The 5 Best Glues to Use for Furniture Building

When it comes to building furniture, the tools you bring to the table could differentiate mastery and mediocrity. It is crucial to have a fully equipped tool kit to start your project. Most are aware that they will need the obvious gadgets such as screws, drills, and saws, but some may be wondering, what is the best glue for furniture building? 

The best glue to use for furniture building is the one which will create a reliable bond and withstand the most shear force. Elmer’s wood glue and Gorilla’s polyurethane glue are the best two glue types for furniture building. The former is strictly used for wood and the latter for everything else.

This article will go over various types of wood and construction glue, the differences between them, and what each has to offer. We will also discuss what it is that makes one type of glue preferable to another in regards to furniture building. By the end of this article, you will not doubt which is the glue for you.

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Different Types of Glue

When we speak of glue, a whole host of images may come to mind. There are glues for arts and crafts, aerosol spray on glues, fabric glue, hot glue, glue in stick form, decorative glue, and the list goes on and on. Each glue has its own unique purpose and application, and of course, its own set of pros and cons.

Certain types of glue are also unique in their ability to penetrate surfaces. Some glues are designed to seep deep into the wood and other porous surfaces to mend and unify the pieces firmly. Conversely, other types of glues are less aggressive and only designed to work on a more shallow surface level. 

We will be referring primarily to two types of glue: wood and polyurethane glue. The reason we are focusing solely on these two specific types is two-fold.

  • Firstly, other types of glue are either highly specialized or irrelevant to the generality of furniture building.
  • Secondly, while effective, other types of construction glue may be primarily outdated, such as the case with animal glue.

Moreover, we believe that only the two subsequently discussed types are needed to handle every possible situation about building furniture. 

Wood Glue

Wood glue is an incredibly strong and resilient specialty glue designed particularly for application with various wood types.

The 5 Best Glues to Use for Furniture Building

Wood glue has many different uses and purposes, which include but are not limited to:

  • Holding and conjoining pieces of wood together while screws, bolts, or brackets are added for additional securement 
  • Filling cracks, splits, and other damaged or compromised wooden surfaces to provide additional support and prevent further structural decline
  • Bonding lightweight wooden structures together which will not be subjected to excessive stress or strain, such as a birdhouse, or a miniature model home 
  • Sealing and waterproofing cracks and seams where wooden pieces may meet or line up

As previously discussed, glue comes in an incredibly wide array of types, so it may come as no surprise that we find many different variations. When shopping for the right glue to begin your furniture building escapade, it is important to understand which one is best designed to suit your particular need to maximize the strength and integrity of your newly made fixture.

PVA Glue

When most people generically speak of wood glue, this is what they are referring to. PVA glue, which stands for polyvinyl acetate, is the most common type of glue for binding and holding wood pieces together long-term. The reason this glue is so widely standardized for carpenters and do-it-yourself home furniture builders is its ability to bond with incredible shear strength and tolerate great load.

The 5 Best Glues to Use for Furniture Building

One of the things that make PVA glue so strong is that when applied, it seeps deep into the porous surface of the wood, making deeper adhesion than some other glues, which only bonds on a purely surface level. If you are working with any wood and strength you desire, PVA glue will surely be your safest and best bet.

One of the drawbacks of PVA glue is its lack of versatility. Unfortunately, PVA glue is restricted solely to use in conjunction with wood. It is not to be used for other materials such as leather, steel, or glass. If your furniture building project is not materialized from wood, PVA glue will be of no use to you.

Due to the long set time of PVA glue, you should always clamp your pieces firmly into position while they dry. If you do not already own an adequate pair of wood clamps, you may want to consider these Irwin Quick Clips. They are inexpensive, tough, and easy to use. 

IRWIN QUICK-GRIP Clamps, One-Handed, Mini Bar, 6-Inch, 4-Pack (1964758)
  • NON-MARRING PADS: Grip firmly and protect your workpiece from scratches and scuffs
  • QUICK-GRIP DESIGN: One-handed triggers release the clamps instantly
  • STURDY: Resin construction with hardened steel bars to prevent flexing and bending

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Polyurethane Glue

Polyurethane is a very popular glue found in just about any serious furniture builder’s shop. It is not without good reason. Polyurethane glue is often associated with or referred to as Gorilla Glue. However, the Gorilla Glue company sells a PVA glue. They were the first company to produce and distribute this blend of powerful adhesive within the United States.  

The 5 Best Glues to Use for Furniture Building

The greatest benefit of using polyurethane glue is, without a doubt, its impressive versatility. Contrary to PVA glue, polyurethane glue can be effectively used not only for binding and bonding wood but also for gluing metal, plastic, fabric, glass, concrete, clay, etc. 

