Adhesive Choices for Laminating Curved Stair Rails

      Most woodworkers recommend a non-creeping adhesive such as urea formaldehyde or epoxy for this application. June 11, 2010

What type of glue is recommended for gluing up curved railings? From what I have read on this forum it sounds like a good urea glue is in order to prevent creep? I'm concerned about the glue lines showing through the finish. This is my first time making curved railings. Would Gorilla Glue work okay? I do like it for its ability to accept stain. Any opinions would be appreciated. Especially from those who have experience with curved stairs.

Forum Responses
(Adhesive Forum)
From contributor M:
For all of our curved rail parts on spirals we either use Unibond (urea) or West Epoxy. The non creep aspect of these adhesives is what you need to keep a stable shape.

From contributor Z:
We have been using Titebond 2 for years and original Titebond before that. We have had no problem with creep or spring back to any degree. What I can tell you is not to rush taking it down from the rack. Bend it and leave it until dry. Dry on the outside does not equal dry on the inside. We leave it on the rack for three days minimum - longer if we don't need the space. Install it within a few days. Once itís attached to the newels on each end and all the ballustraid itís not going anywhere. Don't spare the clamps.

From contributor J:
I like Weldwood Plastic Resin Glue (powder mixed with water). You will have longer working times than Titebond and no fast-grab properties. It also dries brittle hard (not rubbery) which minimizes (or eliminates) the glue-line creep responsible for some of the spring-back and unwind. Contributor Z knows what he's talking about though - there's nothing quicker and easier than plain old yellow glue.

From contributor F:
The crispy glues like Weldwood and Unibond and West epoxy are probably the best but I'm right there with contributor Z also.

From contributor M:
We use the Unibond and West for our large spirals and we have no problem laying up one day and unclamping the next. We do not have to install it within a few days. On the contrary, we have completed wall rails at the same time as doing the stair rails only to install them months later. Use these types of 'rigid' glues and your product will not move.
Don't spare the clamps or the glue.

From contributor O:
You can buy a medium colored powder mix with the Unibond, which matches very well to most light to medium colored woods. This site turned me towards UF glue. It has been a big help.

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