Gluing on Fine Moldings

Advice on adhesives and techniques for those time when nails are just too big for the job. May 20, 2006

I have miles of fine molding to attach to various parts of Old Italian style cabinetry. I have a 23 gauge gun, but I was wondering if I could epoxy or glue these pieces on. I am particularly referring to the tiny moldings I will use to decorate flat panels that will be as small as a quarter inch or less. I would love to avoid the use of a vacuum bag I also have. Does anyone have any thoughts?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor A:
A lot of furniture makers prefer to glue moldings rather than nail them. Itís nearly impossible to make nail holes disappear. It often calls for creativity on the makerís part to make clamping devices for the different shapes of molding to be applied. I sometimes trace the end of a squared off piece and use it to see how a clamping caul must be sized and shaped and fashioned to hold a particular molding in place as the glue sets. If there are flats or steps on the molding that align with the clamping direction, they are usually key pressure points.

Masking tape is also very useful. I like to stick one end of the tape down and then rub it down good with my thumb nail. Then the tape can be stretched across the molding for added pressure before sticking the other end and rubbing it down.

Also, applying the glue and then rubbing the part back and forth will get the fast tack going. If you wait for a moment or two, the molding will refrain from slipping as you begin to apply pressure. Another trick, if you are using clamps, is to put them all in place at very light pressure and then gradually tighten them a little at a time until you reach the desired pressure. This will reduce slippage of the parts greatly. I donít think vacuum bags are used often to apply molding.

From contributor B:
I have used hot melt polyurethane glue for quick and easy attachment of molding. I use the HiPur brand, but this is not meant as an endorsement thereof.

From contributor C:

FastCap has a product called 2P-10 adhesive that is available in medium, thick and gel viscosities. The medium is actually quite thin (similar to Krazy Glue) and when applied with the accelerator bonds in about 2 seconds.

From contributor D:
I have been using a construction adhesive called Fastgrab sold at Home Depot. It is thick, in a caulking tube. Just apply a bead and push in place. That's it! Problems are that it is white and stays white, it won't pull in a warp (use a nail or tape until set), and it may leave a gap due to its thickness. You will need a very thin bead so don't cut the tip too much. Maybe just drill a hole in the tip. However it is light speed faster than any other method I know of. I'm not a salesman, just happy to discover a decent short cut. So far, Iíve had no call-backs in 9 months of use on all sorts of prefinished trims, edgings and crown mouldings. It doesn't stick well to pure urethane finish, like Fuhr 255, so I have been scratching, sanding or scraping the surface first. You need a hammer to break off after full cure.

From contributor E:
I'd agree with the use of a thick, cyanoacrylate glue (a.k.a. Crazy Glue). Radio control airplane model makers, who deal with tiny parts, swear by it due to fast grab and high strength, yet it leaves a fine glue line.

From contributor F:
Titebond moulding glue is another alternative. It sets quickly and dries rather clear.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for your replies. The FastGrab sounds good - does anyone know why I shouldn't use it? The white wonít be a problem as it's all paint grade.

From contributor A:
It depends on the quality of work you are doing. Most fine furniture makers would never use an adhesive that builds a thickness such as caulking or hot melt type adhesives.
They want pretty much wood to wood contact with an almost imperceptible glue line.
For paint grade commercial work, I suppose its alright if you donít personally mind doing it that way.