How to Glue Wood on Wood (With or Without Clamps)

Wood Glue is easy to use. However, as a beginner, there are some things that you should know to avoid wasting your wood glue or the quality of your material. This article answers how to glue wood on wood with or without the use of wood clamps. 

Gluing wood to wood follows the same procedure, whether you own a wood clamp or not. It only varies on the type of wood glue that you’re going to use. For joining small workpieces, you can Rub the pieces of wood to take out all the air between the wooden parts until its texture becomes sticky. For larger projects, you can use a Clamping Board or create your DIY wooden clamp. Generally, here are the steps in using wood glue for your wooden workpieces.

  • Step 1: Decide on Using the Right Type of Glue.
  • Step 2: Set Your Workpiece.
  • Step 3: Clean the Workpiece.
  • Step 4: Apply the Wood Glue. 
  • Step 5: Join the Pieces of Wood.
  • Step 6: Clamp the Glued Workpiece.
  • Step 7: Let the Wood Glue Set.
  • Step 8: Mask Glue Joints. 

This article will also tackle more information about wood glue and wood clamps. So, make sure to read the entire content if you want to have in-depth knowledge about gluing wood on wood. In the end, you’ll be an expert in this aspect of woodworking.

How to Glue Wood on Wood WITH Clamps?

Using wood clamps in drying and curing the wood glue is an effective way of stabilizing the workpiece. Buying this tool is worthy because it ensures that there would be no unnecessary movements that may cause deformation. Plus, it also has various uses in woodworking. For now, allow us to explain to you how to glue wood on wood with the help of wood clamps. 

  • Step 1: Decide on Using the Right Type of Glue. There are different types of wood glue available in the market today. Therefore, you have to choose what is suitable for your project. Is your project will stay indoors or mostly outdoors? It is the primary question that you should ask yourself when selecting the type of wood glue. We will discuss more picking the right Wood Glue for every project in a while.
    • Common Types of Wood Glue.
      1. White Glue is suitable for indoor projects that have a low to moderate amount of wear. Most woodworkers prefer to use it on smaller craft projects rather than furniture.
      2. Yellow Glue is best to use on regular to larger-sized projects.
      3. Waterproof Wood Glue is perfect if your project will have direct contact with water. You can use resorcinol formaldehyde Glue to ensure extreme adhesion. This type of wood Glue is ideal for doors, windows, and other aquatic equipment. However, Waterproof Wood Glue is more expensive compared to yellow or white Glue.
  • Step 2: Set Your Workpiece. In gluing, make sure to set the pieces of your project atop a worktable or flat surface. Moreover, make sure that the area is clean to avoid any small particles sticking to the wood Glue. Cover the worktable with something a little bit slippery, so that the pieces of wood don’t get stuck.
  • Step 3: Clean the Workpiece. The wooden piece should be free from any dirt. If you have to smoothen its surface, you can use a 120 to 200-grit sandpaper. It depends on the thickness of the material and the part that you want to remove. 
  • Step 4: Apply the Wood Glue. This step depends on what you’re trying to join. Apply the wood Glue at the edge or along the grain of the wood using a flux brush. Flux brushes are excellent, especially for sticking intricate joints. Put and spread the right amount of wood glue.
  • Step 5: Join the Pieces of Wood. Be careful about joining the pieces of your workpiece. Make sure to align each section accordingly. If there any are excess wood Glue as you push and apply pressure on the glued wooden workpiece, immediately wipe it off with a dry cloth or sand it after.
  • Step 6: Clamp the Glued Workpiece. You can use steel bar clamps or pipe clamps to hold the joints. However, you may want to cover the jaw pads with wax paper in case the wood glue comes in contact with the brace. The moisture of the Wood Glue can also leave dark marks on your wood, watch out for that.
  • Step 7: Let the Wood Glue Set. Depending on the amount of Wood Glue, let it cure for at least an hour or two. Some would even require to cure for 24 hours. It takes longer, but it is the most effective way to ensure that the joints don’t move and that the Wood Glue dries completely. Moreover, take note that clamped wooden pieces set quickly at a warmer temperature.
  • Step 8: Mask Glue Joints. For healthy quality joints, you have to glue them before finishing. It is because wood glue doesn’t stick well to varnished or stained wood. You can apply good-quality masking tape to the surfaces that you have to glue if you want to finish the other parts. Or you can do the finishing touches after pasting the pieces together.

