How to Apply Wood Glue

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Once you've picked the correct type of wood glue for your specific project, it's time to apply the glue. Check your glue label for the curing and setting time. Setting time is how long it takes to initially harden. Curing time is how long it takes to reach maximum strength, after which you can actually use the object.

  • Clean the surfaces to be glued. All old paint and varnish, as well as dirt, must be removed for the strongest bond.

  • Look for the grain direction of the wood objects to be glued. A long grain to long grain joint will be the strongest. If one of your surfaces is a short grain, you may need to use a nail or screw to assist with connecting the pieces, although adding a dado is better. A dado is a short cut in the longer piece that the shorter piece fits into.

  • Apply glue in an even, zigzag pattern with a bottle. Thicker adhesives may be applied using a brush or putty knife. Spread glue evenly to achieve a balanced bond.

  • Give the glue a couple minutes to be absorbed before connecting the two pieces, and then add a few more drops if you see it is absorbing into the wood too much.

  • Clamp the two objects being glued together. The clamps must remain on until the setting time has been reached. For bulky, hard-to-clamp items, use a faster setting glue, such as contact cement or super glue.

  • Remove excess glue. It can be wiped with a rag before it sets or scraped off after the project is cured.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember that different types of wood require more or less glue, depending on their hardness. Pine will need more glue, for example, than oak.
  • Always use the correct type of glue for your specific projects, such as epoxy, acrylic, or contact cement.

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