Best bent lamination glue choices?

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Forum topic by Jonathan posted 06-22-2011 05:58 AM 10170 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 4132 days

06-22-2011 05:58 AM

Topic tags/keywords: bent lamination glue choice unibond 800 pro-glue urea resin glue

In doing research before attempting my first bent lamination, I’m starting to look at the appropriate glue choice for the project.

A couple of glues that seem to be good choices for bent lamination are:
-Unibond 800

I realize there are other choices out there and I’m not locked in to these two choices. It just seems that these are good choices for my first attempt at bent lamination because of the open time. I’m not concerned with cure time as I’m not on a deadline.

I first came across the Unibond 800 when looking into urea resin glues. It seems like a great choice as long as I take the proper precautions. The Pro-Glue doesn’t appear to be as much of a safety hazard, with a lower formaldehyde content. With that being said, I can wear a respirator and also probably do the laminations in our detached garage, rather than the basement shop, without a problem.

What are your thoughts on these two possible choices? I am not committed yet, but my initial thought is that I’d like to do the bent laminations out of walnut. They’ll be pretty straightforward 120-degree bends. I’m undecided on the thickness of the lamination, but am thinking somewhere in the 1-1.5-inch range. Again this is all in the design phase, so I’d like to get a solid plan in-place beforehand so the build process goes as smoothly as possible, without major surprises, upsets, etc.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

8 replies so far

View JuniorJoiner's profile


497 posts in 4522 days

#1 posted 06-22-2011 06:45 AM

I use unibond 800 for some fairly severe bends in lams. it works for what I need, and I tried 9 different glues first.
it does need to be kept cool for shelf life( refrigerator if you can) and it has good open time.
a heating blanket under a blanket for 24hrs to ensure a complete cure.
it does dry very hard, so be careful as the squeeze out can cut you. oh, and scrape off the excess with a carbide scraper i.e. resist the urge to make a pass on the jointer, as the blades will suffer greatly for it.

I find it efficient to mix it in a pan, and to apply it with a rubber roller to the lams
make certain all your clamping/bending form is coated in packing tape so your bent lam does not adhere to the form.

one thing to note once you get some unibond and start experimenting before you commit. I noticed the addition of unibond strengthened the assembly so much I was able to reduce the thickness of many of my parts.I typically use 3 mm lams,never much more

best luck on your project

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View 489tad's profile


4000 posts in 4093 days

#2 posted 06-22-2011 08:38 AM

I used Gorilla Glue. So far so good. I did a dry run to make sure I could clamp in the forms. That was helpful, My biggest problem was getting the laminations smooth enough as not to see gaps when compressed together.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Bill Davis's profile

Bill Davis

226 posts in 5006 days

#3 posted 06-22-2011 02:30 PM

I haven’t done bent laminations so can’t speak directly to that application. I did do some veneering and there is a good discussion of glues mostly with respect to that use at Joe Woodworkers. Might be of some help as the usage is similar. I built a vacuum press from Joe’s instructions and used it on the toy box project.

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Bill Davis

226 posts in 5006 days

#4 posted 06-22-2011 03:22 PM

Was just reading some on Joe's site and he does mention laminating.

“The choice between powdered cold press and premixed cold press glues should be based on the type of use the veneered project will be subjected to. Powdered glues like Ultra-CAT™ are more heat/water resistant and create a Type-II bond. This type of glue is also ideal for bent laminations and shop-sawn veneers.”

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 4132 days

#5 posted 06-22-2011 04:19 PM

Thanks for all the feedback so far.

@JuniorJoiner, That is good to hear that you did some testing and landed on the Unibond 800 for your choice. I had read about refrigeration, as well as the use of blankets, especially if it’s cooler in the shop, or if you want to speed up the cure rate. Since I’m not in a rush or time crunch, I’ll likely just leave each piece in the clamps for 12-24-hours, depending on when I can actually get back into the shop to put the next lamination in the forms. I’ll also be using packing tape, or wax paper, and likely wax the molds a bit too. I have an ink roller that I typically use on glue-ups for regular laminations, etc. Depending on the glue I go with, I may either use that, or a disposable foam-type roller that will likely apply enough, but not too much, especially with the Pro-Glue. And yes, I definitely plan on mixing some up and testing it on scraps before trying to do the first lamination on my project stock.

