Successfully gluing wood can be accomplished by applying a few simple tips, such as using the correct type of wood glue, employing proper clamping techniques, and allowing adequate drying time. One of the most important tips for gluing wood is to make sure that the glue is applied to smooth and even bonding surfaces. Other factors impacting wood gluing include cleanliness, temperature, and humidity.
Selecting the proper glue is key to successfully gluing wood. Several manufacturers produce wood glue, and carefully following the instructions on the product's label will help to guarantee quality bonds. Heat, cold, and humidity can impact glue drying time. Some wood glues cannot be applied in very cold or very hot temperatures, while other glues are made specifically for extreme temperature applications. High humidity can also lengthen a glue's setting time.
The best tip for gluing wood is to make sure that the surfaces being glued are smooth, even, and clean. A dirty, rough surface will prevent the glue from properly adhering to one or both surfaces. Areas to be glued should be sanded smooth to create a good surface bond. The sawdust from sanding and any other dirt or debris should be removed with a dust rag or tack cloth. When gluing painted wood, it is often best to sand the paint off of the surface to be glued because the glue will typically better adhere to bare wood than painted wood.
It is important to apply a thin layer of glue to both surfaces of the wood that will be joined together. A brush, roller, or applicator can be used to apply the glue. Too much glue will lead to drips, runs, and a longer drying time. Too little glue may result in a fragile or failed bond. After the glue is applied, the pieces of wood should be held or clamped in place until the glue sets or dries.
The characteristics of the glue being used should be considered when gluing wood. Some wood glues swell as they dry in order to fill gaps in the wood, while other glues shrink and retract as they dry. For projects with exact tolerances, a glue that swells and adds depth to the joint may not be the best choice. Depending if the glued joint will show, the color of the glue also may be a factor. Wood glues dry to different colors, such as yellow, and some dry to a clear finish.