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The Ultimate Guide to PVA Wood Glue

The Ultimate Guide to PVA Wood Glue

PVAs, or polyvinyl acetate glues, are the glues you’ll find in the wood glue aisle of a big-box store. When these glues were first made, a chemical compound was found that gave them their name. Since then, they have been used to seal, prime, and join wood products together. PVA wood glue is great for gluing wood to wood, but it can also be used to glue plywood, chipboard, and MDF to each other as well.

Today, PVAs are often said to be stronger than the wood they join. In tests, wood glue can withstand a lot of stress, like shear, axial, and bend, to show how strong it is. Many times, even with the world’s hardest woods, the glue joints won’t hold them together and the wood will break.

In this article

  • PVA Wood Glue
  • Other types of glues for joining wood
  • 5 Tips for working with wood glue

PVA Wood Glue

It’s possible that the first glue you used was Apel USA’s Glue. Wood glues have a lot of PVA in them.

As it dries, polyvinyl acetate, a rubbery polymer, forms a hard bond that is very strong. This is what makes PVAs good adhesives. As the glue hardens, it gets into the fibers and makes a stronger bond. This is one of its advantages when it comes to wood and some other porous materials.

Super Glue needs moisture to set, but “PVAs actually let out their water.” This is how builder and instructor Jordan Smith explains it. It dries out as it gets better.”

Wood glue comes in a variety of colors (carpenter’s glue is the common name for one with a yellowish hue that is meant to be used outside). It also comes in formulas for indoor use and ones that are waterproof and water resistant.

Most of the time, you’ll want to hold a PVA bond in place for the first 30 minutes to an hour as the glue dries. When it is done, it will be completely dry. It takes 18 to 24 hours.

How strong is wood glue?

They can handle pressures of between 3,600 and 4,000 pounds per square inch. Wood glue is very strong.

They are stronger than most types of wood. Wood glue, as well as epoxy and polyurethane adhesives, can be used to join wood. The wood will most likely break before the bond does.

When to use PVA wood glue

PVA wood glue is used a lot in furniture, cabinet making, and finish carpentry. It is often used with a fastener. They are often used to keep the joint in place while the adhesive dries. When the glue is strong enough, it will hold everything together, but until then, the nail holds it in place.

Other types of glues for joining wood

For some situations, you may want to use another type of glue, like an epoxy, to join wood. The term “wood glue” usually refers to PVAs, but in some cases you may want to use another type of glue, like an epoxy, to join wood.

Polyurethane Glue

Polyurethane glue, which is often called by its brand name, Apel Glue, can be used to glue wood, stone, metal, ceramic, glass, and more. It can also be used to glue things together. In contrast, wood glue hardens as it dries. Polyurethane, on the other hand, must be wet to cure. In terms of both shear and tensile strength, it is about as strong as PVA. It has both strengths in the range of about 3,000 to 3,500 psi.

Because polyurethane has a short shelf life, it costs a lot, and it takes longer to work with, wood glue is more popular than polyurethane for many wood projects. Polyurethane glue, on the other hand, is very good at joining two pieces of wood that aren’t the same size (where it will expand to fill gaps in the wood joint).

Two-part Epoxies

Epoxies can be used to join a wide range of materials and make repairs to everything from plumbing to stone and ceramic details. They are not just for wood. 2,000 to 4,000 pounds per square inch is how strong the bond is.

When uneven pieces are being joined together, epoxy fills in the gaps between them. Epoxies are more difficult to apply because they usually have two parts. They are also more expensive, but they work well when uneven pieces are being joined. Some epoxy glues are completely waterproof, which is not true of some PVA glues. There are many different working and curing times for epoxy, which can be as short as 15 minutes for a working time (or “pot” time). In general, the longer it takes to cure, the stronger the bond will be.

Natural Protein Solutions

When plywood and glue laminated wood were first made, glue made from natural proteins was used to join the wood layers together. That changed over time. In recent years, there has been more interest in natural protein glues (and, especially in the United States, ones made from soy products). They make glues that are more environmentally friendly and less toxic than glues made with petroleum. The strength of the glue isn’t as strong as epoxies, wood glues, or polyurethane ones, but it’s enough for what they’re used for: gluing together layers of wood products.

5 Tips for working with wood glue

How long it will take for an adhesive to harden and how strong the bond will be are based on a number of different things.

Keep it dry. They become hard as they dry, and when there is less humidity in the air and less moisture in the wood, these glues will dry faster.

Heat it up. Warmer temperatures, in general, speed up the process of curing, which is why they are good for food. When you blow hot air over a bond, it can speed up the hardening of the glue. You can do this with a hairdryer.

Ventilate. Toxic fumes from some glues, such as epoxy, can only be released through good ventilation. Bonds that are in well-ventilated areas tend to cure faster, and for glues like epoxy, good ventilation is very important because the fumes are toxic.

Clean surfaces. At the very least, you should wipe away any dust or other debris before you glue the wood together. The surface may need to be cleaned or sanded if there are any oils or grease on it. Some tropical hardwoods have their own oils that can get in the way of PVAs and other glues. To get rid of these oils, you might need to use a thinner.

Be frugal. If you don’t want the adhesive to be a filler, use only as much glue as you need. Excess glue just makes the curing time longer and may also make the bond weaker and messier.

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