The Best Wood GlueJuly 29 2020
Finding the best wood glue for your joinery can be tough. There are lots of different options out there and each brand has its own version of each type of glue.
This post won’t go into all of the different types of glues, but I will focus on two of the most popular types of glue on the market. PVA Wood Glue vs Polyurethane glue.
Both products have their strengths and weaknesses, and knowing how and when to use them will help you decide which glue is best suited to your application. When you line up PVA vs polyurethane glue, you find two very versatile and powerful glues that should get you through just about any project you could need.
PVA Wood Glue
PVA Wood glue, sometimes known as white glue, has been around for a long time. It is a workhorse for a wide variety of applications within a joinery. It is very easy to use and bonds very well to wood. You will normally find that the wood around the glue usually fails before the glue joint does when stressed. PVA wood glue is simple to apply, requiring very little skill to apply with success. For gluing large areas such as veneering or laminating we have a 180mm hand roller.
Advantages of Wood Glue
- Easy to Apply
- Longer working time of about 30 mins
- Very strong edge grain to edge grain connections on wood
- Certain varieties are waterproof and can be used outdoors
- Easy to clean up over spills and application equipment
Disadvantages of Wood Glue
- Weak end grain connections in wood
- Can only be used on wood and wood products
- Certain varieties cannot be used outdoors or in wet conditions
PVA Wood Glue is for exactly what it says. If you are laminating wood pieces together for projects like newel posts, hand rails, or simply trying to make a larger piece of wood, then PVA wood glue is the way to go. For bonding wood along its sides or faces, PVA provides the strongest bond on the market and is easy to apply. Simply apply to the joint or board, then clamp the pieces together for at least 2 hrs. Do not stress the joints for at least 24 hrs.
Our most popular PVA wood glue is W2093 , it is a great all-rounder the typical applications we sell this product is for stair construction, veneering, laminating pvc laminates, general joinery and furniture assembly.
Polyurethane glue, often referred to as PU glue. Polyurethane is one of the most versatile glues around. Unlike wood glue, polyurethane glue can be used effectively on a variety of substrates like wood, stone, metal, ceramic, polystyrene, concrete, and lots more. There are very few materials you can’t glue back together with polyurethane glue.
Advantages of Polyurethane Glue
- Extremely versatile
- Expands to fill joints
- Very strong end grain connections on wood
Disadvantages of Polyurethane Glue
- Shorter working time especially in warm weather
- Clean up is messy when product is wet
- Container can go hard if not sealed properly
One of the tricks of polyurethane glue is how it cures. It requires moisture to cure rather than air drying like PVA. Unlike PVA glue, polyurethane glue excels at connecting end grain joints, so keep that mind as well.
Comparing wood glue vs polyurethane glue, you have a working time about half that of wood glue with polyurethane. For little projects this might be helpful, but for larger glue-ups, this usually causes problems.
Which Glue is Best?
The answer is both. They are different glues with different strengths and weaknesses like I said earlier, and for every carpenter or joiner you need both. Just like your tools, your hammer isn’t better than your saw, they just do different things. And while they may both be glues, they are worlds apart in how I use them.
For the random things that break around the house or workshop and any end grain or external projects, polyurethane is my go to glue. When laminating lumber, or any other woodworking other than end grain connections, PVA is the right choice. Depending on the end use of the piece I am bonding. I recommend you have them both in your workshop.
Blog Post from our Woodworking Expert Eoghan.