Are woodworking glues really different?

Are wood glues really different?

All woodworking projects require some sort of glue but are the glues really different?  I’ve done some research online to figure out the real story on woodworking glues.

How are glues made?


Have you ever heard about sending horses to the glue factory?  Well in case you’ve ever thought that was just a myth it’s actually a fact.  Horses have a lot of collagen which is a key protein in connective tissues like cartilage, tendons and ligaments.  Collagen is one of the key ingredients used in animal glue because it’s able to be made into a gelatin.  The gelatin becomes very sticky when wet and hardens when it dries.  

Collagen is also one of the most abundant proteins in the human body as well but I don’t think we’re going to the glue factory anytime soon.  Humans have actually used animals to make glue for thousands of years.

Don’t worry though everyone wasn’t completely barbaric back then. There are other adhesives such as egg whites, tree sap, tar & biz wax used by the ancient Romans. 

There has also been some glue that was made from blood because of its coagulative properties.  Apparently it works well when bonding plywood and was used for this purpose until the mid-twentieth century.  So if you’re ever in the wood shop and run out of wood glue you may not be out of luck!?

Now days (in the United States at least) there are certain regulations and laws prohibiting some of the old practices used to making glue.  This is not to say that parts of animals are not used but how the parts are acquired is a different story.  Instead of slaughtering animals for the sole purpose of glue making, factories collect animal parts from slaughterhouses.

Now that you’ve read a little bit on how glue is made I hope you are not too freaked out.

3 Main Woodworking Titebond glues

Titebond is probably one of the most known woodworking glues on the market.  Titebond has three main woodworking glues on the market, Titebond original, Titebond II premium and Titebond 3 Ultimate.  

All three of these products are excellent choices for any woodworker.  Although I have only listed three there are actually seven right now on the market.  

3 Main Woodworking Titebond glues

Titebond Original

Titebond Original

Titebond original helps any woodworker achieve professional-looking results. Titebond original is ideal for wood, hardboard, particle board and other types of materials. This is a non-toxic product and cleans up with water.  

Titebond original has an open working time of roughly 4 to 6 minutes with a total assembly time of 10 to 15 minutes.

The application temperature should also be above 50°.

Titebond original requires a clamping pressure of roughly 100 – 150 PSI  for Softwoods, 125 to 175 PSI for medium Woods & 175 – 250 PSI for Hardwoods to achieve the best results. 

Titebond original should only  be used for interior woodworking applications.

Titebond II Premium

Titebond II premium has similar features as the original but with the added feature of water-resistant glue.  This glue is an excellent choice for your outdoor woodworking projects.

Titebond Preium has an open working time of roughly 3 to 5 minutes with a total assembly time of 10 to 15 minutes. 

The application temperature should also be above 55°. Titebond premium requires a clamping pressure of roughly 100 – 150 PSI for Softwoods, 125 to 175 PSI for medium Woods & 175 – 250 PSI for Hardwoods to achieve the best results.  

Titebond premium can be used on both interior and exterior woodworking applications.  Titebond premium is also FDA approved for indirect food contact making this glue a great choice for cutting boards.

Titebond III Ultimate

Titebond 3 Ultimate has similar features to the Original and Premium.  Titebond ultimate is in fact the ultimate woodworking glue.  Titebond Ultimate has a longer total assembly time at almost double the previous two making this an excellent choice for your larger woodworking projects.  

Titebond ultimate has an open working time of roughly 8 to 10 minutes with a total assembly time of 20 to 25 minutes. 

The application temperature should also be above 47°. 

Titebond ultimate requires a clamping pressure of roughly 100 – 150 PSI for Softwoods, 125 to 175 PSI for medium Woods & 175 – 250 PSI for Hardwoods to achieve the best results.  

Titebond ultimate can be used on both interior and exterior woodworking applications.  Titebond ultimate is also FDA approved for indirect food contact making this glue a great choice for cutting boards.  Titebond ultimate also has a lower application temperature which may be needed in your working environment.

What kind of glue should I use for my woodworking project?

There’s a couple key factors that you need to consider before choosing the glue for your woodworking project. First we need to determine whether this piece will be used indoors or outdoors. 

If the piece will be mainly used Outdoors you’ll want to consider using a water-resistant glue. This way you can rest assured that you’re glue joints will last as long as you’d hoped.  If your piece will be used indoors you could use any of the three.  

You will also want to consider how big your project is. Do you expect the glue up time to take more than 10 minutes? If so you’ll want to go with a longer working time.  This way you’ll have plenty of time to move the boards around before clamping them in place.

Also consider the environment in which you’re working. What is the average temperature? Some glues work better in certain temperatures than others.  The working temperature can greatly affect the outcome of your glue up. Make sure to remember this as you’re working on your project.

So what’s the difference between these glue types?

As we have discovered above there are few key differences between the glue types.

1 – How long is the working time?

2 – How long is the total assembly time?

3 – Are there any temperature requirements?

4 – What is the required clamping pressure?

5 – Is the glue FDA approved for indirect food contact?

6 – Can the glue be cleaned up with water?

7 – Is the glue sandable?

8 – Is the glue water resistant?

These are just a few of the differences to consider when choosing the type of glue for your woodworking project. Always consider your final application before choosing your glue. You don’t want to spend hours upon hours building an awesome piece only to find out that you’ve used the wrong glue!

