A Guide to the best Wood glue in America, updated 2018

Wood glue is very important for any craftsmen. Choosing the appropriate brand is difficult given that the market has many types. This article aims to provide a review of 4 best wood glue brands in America. Before we start the countdown let me give you a brief overview of the qualities of good wood glue.

What makes good wood glue?

  • Good Binding strength

 

  • Scientifically wood glue is judged by the ability to bind to wood fiber. Ideally, the wood fiber should tear before the glue bond fails. A popular online test for a wood glue requires that the glue bind sufficiently in 1 to 3 minutes and that there be 60% to 80% wood fiber tear when the bond is broken. This is the most important characteristic of good wood glue.

 

  • Quick drying time

 

  • For commercial applications like making cabinetry to supply to a furniture retailer. One needs to make sure that the wood glue they apply can dry early enough for the furniture to be transported. Some products in the market can take days to dry up holding up business

 

  • The drying color or “finish”

 

  • After the bond is formed some wood glue brands leave unpleasant colors. For instance, a dark-brown glue joint on a white cardboard is not aesthetically pleasing. Ideally, good wood glue should have a transparent finish. Which does not interfere with the natural hue of the material

 

  • Non-Toxic

 

  • Given the frequent use of wood glue by carpenters. One needs a fume free brand especially those who are sensitive to smells. Secondly one should not need to use protective gear just to apply glue. Therefore, a non-toxic variety is a must have.

 

  • Water clean up

 

  • Sometimes one applies wood glue on the wrong surface. To remove it normally before its dry a water clean -up is done. Therefore, a good brand of wood glue should be cleaned up easily.

 

 

  • Versatility

 

  • I cannot emphasise this enough. Good wood glue should also be applicable to a variety of surfaces like leather and cloth. This is for economic purposes.

 

 

  • Minimum “swelling” during setting of wood glue
  • Open assembly time
    • The length of time between applying glue and the point at which workpieces should no longer be manipulated is known as “assembly time.

 

  • When working with complex workpieces it is essential that one uses glue which allows longer assembly time. This gives room for correcting any errors before the glue dries up
  • Radiofrequency glueing system friendly. (RF)
    • For professional like me. There are times when we automate the glueing process using a radio frequency glueing system “RF”. Some glue types are not “RF” friendly. So as a buyer make sure you take that factor into account. I will indicate this aspect on the reviews.

 

  • FDA approved for indirect food contact.
    • It is essential to check if the glue is FDA food approved if you are using it for kitchen cabinetry.

Let us now look at the top 4 wood types of glue available in the market

 

Number 1: Titebond III ultimate   wood glue

This has been the go-to wood-glue for years. I still put it at number one even though Gorilla wood glue came later and has risen in popularity because it doesn’t expand after application. This is Gorilla’s biggest weakness. Even for the inexperienced woodworker Titebond III is more user-friendly

 

Specifications

  • Waterproof
  • Low application temperature 47
  • Long assembly time 8-10 minutes. This means you can use it on complex artefacts.
  • Unaffected by finishes. On drying, it doesn’t change the tone of the workpiece.
  • Exterior and Interior
  • Non-Toxic. One doesn’t have to worry about fumes.
  • Not RF friendly due to its 8-10 minutes assembly time.
  • Strength 4000 psi
  • Shelf life 2 years.
  • FDA indirect food contact approved.

 

My Observations  

 

  • During use, it’s very easy to clean residue glue. I just use a moist cloth. Its minimum application temperature is 47. This is way below normal room temperature.

The bottle tip can stay long without being clogged with glue. This gives it a longer after opening lifespan. If you want to work on expensive and valuable items. This is your go-to glue. Because it is clean and user-friendly. Titebond III is the most versatile glue in the market. For an occasional woodworker its multipurpose feature makes it very useful. For professional craftsmen versatility makes it ideal for off workshop jobs.

Things I did not like

Very high viscosity. This makes it very runny. Making it tricky when fixing vertical cracks.

 

Special mentions

Variations

Titebond III is the premium version. However, the brand also makes other variations like Titebond original and Titebond II.

 

Titebond original

 

  • This is a basic version of glue. It is for indoor use.
  • It lacks water resistance
  • low assembly time 4-6 minutes. Making it good for longer quick cures.
  • Not suitable for wood contact like Kitchen cabinets.

