Overview of Different Types of Wood Adhesives

Wood is a widely used construction material. It is used for both the interiors and exteriors of a house. As the popularity of woodworking grew, so did the use of adhesives to join the wood by creating a solid bond. Another option is to use nails and screws to join the wood assembly, but it is not very practical because sometimes nails and screws cause cracks in the wood. Henceforth, adhesives are the best and most reliable to bond wood together. Learning about types of wood adhesives aids in choosing the best one for the woodwork because there is no universal adhesive. Stay with us to get a quick overview of the various types of wood adhesives. As per “Brief Survey of Wood Adhesives”, research by Carl A. Eckelman, Adhesive is a matter applied on different surfaces to bind and join them firmly. Adhesives have many applications, including but not limited to metals, tiles, wood, marble and many other surfaces. Adhesives used for woodwork are counted as wood adhesives or wood glue. We discussed common woodworking adhesives in the following article.

Different Types of Wood Glue

Adhesives are classified based on composition here. Following is a list of the most commonly used wood adhesives.

  1. Formaldehyde Adhesives
  2. Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA)
  3. Epoxy Adhesives
  4. Cyanoacrylate (CA) 
  5. Hide Glue

01. Formaldehyde Adhesives

These synthetic wood adhesives have formaldehyde as the base and are reacted with phenol, resorcinol, urea, melamine or mixtures. The properties of formaldehyde adhesives depend on the co-reactant used.

Phenol formaldehyde adhesive has good adhesion to wood and is primarily used in making plywood.

Resorcinol formaldehyde adhesive is strong and durable and cures at room temperature. It is widely used in exteriors and is expensive. It has a dark purple colour.

Urea formaldehyde adhesive is widely used because of its low cost. It is non-flammable, colourless and has a rapid curing time. However, it is not water-resistant.

Melamine formaldehyde adhesive has an average price and performs better than urea but less than phenol. It is water-resistant and is primarily used in plywood, particle board and finger joints.

Phenol formaldehyde resins

02. Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA)

PVA is the most commonly used adhesive for woodwork and is widely known as ‘wood glue’ or ‘carpenter’s glue.’ PVA is a synthetic adhesive and is ready to use. It has a rubbery polymer, which forms a hard bond on drying. PVA glue is non-toxic, non-flammable, and safe to use with bare hands. Joinery, assembling and fixing furniture pieces, cabinet making and repairing wooden objects are all standard applications.

PVA adhesive

03. Epoxy Wood Adhesives

Epoxy adhesive is also a synthetic adhesive used to bond wood. It is not ready to use and comes in two parts, both of which are liquids that must be combined and applied. Different epoxy adhesives are available for high temperatures and room temperatures. The pot life can range from a few minutes to an hour or more. Epoxy is expensive. The best use of Epoxy is in crack and gap filling in wood.

Epoxy Wood Adhesive

04. Cyanoacrylate (CA)

Cyanoacrylate, also known as ‘Super Glue’ is a synthetic adhesive with quick-drying properties. It is ready for use with a single component. It has a strong bond, high thermal resistance and a glossy finish. This glue is available in different viscosities, from water-thin liquids to thixotropic gels. Mostly used to bond wood such as – maple, balsa, plywood and rosewood, they are the best for filling voids and cracks.

Cyanoacrylate wood glue

05. Hide Glue

Hide glue is a natural wood adhesive made from collagen from animal hides (skins) and forms an extremely strong bond. It comes in liquid or granules, as flakes or sheets to be dissolved in water. It must be heated before being applied to the wooden pieces to be glued. Additionally, the wooden pieces should also be warm because cold ones might cool down the glue. The moisture resistance of hide glue is the lowest. It is easy to repair hide glue joints, just heat the joint and add more hide glue.

Natural adhesive hide glue

Endnote: Based on the type of woodwork and other factors like cost, the temperature of the woodwork and the bond strength required, choose the best from the different types of wood adhesives. Choosing the suitable wood adhesive will add perfection to the woodwork and not burn a hole in the pocket. Since we mentioned the word ‘woodwork’ a lot, if you are curious to know about different types of wood used for woodwork, then check out the below article:

15 Popular Types of Wood used in the Construction Industry!

Image Courtesy: Image 2, Image 3, Image 6

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