In woodworking, glue is very useful. Sometimes you don’t want to use nails or screws and in some cases you may want to add glue for additional strength. In veneering, you don’t have any choice, you have to use wood glue. Here is a short wood glue overview.
Glue has been used for a very long time. Wood glue was used already in the ancient Egypt, some of the glue is still holding pieces together! The early wood glues were animal glues. In Greece and Rome animal glue was used for veneering. The most common type of animal glue is hide glue. Later on hide glue was used for violins. Animal glues are still used today.
But nowadays you have better glues than animal glue. The most popular glues for woodworking are yellow glue and white glue. Sometimes the term PVA glue is used, PVA stands for polyvinyl acetate. Strictly speaking, only white glue is PVA glue. Yellow glue is an aliphatic resin emulsion adhesive. But some rumors say that many manufacturers dye white PVA glue yellow because it is easier to sell yellow glue than white glue. It is best to read the labels carefully rather than relying on the color of the glue.
Yellow glue is also known as carpenter’s wood glue. This is due to the fact that it is very often used in woodworking. One advantage of yellow glue is that it gives you about ten minutes to adjust the wood without losing any strength. But it is worth noting that some woodworkers disagree, telling you that if you adjust the pieces, the bond will become much weaker. You need to clamp the pieces together, it takes time before the glue has dried. Excessive glue is easy to remove. If it is still wet, you can wipe of excessive glue with a damp rag. Once it is dry, you can sand it off.
Yellow glue has a few disadvantages. You need to check the expiration date, it has a short shelf life. Note that far from all versions of yellow glue are waterproof. Read the labels carefully before you pay for the glue.
White glue is similar to yellow glue. But if we stick to the definition that white glue is PVA glue while yellow glue is aliphatic resin emulsion adhesive the main difference is that white glue dries slower. This means that you can adjust the pieces for longer time than if you had used yellow glue.
Hide glue is still used today but it has some major drawbacks compared with modern synthetic glues. It is not very strong, not waterproof and it is messy to use. But it is often used for antique furniture and veneering. The advantage is that it is easy to remove, just use water.
Super glue, which really is cyanoacrylate glue, is very popular for repairing objects. It is not a wood glue but it can be used for wood. It works very quickly and is relatively strong. Epoxy glue is very good for outdoor environments. It is often used when the glue is required to withstand tough weather conditions. Gorilla glue is another popular glue, it is a polyurethane glue. Some woodworkers love it but others don’t like it all because it expands as it dries.