to avoid drying too much, since once the gates are in place they will soak up water again, expand, and potentially damage the work. Logic dictates I ought to aim for around 15% MC and use a polyurethane glue.
Perhaps I could use a water repellent treatment to reduce the amount of water the wood soaks up in service? Anyone tried this ?

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