5 Types Of Wood Glue – Woodworking Guides

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You will find that wood glue is the one thing that joins all of your woodworking projects together. Literally! It is such a vital part of any woodworking project that you need to know about the different types of wood glue and how to use them. Your choice of glue will depend on the different types of wood that you use.

There are five common types of glue that we use on woodworking projects. While there are many different variations of glue that work on wood, we’ll discuss the kinds we most often use.  PVA, commonly known as white glue, Elmer’s school glue, or simply “Carpenter’s” or Wood Glue” is the most common but we’ll cover other options.

After reading this article, you should be very clear on how to choose the right type of glue for your woodworking project. Once you select the adhesive you are going to use, you need to know how to use it. We will touch upon these aspects in this article.

Different Types Of Wood Glue

putting wood glue on board

As we mentioned above, we get many types of wood glue. However, to simplify the discussion, we deal with the most widely used types of glue in this article. Hence, let’s get into the heart of the matter!

PVA Glue (Polyvinyl Acetate)

glue on wood

The first glue to start with for woodworking projects is Polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue. You get many advantages from using PVA glue. The first benefit is that it is readily available. Secondly, it is colorless. However, you can also get this glue in different colors like yellow, white, and blue, and so on, to match the color of your workpieces. Another great advantage is that PVA glue is waterproof. However, you need to be aware of the variations in the type of PVA glue that you get. So, be careful while ordering your glue to ensure you choose the best op\tion for your project.

Click here to read more about PVA glue. 

Using PVA glue is the easiest thing to do. However, you need to take care to remove the excess glue from around the joints. If you leave excess glue, it will not affect the functionality but will spoil the final look. Keeping a cloth at hand to wipe off the excess glue is a good idea, and you can cover the surrounding area with masking tape as well. You can also trim the excess glue off with a sharp knife after the glue sets.

Liquid Hide Glue

Hide glue is a type of animal glue that gets its name from the hides of animals from which it is extracted. We get two kinds of hide glue, hot hide glue, and liquid glue. Hot hide glue comes in the form of liquid granules, which we have to heat to melt and make the glue active. You apply hot hide glue with a brush, and it solidifies on cooling down.

In the case of liquid hide glue, it comes in a bottle. You can use it directly without any preparation. The advantage of using liquid hide glue is that if you leave any excess around the area of the joint, it will not spoil the finish. A common practice is to mix a small quantity of sawdust from the wood that you are joining together. It takes on the same color as the wood as it dries.

One last thing you need to take care of with hide glue is the time it takes to dry, which we call the “curing” time. It would help if you verified the correct curing time of the particular hide glue that you are using. The curing time varies from one brand to another and can be as few as five minutes. However, the best practice is to allow the maximum time for the adhesive to set if possible – say, about 24 hours.

Waterproof Polyurethane Glue

Polyurethane Glue

The unique property of Polyurethane glue is that it gets activated by moisture, when activated, swells as it dries. This glue dries fast and is quite hard and waterproof, once dry. However, you may face some issues in trying to get a smooth finish from polyurethane glue.

Despite the difficulty of getting a smooth finish with this glue, it provides a high level of durability, and you can use it outdoors or indoors as required. The best practice for using this type of glue is to apply a wet piece of cloth to the surfaces that you are going to join. Once you apply the glue to the two surfaces, clamp the pieces together and allow them to dry for about 24 hours. If you need to remove any excess adhesive, later on, you can do it by applying mineral spirits.

Epoxy Glue

Epoxy Glue (credit Mike Mozart).

Here again, we bring you another waterproof glue. We get epoxy glue in two parts – the hardener and the resin. The glue only becomes active when you mix the two components in the recommended proportions. Because of its immense strength on hardening, you can use this glue even on joints that are not perfectly matched. However, you need to be aware of the time taken for the epoxy glue to harden. You should ensure to complete the job within the prescribed time.

Cyanoacrylate Glue

Super Glue is a type of cyanoacrylate glue

We use Cyanoacrylate, or CA glue to join hard pieces together. This glue is popularly used in woodworking. The advantage of CA glue is that it comes with an accelerant which you can apply to speed up the setting process. Joints made of CA glue are tough and brittle so that you can break the joint on impact. Due to this property, we can make a temporary joint, while positioning different parts, as in joining curved pieces of wood when you need to separate them afterward. You can do this by tapping the joint with a mallet.


We hope that you now have a clearer picture of the different types of wood glue that are available. You don’t merely go to a shop and ask for wood glue. Whether you shop for glue online or go to a bricks-and-mortar shop, you need to know your requirements. Buy your glue according to the type of project you have at hand and the type of wood that you expect to use. Once you start using the glue, you need to know how best to use it. We have covered all of that in this article. You should be well on the way to getting the best out of this somewhat sticky situation in woodworking!

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