@489tad, I’ll definitely be doing a dry run to make sure I have enough clamps, in the right areas, and that there are no gaps present. This will also help me determine exactly where the first and last pieces need to be in-relation to each other in the mold, once clamped down. I’m thinking about placing alignment marks on the molds so I have a starting point. I’m definitely going to make my stock pieces longer so I don’t sell myself short on either end of the bend. I can always trim it up after the glue is cured.
I think the glue choice can also have an impact on the outcome, as some glues do better if they’re not clamped down too tightly, while others work best with a minimal glue line. I’ve also taken into consideration what those glue lines will look like. Unibond 800 comes in different shades, and can be mixed with aniline dye to really match the wood.

@Bill Davis, Joe Woodworkers site was one that I took some time to read through and do some comparisons of products on there. Ultra-CAT was another one I looked at. Thanks for pointing out that link and information since I neglected to do that. It’s funny, I met a fellow LJ the other day and we began talking about veneering. I told him I wasn’t quite ready to build a vacuum press yet. He had a great set-up that he build from the Joe Woodworker site and he hooks it up to his air compressor.

@cr1, You bring up an excellent point on choosing the correct glue for the application. This piece will be a table, so it’s not going to need to flex like rocking chair runners, and it’ll be kept indoors. It appears you’ve given solid recommendations on glues, as they relate to the application, at least from what I’ve read up on so far about the various types of glue and what applications they’re typically best suited to, so thank you for including all of that information.

On a side note, here’s a link to a tips page when using the Pro-Glue.
And here’s a little information regarding Unibond 800.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 3736 days

#6 posted 06-22-2011 09:51 PM

I use plastic resin glue – DAP Woodweld. It is a two part glue (powder and water). It has a long open time (about 45 minutes) and when you release the clamps there is virtually no springback whatsoever on your glue up. The only caveat is to sand the squeeze out off before using a jointer or planer. The stuff is hard as a rock and can nick blades pretty badly.

I get mine at the local Ace Hardware. If they don’t have it in stock, they can order it.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View RZH's profile


73 posts in 4191 days

#7 posted 06-23-2011 02:39 AM

Hi Jonathan,
I use the Ultra-CAT and I like it alot. You don’t have to mix part A and B, just water. You can also get a bag of lightening agent, it will lighten the color of the glue to almost white if desired. Very helpful hiding glue lines.

-- Ron

View Pick's profile


30 posts in 4115 days

#8 posted 06-23-2011 05:45 AM

From personal experience and from the experience from colleagues, the unanimous decision is epoxy; I’m partial to West Systems. Let me go through some of the options and why I’ve stopped using them or have been told not to use them for bent lam-o’s.

1. Yellow glue (TB 1,2,3) as it’s been mentioned, glue creep and spring back- bad news. I have a piece of furniture that’s about three years old and it’s starting to show a little creep. I’m not happy. Also, relatively slow open time. When you use the yellow glue for bent lam-o’s, you have to work very quickly and the yellow glue does not allow the lam-o’s to slide past each other which they will want to to and need to, as the outside of the curve is longer than the inside.

2. Urea-formaldehyde (Unibond) Works well, decent open time. I had a friend use this and it did not go well however due to the unibond being slightly old, like a year. We’ve sworn it off since then and won’t go back.

3. Epoxy (West Systems) Long open time, very long. You can add fillers for porous woods. The epoxy is good for a really long time (shelf life) It acts as a lubricant and lets things slide very well, this goes for joints like mortise and tenon where yellow glue would make things swell up and get sticky. Much less spring back. Get the pumps for it, and you can make just what you need, when you need it. There are lots of hardeners available, 205, 206, 207. These depend on your temperature and desired open time. Refer to their website for which one is good for you. If I were buying a set today I’d get the 105 Resin, the Slow hardener, and a container of cotton micro-fibers and a set of pumps, BUY THE PUMPS!!!! In the group A size, this would cost you about $90. Get the Group B size and you’re looking at like $160. It’s not just good for bent lam-o’s, its for all woodworking uses.

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