Glue Options

Glue options for furnituremakers. September 26, 2006

I am curious as to what type of glue some of you may use. I am a small shop that builds Mission style furniture. I have been using Titebond yellow glue for some time. All of my joints are mortise/tenon and pegged. I have not received any negative feedback as to any glue failures, but still would like to hear what others are using. The main reason I use Titebond is that it is the only glue our local stores carry here in my small town in Alaska.

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor T:
I use polyurethane construction adhesive in a caulking tube (PL Premium). Why? It's easy to assemble with, as it does not grab and needs 3 hours minimum to cure. I can make adjustments and take my time. It also is slippery at first, so tight joints go together easily. Great for pinned joints. For loose joints, I squeeze in extra glue and trim off later. It is a tough plastic when cured, but cuts and sands nicely. Doesn't clog sandpaper (good in my drum sander). Totally waterproof. Problems: sometimes it will keep oozing out of the cartridge (gas pockets in tubes, I guess), a little slow to cure (high humidity and wetting wood speeds it up), messy on skin (need thinners to wash off). Not a salesman, just happy to have a good glue. I even use it on vacuum pressed veneer work by combing it out onto the substrate with an old dovetail saw (keep it thin). It works amazingly well.

From contributor D:
Is that similar to Gorilla Glue? I use that on my exterior doors due to it being waterproof. But it sure does expand a lot, making a mess of my JLT door clamp. Does the PL expand out in the same manner as the Gorilla Glue?

From contributor S:
Titebond is a great all purpose interior glue for general use. It is nice to stick with glue that is available and designed for what you are doing. Two considerations are freezing, seeing as you are located in Alaska, and getting fresh glue that hasn't sat around forever. If you get into veneers, exterior work, thin laminations or other types of work, then the type of glue used becomes more critical.

From contributor T:
No, it is not the same as Gorilla Glue or any liquid polyurethane glue. I think PL Premium and others in caulking tubes are known as polyurethane mastics. No foamy mess, but it does expand slightly. It trims off easily with a knife or chisel.

From contributor C:
I agree on the PL Premium - incredibly strong stuff. Great for MDF because it doesn't soak into the edge and starve the joint like yellow glue does. Also doesn't run on a vertical surface like yellow. It is a little thick and can hold your joints apart if you don't have enough clamps, but warming in front of a heater solves that problem.

From contributor M:
I use Titebond II. Never had a problem with it. What kind of woodworking are you doing that you'd want an open time of 3 hours on your joinery? What's a tube of that cost compared to a bottle of Titebond or other aliphatic resin glue?

From contributor A:
The old school guys are still using white glue (my old boss was a fanatic). I prefer any yellow glue like Titebond/Elmers/whatever. They dry harder than white and don't clog sandpaper. The white glues remain kind of gummy forever. I have seen old glue joints that become raised as the wood movement pushes the glue out of the line. Kind of ugly. Personally, I use all five types of glues for different purposes, but yellow is the most common. The PUF Gorilla type glues are pretty messy and don't have any pros when gluing wood to wood, unless it's exterior. They excel at gluing wet wood/different substrates, and kind of, sort of gap fill.

From contributor J:
My situation is probably opposite of yours, since my concern is heat (Las Vegas) rather than cold. The past couple of years I've been using Lee Valley's Cabinetmakers Glue, 2002GF. I too use lots of mortise and tenon joinery and have never had a problem. Gorilla glue works well and cleans easily, but you need to have more than 1/4" sides on the tenon, since it does expand quite a bit. The Lee Valley glue is a tan color and easy to spread into the mortise.

From contributor H:
I make both indoor hardwood furniture and white oak and cedar outdoor furniture and use only Titebond II for indoor furniture and Titebond III for outdoor furniture. I have had no failures or problems. My white oak chair sitting outside (in Minnesota) for the last 5 years stands for testing durability, without even a single screw plug coming loose. That chair used Gorilla Glue.

From contributor W:
If any of you are using a Gorilla type glue and have problems with clean up, just use some denatured alcohol on all your joints when you're done with the clamping of your material. After you take your pieces out of the clamps, all you need to do is a little scraping and finish sanding and you're done.