Six of the best Adhesives

Thursday 10 October 2013

Bonding wood and other materials is an essential part of woodworking and DIY. Every adhesive has its advantages and disadvantages, so we have added a bit of usage guidance, too. If in doubt, buy a small bottle or tube to try it out before you invest in larger cost-saving amounts.

1. Cascamite Powdered Resin Wood Glue

This is a glue with an almost legendary history and still available today. A powdered urea-formaldehyde adhesive, it needs skill in mixing and usage and latex gloves should be worn. However, it has special qualities all of its own. Once mixed with water - in a non-metallic container - to a creamy consistency, you have limited working time before it sets. It is a gap filler and it goes hard with a light glue line. It is water-resistant and will set joints where other glues can fail. It is load bearing and very reliable. It can be used for veneer work using a press or vacuum bag.

Sizes: 125g up to 25kg


2. EverBuild 502 All Purpose Wood Adhesive

A resin-based polymer emulsion glue - PVA or polyvinyl acetate to you or me - this all-purpose wood glue has a good resistance to moisture, gives good bonding and resists 'creep', so joints stay together. It dries clear and doesn't stain wood and is water-based for safe use and clean-up afterwards. It is capable of load bearing and can even be set using radio frequency equipment! We go for a 1 litre size in the workshop and a small container for the site kit.

Sizes: 75ml up to 25 litre


3. Elmer's Krazy Glue

Elmer's is a big brand in the USA but still a relative newcomer in the UK. Among their comprehensive range of glues is Krazy Glue. It is a cyanoacrylate (CA) - in other words, a superglue. Cyanoacrylates have a vital place in the workshop, commonly used for making instant repairs when trouble strikes and often used by woodturners to repair splits that occur during turning. I have used a similar glue to repair a 'short grain' break on a Queen Anne replica chair - one of a set of 16 - minutes before shipment! With ceramics, wet the broken surfaces first to activate the glue.

Sizes: 3g pen and a 2g tube


4. Gorilla Glue

A polyurethane (PU) glue, this has unusual bonding properties. It foams gently once squeezed out - this is best left until hard and cleaned off with a sharp chisel. Joints need to be held together firmly until set. It can fill quite large gaps and work in awkward situations such as bonding skirting to uneven plaster work. PU glues work better when one contact surface is damp, as water activates it. In theory, it is one you could use underwater! This makes it perfect for exterior work and bonding to awkward surfaces. Wear gloves when using it as it is very sticky.

Sizes: 60ml to 1 litre


5. Evo-stik Impact Adhesive

Everyone knows about Evo-stik; it has become a generic term for thixotropic gel contact adhesives. Used correctly, i.e., by applying on the two mating surfaces and allowing to dry until tacky, it will bond most materials, e.g. wood, ceramics, rubber, paper, metals, laminates, card, cork, stone, leather, fabric, etc. This facility makes it indispensable for certain tasks in the woodwork shop.

Sizes: 30g up to 500ml and 500ml spray can


6. Titebond III

Described as the ultimate wood glue, Titebond III is a modified PVA commonly described as aliphatic resin adhesive. These glues have a characteristic buff-yellow colour and are water-resistant, especially this version. It stays usable in cold temperatures and has a good 'open time'. These glues have 'fast grab', which means once the components come together the glue holds them together well while wet. Good for interior and exterior use and easy to clean up surplus glue with water. If it sets on polished surfaces it can be lifted off quite easily.

Sizes: 237ml up to 19 litres