How to Choose the Best Clamp for Your Workpiece?

In using clamps in supporting your glued workpiece, you can’t have too many. Depending on the size of your project, more often, one clamp is enough. The clamp that you have to use depends on the task that you’re trying to achieve. If you wish to know more about wood clamps, read here. In the meantime, here are some ordinary woodworking gluing jobs and the best wood clamps to use for every purpose.

  • Application #1: Edge Gluing Panels. Either a bar or pipe clamps are the best option for this application. It’s because they provide superb lengths to support the width of the material that you’re trying to glue. Moreover, both bar and pipe clamps offer sturdy support for the wood panels.
  • Application #2: Face Gluing. If you want to glue the face of the workpiece, F-Style clamps are your best friend. They come in various extendable jaw depths. So, you can stretch the point of force further from the edge of the workpiece. Moreover, some models of F-Style clamps feature a handle that swivels 90 degrees to make it a lot easier to grip and create more leverage. 
  • Application #3: Cabinets Assembly. If you’re trying to create a DIY cabinet at home or other face frames and boxes, Parallel jaw clamps are the best choice. This wood clamp features a pair of jaws that remain parallel to each other. Its design allows even distribution of pressure across the entire face of the clamp jaw. Just make sure to keep the parts of the boxes perpendicular to each other for greater accuracy.
  • Application #4: Edge Banding. If you want to attach a solid wood edging to a panel, Bandy clamps will make the job easier for you. They are spring clamps that have large grippy clamp pads. This feature prevents slipping of the material against each other. On the other hand, the touch rubber band makes the wood clamp ore versatile. 
  • Application #5: Secure Jigs & Work Pieces. If you desire to achieve this application, you can use Pistol quick grip clamps. They are easy to attach, adjust, remove, and hold work securely.
  • Application #6: Hold Wood on its Edge. If you need support in holding a workpiece on its edge, a wood screw clamp attached to a workbench is your best option.
  • Application #7: DIY Jigs and Shop Fixture. For holding jigs or shop fixtures, toggle clamps will help you secure these small workpieces. They have different sizes and styles, depending on the nature of your project.
  • Application #8: Clamp Around Workpiece Parts. If you need to wrap around an assembly like a box with mitered corners, a box with mitered corners is the best choice. 

How to Glue Wood on Wood WITHOUT Clamps?

Gluing wood without clamps is almost the same as the first method. If you don’t have wood clamps, there are two ways to fix wood. The first method is to use a clamping board that you can purchase in the market. Second, you can make your wooden clamps. The latter approach is suitable if you’re clamping large workpieces. However, if you’re clamping small wooden objects, here are the steps to follow.

