glue wood

Step By Step Guide To Glue Wood Together

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

If you’re a woodworker, you already know that the most crucial aspect of finishing the project is gluing the wooden parts together. It’s a woodworker’s nightmare to saw the parts, flush them, and work on details for days, and then to see the parts falling apart as the two pieces of wood were bonded together improperly.

Whether it’s sticking a leg to the broken chair, constructing a garden bench, building a birdhouse, or a DIY wooden toy for your kid - it doesn’t matter which type of woodwork you are going to do. All of them require making end-to-end joints that wouldn’t fail. However, what matters is the type of glue that you choose and how you apply it.

Type of a glue

Gluing wooden parts together might seem to be the most challenging part of woodworking for beginners. Choice of the right glue can make this part of woodworking less stressful and prolong your wooden shelf life! Remember to check the instructions in each case. They would provide you with security tips and answers to questions like how long it takes for wood glue to dry.

1. PVA Glue

PVA, also called ‘white glue,’ is a strong synthetic polymer. It’s incredibly long-lasting and guarantees you a strong bond. It’s used to stick together surfaces like panels, hybrid flooring, or pottery. It wouldn’t get swelled while used to glue together panels, but it’s not waterproof. Hence, it’s perfect for most of the household maintenance work like repairing a wooden chair. However, it’s not the best option if you’re contracting garden furniture or any other kind of outdoor project.

2. Superglue

Everybody knows and admires superglue for its universality while fixing small elements such as the broken hand of your porcelain angel figurine or any other small item. But don’t forget about superglue in woodworking! It’s perfect if you need to attach a tiny element to your project. It’s not so messy, and you need only a few drops for a long-lasting stick.

3. Epoxy

Epoxy is perfect for repairing small broken wooden elements. If you find an annoying hole in your fence, use epoxy to fill this gap, as it adjusts itself to the free, unnecessary spaces. What’s more, it’s waterproof!

4. Yellow Exterior Glue

Also known as carpenter’s glue, it should be your choice for outdoor use. It’s a type of PVA glue, so it guarantees you long-lasting durability and water-resistance. If your dog needs a new kennel or your shed needs repair, choose this one. One of the most popular types of carpenter’s glue is Titebond II.

5. Polyurethane Glue

Perfect for outdoor projects as it’s fully waterproof. Polyurethane glue, also known as PU, can be used to stick nearly anything that demands durability, even the boat parts. It sticks together metal or plastic parts, and wooden as well, and it can be more durable than the yellow glue. What’s more, some kinds of PU get dry quickly, even up to 20 minutes.

6. Liquid Hide Glue

It’s the most natural type of glue that doesn’t affect the environment to such an extent. It’s flexible, easy to use, and strong. However, usually, it’s used only as an alternative as it’s difficult to find it available in hardware stores.

Application Tips

Once you’ve picked the wood glue you need, you can start sticking the wooden parts together. There are some tips to make your workshop less messy, and the whole process simpler and more manageable.

1. Use Enough Glue

Although it might seem obvious, it’s one of the most common mistakes in wooden constructions! You need to distribute the right amount of glue evenly. If there’s too much glue, it would be squeezing out. When there is not enough of it, you’ll see ‘starved joints’ once the pieces are clamped together. For the best, experiment with the amount of glue on the parts that you won’t use. And for the even distribution, the pro tip is to rub the joints together!

2. Apply the Tape

It frequently happens that while working in the workshop, the squeezing-out glue is everywhere. When you want to wash it out with water, it can weaken the bond. The solution is to apply the masking tape along the edges of desks. Then the unnecessary glue would fall on it instead of on the joints.

3. Don’t Rush

You have to be prepared that it takes time to finish the wooden project, so be patient and add one board at a time. After clamping together two pieces, wait up to 30 minutes, and apply another board. Then, other processes such as sanding and flattering would go more smoothly.


Gluing the wood together might be easier than it seems if you have the right tools and technic! Beginnings can be challenging, but once you get practice, each woodworking challenge will be less and less stressful, and the projects more impressive.

Start with simple projects, and understand how the wood behaves in different conditions. The choice of the right glue and proper application will help you in making progress in your workshop.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.