This makes Polyurethane glue great for arts and crafts projects, as well as general repairs around the house, such as fixing a broken cupboard handle, mending a cracked ceramic tile, or repairing a damaged door frame.

With that being said, there are four possible disadvantages to using polyurethane glue:

  • To properly bond, polyurethane glue requires the presence of moisture. This means that water may need to be sprayed or dabbed onto your material’s surface before glue application.
  • Polyurethane glue sets very quickly. Almost immediately upon application, polyurethane glue begins setting, and within 10-20 minutes, it has fully adhered. 
  • Once polyurethane glue has settled, removing it is no easy task and will require acetone.
  • Polyurethane is very expansive, meaning as it sets, it tends to expand, thicken, and increase its viscosity.

Elmer’s E7310 Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max

In the world of wood glue, Elmer’s is pretty much the epitome of reputability. Elmer’s company has been producing top of the line glue products since the mid 20th century. It is still leading the market today, so there is absolutely no doubt about their longevity as a brand and their commitment to their product.

Sale
Elmer's E7310 Carpenter's Wood Glue Max, Interior/Exterior, 16 Ounces , Tan
  • Bonds stronger than wood
  • Non-toxic, no harmful fumes, and easy to clean up with water
  • Resists heat

Last update on 2022-09-05 at 10:58 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

One of the many benefits of this product is its non-toxicity. This makes it a safe bet for builders with pets and young children and eliminates skin contact worry. 

Users will also find it easy to remove this product from their hands, simply by washing thoroughly with soap and water. Moreover, it can be washed out of clothes and will likely not stain or permanently damage them. Spill cleanups are much easier to handle with this product than with others.

This product is found at the top of this list due to its versatility regarding indoor and outdoor applications.

Elmer’s E7310 was designed to be highly resistant to clinical factors such as extreme hot or cold temperatures, moist environments and blocks out mold, mildew, and any other type of invasive growth that may accelerate breakdown and degradation. You can be sure that you will not have to worry about it again once you apply this glue.

Regarding the set time of Elmer’s E7310, it takes a while to strongly bond but increases perpetually in strength as it dries. This is excellent news because it allows for small adjustments to be made while clamping your project within the first 30 minutes of application, enabling you to get your work lined up perfectly.

After that, leave the glue to sit untouched for a full 24 hours. This glue will further bond in the following days and weeks.

Gorilla 5002801 Original Waterproof Polyurethane Glue

This list would not be complete if we did not mention the original Gorilla polyurethane glue. This product revolutionized the glue industry and has since become a staple for anyone looking to bind unconventional materials together. 

Sale
Gorilla 5000830 Original Waterproof Polyurethane Glue, 1-Pack, Brown
  • ORIGINAL GORILLA GLUE: The water activated polyurethane formula expands into materials to form an incredibly strong bond to virtually anything
  • 100% WATERPROOF: Doesn't break down when exposed to outdoor elements
  • VERSATILE: Easily bonds wood, stone, metal, ceramic, foam, glass, concrete and much more

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Before we get into the multitude of praiseworthy advantages to using this product, it should first be noted that contrary to Elmer’s E7310 reviewed above, Gorilla polyurethane is not nontoxic. When using this product, it must be stored away from animals and small children’s reach and limit exposure to the skin and other orifices as much as possible. 

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let us now discuss the incredible list of benefits and advantages that this product offers. Gorilla polyurethane has the unique ability to glue together virtually any two materials. This makes it a must-have accessory for all tradesmen and tradeswomen, including carpenters, electricians, plumbers, roofers, etc. 

Dries Fast and Hard to Remove

This glue hardens and dries extremely rapidly, so if you are looking for a quick stick, look no further. Within mere moments of application, this glue will stick to the degree that makes adjustments strenuous, if not impossible.

Before you use it, make sure you know exactly where it’s going and what your intentions are. Polyurethane glue is brutally unforgiving in this respect. If you make a mistake, Gorilla 500281 will let you know.

The 5 Best Glues to Use for Furniture Building

When using polyurethane glue, confine it to the materials you will be working with and applying to. If this product is to spill or unintentionally come into contact with unintended tools, it can be a nightmare to remove.

It can damage tools and other items such as wrenches and screwdrivers permanently. Organize and declutter your workspace before attempting to administer any glue off the polyurethane sort. 

Another word of warning when it comes to this glue is that it tends to swell and expand outward when drying. This can be problematic if you wish to have things line up perfectly flush, which when building furniture, you almost always do.