  • Small Workpieces.
    • Step 1: Decide on Using the Right Type of Glue. Choose what is suitable for your project. 
    • Step 2: Set Your Workpiece. Set the pieces of your project atop a worktable or flat surface. Moreover, clean your working area to avoid any small particles sticking to the wood Glue. Cover the worktable with something a little bit slippery, so that the pieces of wood don’t get stuck.
    • Step 3: Clean the Workpiece. Make sure that the wooden piece is free from any dirt, and you may also smoothen its surface.
    • Step 4: Apply the Wood Glue. Apply a small amount of wood Glue on the area that you want to join. Make sure to put just the right amount because you’ll have to spread it eventually. Too much wood Glue will overflow the material and more slippery.
    • Step 5: Join the Pieces of Wood. Since you don’t have a wood clamp, you have to rub the pieces of wood together. This method will take out all the air between the wooden parts. Do it until its texture becomes sticky. Then, align the edges of the workpiece. Set it in a slightly warm and dry place. 
    • Step 7: Let the Wood Glue Set. Let the wood glue cure for at least an hour or two since the workpiece is only small in size.
  • Large Small Workpieces. In fixing large pieces of wood, you have to follow the method of using wood Glue with Clamps. As mentioned, there are two ways to do it – use a clamping board or make your wooden clamp.
    • Clamping Board. It is a jig that almost looks like a big flat clamp. More often, these are suitable for both thin and thick panels.
    • Make Your Wooden Clamps. Creating your version of a wooden clamp is an excellent way to practice your woodworking skills. This type of brace may take a little time to make, but it is the least expensive.
      • Tools Needed in Making Your DIY Wooden Clamp. Two 9-inch MDF wood, two cross nuts, two bolts, jigsaw, square ruler, pencil, and tape measure.
      • How to Make Your Wooden Clamps? 
        1. Measure 1 inch on the wood. On the top side of the material, measure another 2 inches, and outline it from the other end of the lumber, mark 2 inches, and 5 inches.
        2.  Then, transfer the outlines to the face of the other piece of wood. 
        3. Start drilling a ⅜ inch full hole through each mark on both boards. These holes should line directly to each other. Insert ⅜ inch T-nuts in the gaps, and make sure that the bolts fit snugly on the wood. 
        4. Screw a threaded rod into the T-nuts, and clamp it until it’s tight. Repeat the same method to other holes. They will serve as a lock when you’re tightening and loosening the two faces of wood when clamping.

Best Glue for Wood to Wood

Today, Polyurethane Glue remains to be one of the most robust and most durable types of wood glue. It is suitable for various applications, which makes it a favorite for most woodworkers. Polyurethane Glue is very versatile for many materials like wood, plastic, stone, metal, ceramic, foam, glass, and concrete.

  • Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA). It is a rubbery synthetic polymer that offers a very flexible and permanent bond. This type is non-toxic and very safe to use, except when ingested or when it enters your eyes. If you’re planning to work on a wide range of projects, most especially wood-to-wood bonds, PVA is the best choice.
    • Varieties of Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA). White PVA is for indoor use, while the yellow PVA is for outdoor purposes. There is some water-resistant PVA wood Glue, check for “waterproof” on the label.
    • Drawbacks of Using Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA). This type tends to leave a residue on your wood, especially oak. Moreover, PVA has lower acceptance of wood stain and may leave patchy looks.
    • How to Use PVA? After applying PVA, wipe off any excess using a Q-tip or sponge before it dries. Press the pieces of wood tightly using clamps or pressure by hand for the best results. Always remember that PVA Glues are permanent, so you can’t reverse or remove it for repairs.
  • Polyurethane. It is a synthetic plastic resin that offers a long-lasting bond. Polyurethane is a primary ingredient for most wood Glues, so it can excel when joining wood grain end-to-end.
    • Drawbacks. Polyurethane is moisture-activated, so it relies on the moisture in the air to set and dry. It only bonds well in humid conditions. Also, it doesn’t ‘t dry out sensitive wood fibers.
    • How to Use Polyurethane? This type is more toxic than PVA, so you should always handle it with care. Work in a room with proper ventilation and wear safety gear.
  • Cyanoacrylate (CA). It is a quick-drying acrylic resin, which makes it a superglue. Cyanoacrylate (CA) bonds tightly and rigidly that is ideal for gluing blocks and short strips of wood.
    • Drawbacks. It is only ideal for creating a temporary bond wherein a couple of taps of a hammer or mallet can break it. CA has a short shelf life of approximately one year, which means that it is not suitable to use for long-term projects.
    • How to Use Cyanoacrylate (CA)? Unlike other types of wood Glue, CA doesn’t bond in the dry wood surface. It only works on slightly damp exteriors before application. When it comes to curing, it bonds almost instantly at room temperatures. Therefore, you should always handle it with care. As always, wear a mask and protective gloves when working with this type of wood Glue. 
  • Epoxy. It is the best wood Glue for stuffing gaps and cracks. Most professional woodworkers prefer to use it because of its durability and waterproofness once dried. This thick wood Glue has a putty-like consistency with a two-part formula, which includes a resin and a hardener. These materials interact the moment you apply it to your wood. You should use epoxy Glue on clean, dry, and sanded surfaces for the best result. 
    • Drawbacks. Epoxy is a non-toxic wood Glue, but people who have sensitive skin may suffer from rashes and burns when using it because of their irritants. Always wear gloves and a face mask when using epoxy.
    • How to Use Epoxy? Wipe the wood using an appropriate cleaner and make sure to remove any dust, residue, or any waxy build-up. Buff the surfaces carefully using paper towels and air-dry it fully. Then, make sure that the surface is smooth. If not, you have to sand it off. Finally, mix the two-part epoxy and apply evenly on the area that you want to assemble.
  • Hide Glue. It is the most natural method of repairing wooden items. Hide GLue came from boiled animal collagen and can create long-lasting joints. This type is ideal for repairing various antiques and working on stringed instruments. Best of all, it’s super safe to use.
    • Varieties. Hide Glue comes in liquid form and solid crystals. Most woodworkers prefer to use both types to get their qualities in one application.
    • Drawbacks. Since it has less resin and other strong adhesives for wood, Hide Glue is a little bit less durable. The liquid version requires more time to set. 
    • How to Use Hide Glue? When using the liquid form of this Glue, you only have to apply it on the area that you want to assemble. It utilizes urea crystal additives to maintain its consistency. Meanwhile, its solid crystals form requires melting in a hot water bath before application.