Is it bad to apply too much glue?

Here’s some quick tips from my personal experience.  I personally don’t think that it’s a bad idea to apply too much glue. I actually prefer more glue than Less.  This way I will be sure that I have a good seal. 

After clamping up the boards that you’re just glued be sure to wipe down any squeeze out.  Simply wipe off a piece with a damp rag and let the piece dry.  Factor the pieces completely dry be sure to sand it down thoroughly. If you’re planning on staining the piece this is extremely important.  Stain does not take too well to glue after it’s dried.  If it is left on the surface you will end up with a bunch of white splotchy patches after it’s stained.

I suggest that you take the time to completely clean up the glue after it’s dried. You will thank yourself!

What if you need a faster drying glue?

For some applications you will need a glue to dry instantly for your project. There are a few different types of glue that you can use for this.  If you have ever installed crown molding you will know what I’m talking about. 

Outside corners of crown molding are always tough to get perfect. What I’ve learned in my years of experience is that you need an instant bond to keep these seams tight. I’ve actually found that using hot glue to do this is a great option.

Using a hot glue gun is not only easy quick and fast drying but it’s actually durable as well.  I have often found that after using hot glue on crown molding Corners that there is no need for nails.  

One thing to consider when using hot glue is that it sets extremely fast and FYI it is hot.

I have also use super glue for small seams in wood as well.   Super glue will work well on super flat surfaces. Although if the surface is no smooth (end grain) superglue is probably not the best choice. 

Also this is probably something that you want to use on a smaller craft type projects.   Your fingers will start to hurt if you choose to use this on a larger project as the bottles are so small.

There are also two part glues that are available on the market today as well.   These glues consists of two parts that must be mixed together to activate the adhesion.   If you have never used this type of glue before you may want to practice on a test piece beforehand.

Thank you for hanging out

Well if you made it to this far in the article you have made it!  I appreciate you taking the time to read through this. Following some of these simple steps will help ensure that your woodworking project is completed correctly and will last a lifetime.

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3 methods to glue up wood for Farm tables, cutting boards and joints

One of the most basic things you can learn how to do in wood working is the glue up of two pieces of wood. There are various reasons why you would glue up wood. Glue is the hold all with any woodworking project

Check out my post “Different types of wood glue for your woodworking project”

Top 3 applications for glue ups:

  • Table tops
  • Joints
  • Cutting boards


Choosing the best wood for the job

Picking out the best wood is key to any woodworking project. Choosing boards with end grains that run vertical are best when gluing up tops. This cuts down one your table top bowing or cupping.

Check out my post on “How to select the right wood for your project”

Check the board cup?

When I glue up boards I like to check the cup of each board. I typically try to arrange the boards so that the cups are opposite of each other. In theory this method is used so that after time the entire piece is working together to keep the top nice and flat.

Glue squeeze out?

Applying enough glue to the joint is extremely important. Glue squeeze out is just that. The glue that squeezes out of the joint after the boards are clamped together. I personally like to have a hefty squeeze out so that I know the entire edge is covered. Before the squeeze out dries you can use a wet cloth to wipe the excess glue off. If there is any remaining glue after the joint has dried you can use a sander or car scraper to remove the excess. It is important to note that stain doesn’t take well to glue so if staining the boards is your end finish make sure to remove all squeeze out from areas that can not be reached with a sander.

Simple glue up

One of the most basic methods is simply to apply a wood glue evenly to the entire edge of one board. Making sure that you have an Adequate amounts of glue. Once the glue is applied to the edge simply clamp the two boards in place. Depending on the size of the top you should alternate the clamps placing 1 clamp on the bottom then the next on the top. Always starting with two bottom clamps on each end. This will help the boards stay flat during the drying process.

Kreg Jig
Kreg Jig

Pocket holes & Kreg screws

This is a great option for the Hobbiest and Professional. When pocket holes are used correctly and in the right application they can speed up the the entire process. This method uses a pocket hole jig to drill a hole in the edge of a board. This allows the boards to be attached using screws. The Kreg jig can be set to use on various board thicknesses. The pocket hole method will provide a strong bond between the two boards. When using pocket holes and screws glue should be used as well. Glue is what will make the joint hold up over time. (Never skip gluing a joint)

Check out my post “How to use a Kreg Jig”



Dewalt Biscuit Joiner
Dewalt Biscuit Joiner

Biscuits joints

Biscuit joints are used in vast applications by professionals. This method of joining wood involves cutting a small slot in the edge of two boards that a small wooden biscuit will slide into. Using a biscuit joiner correctly will make it easier to keep the board surface flat when glued together. This means less sanding! When using the biscuit joiner (also known as a plate joiner) make sure to set the depth of the slot to the middle of the boards. The biscuits are glued into the slots. Glue is also applied to the boards edge. Once all edges and biscuits are glued the boards can be clamped together making sure to Aline the biscuits to the opposing boards slots. After clamping the boards together use a wet rag to wipe off the excess from any squeeze out. This will save time sanding off dry glue later. The biscuits will swell once dried making for a nice strong joint. Glue is what will make the joint hold up over time. (Never skip gluing a joint)

Checkout my post “How to use a biscuit jointer”

If you find this information helpful or have any questions leave them in the comments.

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