Maker 101: What Kind of Wood Glue Should I Use?

Type 1 wood glue… Type 2 wood glue… Type 3 wood glue… .

…What is the difference between Type I, II, and III Wood glue? Why are there different types of Wood Glue? What type of wood glue should you use for a specific project? What is the difference between Titebond original, type 1 and type 2? Which Titebond glue should I buy? Which Titebond Glue should I use?

On this week’s Maker 101 we are talking about Wood glue: Specifically the different TYPES of wood glue that are out there, and when to use them! They are not all created equal, and it’s important to select the right glue, for the right job.

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You’ve probably been in the hardware store and noticed that there are a few different types of wood glue. In today’s post we are going to chat about what the different types are, and when they should be used.

For the sake of conversation there are three main types of wood glue, type 1, 2, and 3. To get right to it the difference between glues is the level of water resistance.

Type I is NOT water resistant

Type II is

And Type III is heavy duty water resistant… or more or less waterproof.

… but if Type 3 is obviously the best, why would anyone bother picking 1 or 2?

It’s a right tool, for the right situation type of thing.

If you are making something for indoor use that you don’t expect to be exposed to water like a mallet or cabinet you probably don’t need type 2 or 3. Sticking with 1 is just fine because it’s cheaper, dries quickly, and is easy to clean up because, again, it’s not water resistant.

Lots of cabinetry and musical instruments are made using type 1.

Type 2 is used for lightly moist situations like kitchenware such as cutting boards, spoons, trays, and so on. These are items that are not going to be exposed to large amounts of water at one time. Type 2 is also a bit cheaper than type 3 in general, and the type 3 is in fact a bit of an overkill amount of water resistance.

Type 3 is the wood glue to use for external use. If you are making an outdoor table that could see heavy rain, or a canoe, you should consider Type 3 for the job.

Last year Michael did a sign for a local business using up-cycled flooring. He used Titebond 3 for all of those glue ups in addition to a heavy handed coat of poly over the top of everything because the sign needed to be able to stand up to the elements. It’s a bit more expensive but Under heavy water exposure it just holds up a lot better than the other two types.

Another feature of Type 3 that we often consider when choosing it is that it has a longer drying-time. For more complex glue ups that may take a bit longer to position and clamp, type 3 is the most forgiving for adjusting and re-positioning as needed.

One point to explicitly clarify is that all 3 types of glue make a solid joint on wood. The types do offer an increased psi of strength to joints… but for all of them the joint itself is stronger than wood itself. Or in other words, if you were to drop your piece off of a cliff… the part that is going to break is more likely to be the wood itself, not the joint.

Types. Of. Wood Glue.

Hopefully this demystifies things a little bit for you when you are choosing what to use for your next glue up.

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