What Is the Strongest Glue for Wood Repair?

The most advanced technology has helped formulate different types of wood Glue to suffice the various demands of every woodworker. However, a study showed that Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA) is still the most hardened and most durable wood Glue in today’s generation when it comes to repairing wooden objects. It is flexible to use on different purpose that includes regular wood joints and even being stronger and bigger wood.

However, some woodworkers argue that Polyurethane is better than PVA. It’s because Polyurethane is waterproof, easy to sand in thin coatings, and can accept wood stain. On the other hand, some prefer using Hide Glue because they feel like it’s safe to use. Therefore, it’s all about your preference. You can read everything and anything about a specific type of Glue, and the best choice depends on you and your project.

Choosing the Right Type of Wood Glue

With a variety of options, it can be confusing choosing the right type of wood Glue if you are a beginner. It’s because you have to consider some factors to pick the right one. The essential thing to note is that most wood Glues are synthetic polymers or resins that are stronger than the wood itself, except for the Hide Glue because it comes from animal collagen.  

These types of wood Glues only differ in bond durability, flexibility, toxicity, and waterproofness. Regardless, here are the factors that you should consider in choosing the right type of wood Glue. 

  • Bond Strength. It is the strength and tension that the wood glue can handle. Bond Strength includes the flexure, compression, and capacity to hold any impact.
  • Clamp Time. It is the period of gluing two pieces of material needs in clamping. In other words, the amount of time required to set or cure Wood Glue.
  • Closed Assembly Time. It is the amount of time that allows the pieces to stick to their final position.
  • Chalk Temperature. It is the critical temperature in “chalking,” wherein it occurs when the glued joint loses strength failing to bond. It is because of the loss of water during evaporation that pulls the adhesive particles together for drying.
  • Freeze-thaw Stability. The wood glue can sustain after its freezing point. Low Freeze-thaw Stability will make it hard to get back to its original form.
  • Open Assembly Time. It is the amount of time required between the initial wood glue application and putting the substrates.
  • Speed of Set or Curing Time. It refers to the rate wherein the wood glue builds strength. Some factors influence this event like heat, humidity, and the types of substrates.
  • Storage Life. It refers to the period until when you can store the wood glue under specified temperature conditions.

How to Get the Strongest Bond From Your Wood Glue?