This means that furniture parts may become twisted and dispositioned during the bonding process. For this reason, it is recommended to apply this glue sparingly. A little goes a very long way.

Titebond 5064 Original Wood Glue

Next up on our list is Titebond Original. Another non-toxic glue, the unique thing about this product is its effectiveness in adhering to finished wood. This makes it a great option for anyone working with coated or treated wood and particularly hard and dense woods such as hickory, oak, or maple.

Titebond 5064 Original Wood Glue, 16-Ounces
  • This item is a Franklin International 5064 Titebond Original Wood Glue, 16-Ounce
  • Purpose of use for Hardware, wood-glues
  • This product is manufactured in United States

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The biggest difference between Titebond original and Elmer’s carpenter glue is that the former dries and sets much faster, making it preferable for those who would like to begin using their furniture as soon as possible, and would rather avoid the lengthy waiting period. Additionally, it is also the go-to glue for refurbishing and making minor repairs to damaged furniture.

This glue is designed for indoor use. As such, it is not as weather-resistant as the other two products mentioned previously on this list. However, Titebond original does not expand as it dries. This makes it an excellent choice for those looking to line up their ends and edges incredibly tight and avoid gapping and shifting. 

Because this glue is especially proposed for hardwoods and indoors. It has commonly been used for more fancy purposes such as repairing guitars and other instruments. 

Gorilla Wood Glue

On this list for a second time is Gorilla, this time for their wood glue alternative. Proving they are more than just a one-trick pony, Gorilla is leading the glue industry with their polyurethane and their true wood glue. They made this blend with versatility in mind.

Gorilla Wood Glue, 4 Ounce Bottle, Natural Wood Color, (Pack of 1)
  • Easy-to-use, water based adhesive with Gorilla holding power
  • Best for building, carpentry or hobby projects using any type of wood
  • Complete Projects Faster; Requires only 20 - 30 minutes of clamp time, fully cured in 24 hours

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Ideal for indoor and outdoor use, Gorilla wood glue is incredibly adaptable to an array of climates. In addition to its high elemental exposure tolerance, its ability to bind both hard and softwood makes it arguably the most practical wood furniture building glue on this list. 

Although this product is designed to be used for wood, it has a little bit more flexibility in its ability than most other typical wood glue products. While it cannot be used for most other surfaces, it can bond with the MDF board. This is a great selling point for those looking for a reliable glue for making speaker boxes, dresser drawers, and anything else that is typically constructed from MDF materials. 

Elmer’s Rotted Wood Stabilizer

Closing out this list is Elmer’s rotted wood stabilizer blend. Although this product is not designed to build furniture per se, an all too often overlooked part of the building process is the repairing process that will likely accompany it down the road. For this reason, we felt it important to add this product to this list.

ELMERS Rotted Wood Stabilizer 16 Oz (E760Q)
  • Seals and hardens dry rotted wood
  • Easy, one-coat solution
  • Solvent free with no odor

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Elmer’s stabilizer was designed to bring back to life furniture which has rotted, eroded, or otherwise deteriorated in any way. This makes it the first choice for refurbishment projects. Anyone looking to repair boat seats, picnic tables, garden boxes, and lawn furniture will surely find this product a saving grace. To use this product:

  1. Start by gently sanding the surface and abrading the excess materials before applying the stabilizer to the wood to keep the surface as smooth as possible.
  2. From there, apply the glue and let it set for 24 hours. If you need to get the glue deep into a crack or crevice, use a wood popsicle stick and gently guide the glue as you pour it. 

Another great aspect of Elmer’s rotted wood stabilizer is that it is very easy to sand, paint, and stain over top of and can also be used in conjunction with a wood filler product. This makes it particularly enticing for those seeking a visually appealing final product from their restoration project. 

Elmer’s rotted wood stabilizer is odorless and undetectable, making it pleasant and friendly for indoor use.

Conclusion

In this article, we sought out to find which is the best glue for building furniture. Ultimately, it comes down to the type of material your furniture is constructed with. Different types of glues are made for different building materials, so knowing each product’s capability will be the key to making an informed purchase and optimizing the strength of your furniture long term.

Elmer’s Wood Glue is the single best glue for working specifically with wood. Gorilla Glue’s polyurethane glue is the quintessential product for virtually everything else. Ideally, to fully prepare yourself for whatever may arise, you would be well advised to keep both products on hand when building furniture. 

Always read the labels on the product before using, and understand the hazards associated. Avoid all contact with your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wear gloves when necessary, and store out of reach of children.

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