This should be a pretty simple blog post.
Now, I don't intentionally endorse any particular company or brand but If I use something, I also won't be shy to tell you exactly what I use or where to buy it.
I'd say that well over 80% of the glue I use in my shop is Titebond 3 Wood Glue
There are other wood glues out there but, by far the most popular (as in, find it in every shop popular) is the Titebond brand. You can buy it anywhere, it cleans up with cold water and the price is fair too.
Hey, if it ain't broke, dont fix it...
Starting out I used to use Titebond 1 for everything.
At a typical hardware store, It's normally the cheapest of the brand.
It glues everything perfectly well but it doesn't give you much time to position and clamp your work and it isn't water resistant.
I worked with Titebond 2 for a while:
It is water resistant so you can use it for other projects but you still have a similar set up time to Titebond 1. That's fine for simple or smaller projects but on larger or more complex builds it can take some preparation because you don't have much time.
Titebond 3 however, is the best of all worlds. It gives you more time to set your project in it's clamps, and it is water resistant as well.
All 3 have their uses but when you are short of storage space and thinking time during a build. I'd argue that you just want to reach for a pot of glue that you know will do whatever you ask of it.
Titebond 3 does that 90% of the time.
What if you need even more open time (time to clamp your complex workpiece)?
That's where Titebond Extend comes in:
It's more expensive but you have (comparatively speaking) lots more time to position your work and clamp it.
It can give you 15 minutes of open assembly time. That's a lot, but it isn't water resistant so you have to factor that in.
None of these are of any use for filling gaps...
If you need to fill a gap or tighten up a loose joint for example, you really should use an epoxy.
The thing to remember here is that the faster the epoxy sets, the weaker it will be.
That won't always matter, especially if you're just filling a hole but it's worth bearing in mind.
Epoxy is expensive so you should consider buying in bulk if you can afford it.
Most of the time a 5-minute epoxy will do the trick. I use it all the time.
After 10 minutes it will be solid as a rock so it's very handy.
You can also add pigment if you want it to match.
In this episode of 'got wood?' I use it to secure a foam pad to a magician's close up pad (at the end of the video). Something I've done many many times and it works just great.
As I already stated, If you need to secure a loose fitting joint, epoxy will save the day too.
What else do I use regularly?
Super Glue (AKA cyanoacrylate or CA glue) is the saviour on many an occasion even if most woodworkers refuse to admit it.
It's kind of the swiss army knife of the glue world...
There are 3 basic types of CA glue...
Thin/medium and gel.
The thin stuff runs like water - great for wicking into thin splits and filling small gaps with the aid of some sawdust or baking powder.
The medium viscosity CA glue is good for the super glue and sawdust trick too but being thicker it just gives you a little more control and it can give you a little more strength than the thin stuff.
The gel is rarely used in my shop - As it's name suggests, it's a gel so you squeeze it out like toothpaste. It glues just fine but I use it more for fast filling of small gaps with the aid of an activator.
The trade off with CA glue is that although it can bond almost instantly, don't expect that bond to be as strong as with something like wood glue. You see, the bond is very superficial. There's almost no shear strength.
That can be useful if you're using it to hold something for a moment and you want to tap it off again with a small hammer when you're done but not if you want a long lasting bond.
I will say this though... When you fill a gap with fine sawdust from your workpiece (so the color matches - dark woods only) or with baking powder... Allowing CA glue to soak in and set can be the fastest way to fill a gap if you need it to. You can actually make visible repairs in darker wood species with superglue and walnut sawdust (built up in stages). Just make sure you wear gloves and a respirator. Not kidding!
Now for the Super Glue icing on the cake.
Using an Activator...
Think that super glue sets instantly? Think again...
Superglue sets instantly if you join your fingers together but rarely will it do the same on wood or other materials bonded face to face. That's where an activator comes in.
With it, you can drip super glue on any surface, spray the activator on it and watch it set hard before your eyes...
Think about the applications for that. Imagine needing to bond 2 pieces of 1/4 inch stock together edge to edge or edge to face? Drip some CA glue next to the joint and let it wick in between the pieces and spray on the activator. Voilå, there you go, one glue up, in the blink of an eye.
That's it for this article. Let me know your thoughts and opinions and I'll see you next time.