What is Resorcinol Glue?

Donn Saylor

Resorcinol glue is an industrial strength adhesive commonly utilized for lumber and construction projects. It stays secure in both wet and dry conditions and can withstand extremely hot or cold temperatures. Marine resorcinol glue is a popular choice for boat assembly and repair, as it is unaffected by salt water, fresh water, and other typically corrosive aquatic conditions.

Marine resocrinol glue can be used for boat assembly or repair.
Marine resocrinol glue can be used for boat assembly or repair.

The glue is made from resorcinol, sometimes called resorcin, which is produced when a large amount of resin is softened and combined with potassium hydroxide. This substance has many uses within the fields of medicine, pharmaceuticals, and supramolecular chemistry. Resorcinol in glue form is regarded as highly sturdy and dependable.

People who handle resorcinol glue should wear face masks.
People who handle resorcinol glue should wear face masks.

When using resorcinol glue, extra care should be taken to ensure the workspace is properly ventilated. Those handling the glue may find face masks necessary due to the pungent odor. This type of glue often requires mixing before application, and it is important to blend the powder thoroughly and not rush through the project — though the toxic smell may certainly inspire some to work more quickly than usual.

While resorcinol glue can be costly, it is still the preferred method of gluing certain types of wood. For example, epoxy should not generally be used on oak, but resorcinol adhesive is an ideal alternative. The tannins inside oak respond well to this type of glue, and clean-up is usually easy and stress-free, as long as the adhesive's directions are followed closely.

Resorcinol glue cures the best in warmer temperatures. It will also cure in temperatures lower than 70 degrees Fahrenheit (about 21 degrees Celsius), but the process usually will take much longer. Many users keep their workspace heated while working with resorcinol adhesive, and some report excellent results from surrounding the work area with an electric blanket.

Most commercial brands of resorcinol glue adhesive have a stated shelf life of one year. However, as long as the glue is stored in appropriate temperatures and in the correct canisters, it has been known to last much longer than a year. Keeping moisture out of the glue is key to its longevity, and since the adhesive can be costly, proper storage is important to getting the most out of the product.

Boating enthusiasts find great benefit in using waterproof resorcinol glue. Whether used in the building of a new boat or the repair of an old one, this type of adhesive is considered to be the best glue on the market. It is so popular and well-respected that it is the glue used by the United States Navy on their ships.

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