Titebond II

  • Titebond II is the best variation for outdoor use.
  • Open assembly time 3-5 minutes. This is the shortest in the range. It makes it ideal for fast cure projects.
  • Radiofrequency glueing machine friendly. The glue’s low assembly time makes it ideal for automated application.
  • It’s the most weatherproof of the range. This has made it the best-selling according to the manufactures.
  • Strength 3 750 psi

 

 

 

Number 2: Gorilla Wood Glue

As I mentioned earlier it’s a direct competitor of Titebond. It has a reputation of “Gorilla” strength. I particularly like that it is easy to use. Making it ideal for occasional craftsmen. Gorilla wood glue is also very versatile. You can use it to fix even non-wood materials. The reason I put it on number two is the 55   lowest application temperature. This is 8  higher than Titebond.

Specifications

 

  • Waterproof been proven by passing ANSI/HPVA Type II water resistance test.
  • Dries to a natural finish. It makes a natural bond line.
  • Its FDA indirect food contact approved (so you can use it for cabinets)
  • High open assembly time. Requires 20-30 minutes clamp time.
  • 24 hours curing time.
  • Can be painted
  • RF friendly

My observations

Gorilla wood glue can work on all types of wood hardwood, softwood and natural wood composites. This has been handy to me in the workshop. I have to testify it bond very strongly. After the recommended 20 minutes you can be ready for shipment I accidentally glued my hand to my desk while assembling it. I really felt the gorilla strength. Cleaning up is also very easy with a damp cloth and a rag. Once cure its rock solid. Note that clamping time can be dependent on temperature, humidity, and the porosity of the wood. Lastly its very cheap.

Things I did not like

 

You have to thoroughly clean the bottle when you are finished. Otherwise, you find it hardened next time.

 

 

 

Number 3: Elmer’s wood glue

 

I remember seeing it in my Grandfather’s shop. Elmer’s wood glue is a tried and tested brand. It has been around for over 60 years. I particularly like that it is the best stainable wood glue in the market. Elmer’s is also very easy to clean. Making it ideal for occasional craftsmen. The reason I put it on number three is, you need to prepare the surface well removing any dirt otherwise it won’t bond.

Specifications

 

  • Waterproof been proven by passing ANSI/HPVA Type II water resistance test.
  • Dries to a natural finish. It makes a natural bond line.
  • Its FDA indirect food contact approved (so you can use it for cabinets)
  • High open assembly time. Requires 10-15 minutes clamp time.
  • 12 hours curing time.
  • Can be painted
  • Stainable
  • 0% foaming (no concerns about expanding)
  • Contains wood fibers for stronger bonds
  • RF friendly

 

My observations

Elmer’s wood glue is famed for “foaming bonds so strong that the wood will break before the bond”. Even though it is marketing language, there is some truth in it. It has been around for years, my grandpa in his 90’s never uses any other. He is confident of its strength. The only disclaimer is the many counterfeit versions in the market now. The crooks take advantage of Elmer’s brand loyalty built of years.

The reason I buy it is when I need to run stain. I apply stain 6-7 minutes after glueing and you won’t see t glue spots. A stain pen works very well. Just run the pen along with your seams and call it done. This is unlike Gorilla which turns yellowish on staining.

Cleaning up is also very easy with a damp cloth and a rag. Once cure its rock solid. Note that clamping time can be dependent on temperature, humidity, and the porosity of the wood. Lastly its very cheap.

Things I did not like

For a modern woodworker, the long preparation required is my only misgiving.

 

Number 4: Glue Masters’ Professional Grade Cyanoacrylate

This glue is for those who want speed. It settles in less than 50 seconds leaving very little room for error. You need an experienced hand to handle it. I put it on 4th position because of a short shelf life. This is a consequence of Glue Masters’ Professional Grade Cyanoacrylate’s viscosity.

Specifications

 

  • Very low open assembly time. 50 seconds
  • It should not be near food, children or pets
  • You can use it for wood, glass even Chinaware
  • Non-RF friendly

 

My observations

I use it when I get called by clients for a quick job outdoors especially during cold days. One needs to be very careful when applying it because it is a super glue.

Things I did not like

 

Causes severe chemical burns when coming into contact with cotton and some other natural fibers; always read cyanoacrylate instructions carefully before using.

 

 

Conclusion

I have made a review of 4 of the top wood glue products in the market.  My personal experience and knowledge make Titebond III the best wood glue in the market. It has the lowest application temperature below room temperature.  Titebond III is versatile. External and outdoor use.