As first-timers, it can be confusing and challenging to get the most durable bond from your Wood Glue. It’s because you’re treating it like the regular Glue that you’ve used in grade school. This mindset is right when it comes to application. However, you need to understand that you’re using a material that reacts to the moisture content of the environment. So, with that said, how to get the most durable bond from your wood glue? Here’s how. 

  1. Pick the Right Type of Wood Glue for Your Project. Every type of Wood Glue has a unique set of characteristics. Some dry instantly, while others take some time. Some are waterproof, while others are not. The first thing that you need to consider is whether your wooden item will be for outdoor or indoor use. Then, ask yourself how quickly you want it to set or cure? Finally, check your material if there are gaps that you need to fill, or is it smooth? From there, it would be a lot easier to decide which is the right one for your project. 
  2. Waterproof Glue is Better. Whether your project is for outdoor or indoor, it’s better to use a waterproof Wood Glue. It’s because water is everywhere, and you don’t know when your workpiece will get spilled. It’s better to be safe than risking the quality of your material and the strength of the bond. 
  3. Use a Flux Brush. It is perfect for gluing because of its precision and ease of use. Plus, Flux brushes don’t get affected by the potent adhesive ingredients of Wood Glue. After application, make sure to soak it in water to maintain its brush so that you can use it again.
  4. Never Put Too Much Wood Glue. It can get exciting at first, but never put too much Wood Glue on the material. Otherwise, it will overflow on the parts that you don’t require Wood Glue. Apply just the right amount on the surface, and spread it evenly.
  5. Use if Masking Tapes. Before the application of Wood Glue, you can apply masking tapes on the parts that don’t need some gluing. This method will prevent the adhesive fro from getting to those areas while protecting the overall quality of the wood.
  6. Rub the Pieces of Wood Together. Before joining, regardless of the size, it’s better if you can rub your pieces of wood that you want to glue together. This method eliminates the air in the spaces and will spread the Wood Glue evenly.

When to Use Wood Glue?

You should use wood Glue when you’re assembling or joining pieces of wood. Therefore, the primary use of this material is for holding documents tightly. It acts as a holding agent before you attach large bolts or screws, to highly secure the pieces of wood together permanently. 

Moreover, you can also use Wood Glue whenever you see breaks in the wood, and you have to secure pieces of wood. In this case, you can use an Epoxy because of its putty-like structure. Plus, Wood Glue is also useful in creating more crafts and other decorations. On these occasions, more often, Hide Glue is your best option. 

If you’re referring to large workpieces like cabinets and pieces of furniture, PVA and Polyurethane Wood Glue is the most appropriate choice. However, wood Glue tears down faster than bolt or screw. It’s the reason why most woodworkers use a combination of wood Glue and other mechanical joiners to assemble their workpiece. 


Is Wood Glue Stronger Than Screws?

When it comes to woodworking, wood Glue is stronger than screws. As mentioned, most wood Glues are synthetic polymers or resins that are stronger than the wood itself. However, there are times that the wood is not sturdy enough; that’s why you have to use mechanical fasteners or joints.

Is Wood Glue Stronger Than Epoxy?

More often, epoxy can effectively fill gaps and imperfections of the wood. However, it is more prone to brittleness and snapping off the surface of the lumber. When it comes to joining pieces of wood, wood Glue is still your best option.

Does Epoxy Glue Work on Wood?

Some Epoxy resins have excellent attributes that can allow the user to combine pieces of wood aside from filling the gaps and imperfections. Moreover, they are easy to sand and leave a pretty glue line. Therefore, epoxy glue is also ideal for gluing and repairing wood and other materials.

Final Words

Gluing wood to wood follows the same procedure, whether you own a wood clamp or not. It only varies on the type of wood glue that you’re going to use. So, you have to pick the right kind of wood Glue that would match your project. Wood Glue is synthetic polymers or resins in nature, which makes them stronger than wood. It’s just a matter of choosing whether it’s for indoor or outdoor purposes.

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