Does Wood Glue Work on Metal?

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Sometimes we use wood glue to bond other materials. In some cases, it works but in others, it doesn’t. Wood glue is a versatile product that we use on various materials like cardboard, paper, leather, and plastic. An often-asked question is whether we can use wood glue on metal.

Does wood glue work on metal? Yes, you can use wood glue on metal but you might be restricted to the type of wood glue you use. It can come in handy when you are working on a project that uses both wood and metal. It prevents you from maintaining two sets of glue.

Types of Wood Glue That Work on Metal

Man Bonding of skirtings

When it comes to wood glues that work on metal, you will come across three types. All three types are aliphatic reins that vary in moisture resistance and bond strength.

Out of the three types of wood glues, types I and II are restricted to indoor use, you can use type III for outdoor applications. Here are some of the major types of wood glue that work on metal:

Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA) Glue

We also call Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA) “white glue” and it is similar to craft glue. However, it has some additives that make it suitable for use on wood. PVA is a synthetic resin and is widely used as wood glue.

Unlike craft glue, PVA wood glue is considerably stronger and dries faster.  It is also water resistant. It is milky white and dries colorless or translucent white. You can use PVA glue for bonding metal to metal or wood to metal.

Polyurethane Glue

This type of glue has become popular in recent years because you can bond almost anything with it. Primarily meant for use on wood, polyurethane glue is waterproof so is useful for outdoor applications and relatively expensive.

The downside of polyurethane glue is that it expands on curing. You may find it difficult to trim the excess glue as it becomes rock-hard after curing.

Urea-Formaldehyde Glue

Woodworkers have used urea-formaldehyde glue for decades. It exhibits excellent adherence to all types of materials including metal. But as the name indicates, it contains formaldehyde and releases it while curing. So, you would do well to keep a room well ventilated if you have joints with urea-formaldehyde glue curing in them.

Resorcinol Glue

Resorcinol glue is a highly-durable glue that you can use to bond almost anything and anywhere. It even works underwater and highly resistant to mildew, mold, and volatile solvents. You can safely use it on metal without any concerns regarding toxic chemicals like formaldehyde.

Epoxy Glue

Hand holding two tubes with epoxy glue

Epoxy glue is another versatile adhesive you can use for all applications. You can add color, thin it, or thicken it as required. It doesn’t contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) so you won’t have any shrinkage issues.

However, a downside of using epoxy glue is that it isn’t resistant to UV radiation, which makes it unsuitable for outdoor use unless you apply a top coat. But if you use this glue in combination with a suitable varnish or sealer, you can get satisfactory results. You can use epoxy glue on metal for satisfactory results.

Cyanoacrylate Wood Glue

Cyanoacrylate (CA) wood glue comes in different viscosities, thick, thin, and everything in-between. It is an ideal adhesive for quick repairs and definitely for regular woodworking works like sticking joints and sections together. It dries clear or translucent and you can bond everything from MDF to metal pieces with it.

Step-by-step Guide for Gluing Wood and Metal

You need to follow certain steps to glue wood and metal together. Starting with a few safety precautions, here is the step-by-step procedure you can follow:

Safety First

Safety first concept

Whenever you use glue you should follow the instructions in the user manual and also observe adequate safety measures. You should wear safety goggles and nitrile gloves.

Your workspace should be clear of obstructions and have adequate ventilation. Use glue only for bonding non-load-bearing items. If you need to bond heavier structures, you must provide additional support through bracing, struts, nails, and screws.


The first step in preparing metal for applying glue to it is to clean it from traces of dirt, oil, grease, and corrosion. If the metal is corroded, you need to brush it with a wire brush and sandpaper until the surface is smooth.

First use a dry cloth to wipe off the dry, loose debris and metal oxide if you cleaned the corrosion. Then, use a damp cloth or volatile solvent to eliminate dirt, oil, and grease.

Before applying the glue, give the surface of the metal a quick brush or wipe with a brush or damp cloth. You might have to roughen smooth surfaces a bit as it helps the glue to adhere better.

Glue Application

Male carpenter hands using wood glue

With the opposing surfaces now prepped, you can proceed to apply the glue. Take heed of the instructions on the label and use the prouct as the manufacturer recommends.

You can either apply the glue by spreading it in a thin layer or glob it on in a thick bead of glue if you are applying the glue to a wide gap. Always apply glue in a single, continuous sweep to spread it over the surface evenly.

Setting and Curing

Some glues like CA dry in 10 to 30 seconds. Other glues take longer – it could be hours or even days. With quick-setting glue, you need to move fast and have everything in place to facilitate the setting. Keep your clamps, nails, and screws at the ready before application.

You may use gravity or take the help of clamps and clips to keep the two members that you are gluing in position. If you are using epoxy glue, it can take up to 24 hours to set. Don’t give into the temptation to check whether the glue is bonding – you need to be patient and wait it out!

Wood Glue FAQs

In an attempt to share a bit of extra information with you, here are a few of the common questions that people ask about wood glue:

Can you use a glue gun to apply wood glue?

New blue glue gun on white background

Yes, you can use a glue gun to apply wood glue, except perhaps to silicone rubber. But keep in mind that glue applied by a glue gun may have only cosmetic value or could help in sealing cracks and crevices. You cannot get a load-bearing joint.

Is wood glue or screws better for a joint?

Using wood glue in combination with screws and nails works well. But with the excellent quality of glues, you get today, you can get a good joint from glue alone. However, you will have to admit that eventually, screws do come into the picture when you clamp glued joints.

What is the best way of diluting glue?

Diluting wood glue is somewhat dicey because it depends on the ingredients used. You can use water to dilute milky-white glue. Use organic solvents like acetone, toluene, or mineral spirits to dilute other glues. You need to be careful while mixing them because these solvents can be toxic and explosive.

Why should you bond metal and wood with glue?

Sometimes you can’t use fasteners like nails and screws to bond metal and wood for various reasons. It could be that you don’t want to damage the surface of the wood or metal. Also, you don’t need any tools to bond wood and metal using glue, making it a quick and easy procedure.

Glue sets cartoon style


Does wood glue work on metal? Well, the simple answer as we have seen in this post is “yes.” But that said, you will find that all glues are not made the same. As a woodworker who uses wood glue regularly, you need to be aware of the different types of glues and how to use them.

To make things easier, we have highlighted some of the major types of wood glue that you can use on metals. You will probably see that some types of glue work better on metal than others.

It also depends on the type of metal, the surface finish, etc. In any case, with some experimentation, you can find the type of wood glue that works best on metal in your projects. Once you have settled this matter, you can use wood and metal in your woodworking projects confidently and without hassles.