Written by Kevin Hays in essentials,Joints and Joining,Woodworking TipsLast Updated February 5, 2021
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If you are new to woodworking one of the first questions you’ll end up asking yourself, after a trip to your local hardware store, is which of the 20 options for wood glue should you get for your slow, newbie clamping time. There are a lot of choices and what I will try to help you with in this article is to explain wood glue drying times.

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To start with, epoxy glue dries instantly once you apply the hardener. With PVA, which is your typical wood glue, you have anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes of assembly time before you need to clamp the piece for the initial set. Most glue will be completely cured in 24 hours and the bond will be stronger than the surrounding wood. Try and avoid any lateral movement of the work that you are gluing up once the surfaces are in contact to prevent weakening the bond.

There are a couple main types of glue that you’ll run across in your woodworking journey which I’ll try to explain in this article to your satisfation.


To ensure your project holds together you do need clamps to put sufficient clamp pressure on the joint to allow it to bond properly.

One exception to needing clamps is using hide glue and creating a rubbed joint. This is basically putting the hot hide glue on both surfaces and rubbing them together a couple times until it stops moving. This type of hide glue joint will hold without clamping.

Some alternatives, if you ran out of clamps or don’t have the right type, is to create your own clamping board.


If a joint you clamped is under stress than you should let the glue fully cure for 24 hours. Joints that are not under stress can be un-clamped in just under an hour. Don’t do anything that will stress the joint for a day because the bond is not fully cured. 

Your weather and climate also should be taken into account. If you are in a cold damp place than glue will take a lot longer to set and cure. Be extra careful and give it some extra time. If you are in a hot and dry environment, like the southwest all summer, than you’ll usually be safer to unclamp your project sooner.

 


Try using a thin bead of glue, spreading it evenly and thinly on the surface your gluing up. The old saying of the bigger the blob the better the job is not the right thing for gluing up your work. 

If you are in a hurry to get your glue to dry faster than try a blow dryer or a heat lamp. This will help dry the glue a little quicker but you will still need to let the piece sit for 24 hours to allow the glue to completely cure so the joint doesn’t fall apart in a year or two.


Typically the bond of fully cured PVA glue, which is the typical white or yellow gorilla glue or titebond or one of the similar glues, is stronger than the surrounding wood. 

Hide Glue is the strongest glue you can get but has the added benefit of being able to take apart with some heat to refinish the piece.

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Hide Glue which is good for reversibility, color absorption, fast tack, really strong, no creep. traditionally comes as flakes that are mixed with hot water. This type has no additives and is the strongest to use. old brown glue and titebond liquid are liquid forms.PVA which is the standard wood glue that you’ll use for joining surfaces. You’ll need to clean off excess glue. Once its dry excess will need to be sanded off because it can’t be colored and other glue won’t attach to it.Wood Epoxy is used to fill open spots like knows and other damaged areas. Epoxy is a 2 part glue, is waterproof, and should not be used for structurally important spots.Cyanoacrylate is super glue which mostly is used for mounting jigs or other pieces to assist with working the wood like assisting with clamping.Polyurethane glue like gorilla glue is waterproof and will stick anything together. 

TiteBond III ultimate wood glue exterior use due to waterproof like properties

open assembly time 8-10 minutestotal assembly time 20-25 minutesrequired pressure soft 100-150, medium 125-175, hard 175-250clean with damp rag while still wet, scrape and sand excess

TiteBond II Premium wood Glue

ideal for exterior use due to highly waterproof

open assembly time 3-5 minutestotal assembly time 10-15 minutesrequired pressure soft 100-150, medium 125-175, hard 175-250clean with damp rag while still wet, scrape and sand excess

TiteBond Original Wood Glue

industry standard for woodworking with a stronger bond than the wood. Not exterior use or moisture.

open assembly time 4-6 minutestotal assembly time 10-15 minutesrequired pressure soft 100-150, medium 125-175, hard 175-250clean with damp rag while still wet, scrape and sand excess

TiteBond Genuine Hide Glue

long assembly time, really strong and can be disassembly with moisture. Best for fine furniture repair

open assembly time 10 minutestotal assembly time 20-30 minutesrequired pressure soft 100-150, medium 125-175, hard 175-250clean with damp rag while still wet, scrape and sand excess

TiteBond Polyurethane glue

waterproof, bond everything, 45 minute cure time, not for structeral apps

total assembly time 20-30 minutesrequired pressure soft 100-150, medium 125-175, hard 175-250clean with mineral spirits

TiteBond Quick and Thick multi-surface glue

thickest fastest drying, not for exterior

open assenmblt time 3-5 minutetotal assembly time 10-15 minutesrequired pressure soft 100-150, medium 125-175, hard 175-250clean with damp cloth, sand or scrape

TiteBond instant bond wood adhesive gel

2 part system for hard to reach and clamp surfaces

5 – 15 seconds to set30-60 seconds for initial cure8 hour full curerequired pressure soft 100-150, medium 125-175, hard 175-250acetone to clean

TiteBond II extend 

2 part system for hard to reach and clamp surfaces

5 – 15 seconds to set30-60 seconds for initial cure8 hour full curerequired pressure soft 100-150, medium 125-175, hard 175-250acetone to clean