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Working with glue is not for the impatient. There is no rush when you are wanting a long-lasting wooden structure, as there are already so many variables at play threatening to make all your efforts worth nothing. If you are looking for information on how long wood glue takes to dry, or how to make wood glue dry faster, or what the best wood glues might be, this is the article for you. We will cover all the factors that come into play that influence the drying and curing time needed for the wood glue to be fully adhesive.
Table of Contents
- 1 Influencing Factors of a Wood Glue’s Dry Time
- 2 Types of Wood Glues
- 3 Drying and Curing times for Different Glues
- 4 Suggestions for Using Wood Glue
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
Influencing Factors of a Wood Glue’s Dry Time
When reading the instructions on your glue label, you will likely come across the terms “dry time” and “cure time”. Neither is to be confused with the other, or else you might prevent your wood glue from sticking at all. The wood glue dry time, which typically takes half an hour or less, refers to when it is safe to take away the clamps holding the two glued structures together because the piece will now hold by itself.
Wood glue cure time, on the other hand, means the length of time the glue will take to cure or set until it is at its peak bondage and durability. This can take a lot more time than the initial drying time with certain influential variables.
Your environment and the weather have a huge impact on the length of time wood glue takes to dry. How hot or cold it is can impact how long you will wait for the glue to dry. Cold weather means you will wait longer whereas hot temperatures mean less waiting.
The optimal temperature for fast drying wood glue is about 70 or 80 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 26.6 degrees Celsius), and the minimum is 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius.)
Most glues, like PVA glue, prefer warm and dry climates in order to dry quickly, as they need to dehydrate – the moisture in the glue needs to evaporate. This would mean that if your climate is more humid, or it is raining, there is already more moisture in the air and the evaporation process might take a while longer.
The type of wood you use will react in different ways with the glue, resulting in differing drying and curing times. If the wood is thick, dense, or compressed, the wood glue dry time will be less because you do not need to apply as much glue. On the other hand, if you are working with a porous type of wood, the wood will absorb the liquid from the glue, making it dry faster.
If you are using woods like mahogany, cherry, chestnut, or oak, be advised, as there is a particularly high acid content that prevents wood glue from blonding appropriately with the wood.
The preferred way to work with wood glue is to use dry wood as opposed to moisture-filled wood. Ideally, you would want the moisture to be sucked into the dryness of the wood you are gluing. If the wood is moisture-ridden already, you are in for a long wait.
Types of Wood Glues
The type of glue you use will have a great influence on the time it takes for the glue to dry. There are many different variations of wood glue on the market, each of which boasts its own benefits and reasons for use. From epoxy to hide glue, this article is here to help you identify the advantages of using each particular type of wood glue. Below each glue type, we have listed our top wood glue recommendation for you to try out at your leisure.
Polyvinyl Acetate Wood Glue
The most commonly found wood glue is Polyvinyl Acetate, abbreviated to PVA. Whilst there is a vast array of PVA glues available to purchase, investing in a good quality PVA made specifically for wood will pay off in the long run. This type of PVA is usually cost-effective and, in most cases, the product will be water-resistant once dry. PVA wood glue is frequently used in crafts despite often being tougher than the wood itself.
Epoxy glues are perfect for bonding as well as gap-filling due to there being no shrinkage once cured. Epoxy glue consists of a hardening substance and resin. The chemical reaction takes place during the mixing process of these two ingredients, which then initiates the drying process. Epoxy glue’s drying times vary, as some set quickly whereas others take much longer. The bond will be stronger if the epoxy needs longer to dry. It is wise to remember that epoxy glues are not ideal for woods such as oak, walnut, and cherry, as their acid content is higher.
Polyurethane glue is the perfect type of wood glue when working with porous wood due to it being a non-water-based glue, meaning that it will not saturate the wood, which can cause swelling. Polyurethane glue has high volumes of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds, which results in the release of toxic fumes whilst the product is in its liquid state. One difference between PVA glue and polyurethane glue is that polyurethane starts to cure as soon as it meets the moisture in the environment. This makes it the perfect glue for wood with high moisture content. However, this does impact the glue’s curing time.
Hide glue has remained a firm favorite in the woodworking profession for over a millennium and is often referred to as animal glue. This glue is the most eco-friendly as it is non-toxic and biodegradable as well as being more cost-effective than manufactured glues, all the while maintaining the strength of its synthetic competitor, PVA glue. Hide glue is available to purchase in bottled liquid form, but the raw material is in crystal form that needs to be heated so as to change the state from solid to liquid.
Cyanoacrylate, known in most households as superglue, is great for fixing small defects in wood as it creates a strong mesh-like bond and dries quickly. However, the formation of epoxy or PVA glue provides a much firmer hold. Cyanoacrylate is often the go-to for a quick fix, whether it be combining it with sawdust to create the ideal crack filler or keeping things in place when using wedges to clamp your wood. This kind of glue absorbs moisture from the air to start its fast drying process.
Drying and Curing times for Different Glues
Below, we have simplified things a little bit for you. In this table, you will find a variety of different glues and how long each of them takes to dry and cure.
|Type of Glue||Wood Glue Dry Time||Wood Glue Cure Time|
|Epoxy||30 minutes – 1 hour||12 – 74 hours|
|Polyvinyl Acetate Wood Glue||18 – 24 hours||18 – 24 hours|
|Polyurethane Glue||24 hours||24 hours|
|Hide||24 hours||12 – 24 hours|
|Cyanoacrylate||12 – 24 hours||12 – 24 hours|
Suggestions for Using Wood Glue
- Have a sponge and warm water at the ready for easy clean-up of PVA wood glue.
- For a more even distribution of glue as well as to get the best adhesion, rub the two pieces of wood together before clamping.
- Save your sawdust shavings and combine them with PVA wood glue for a flawlessly matching wood filler.
- Remember to reduce the pressure when using epoxy with wood as it does not shrink like its PVA and hide glue counterparts.
- Wax wrap is a great hack for preventing your clamps from leaving dark marks on your wood. It also helps with clean-up by blocking the excess glue from drying on the clamps.
- To create stronger affixation on large surfaces, use a notched trowel to spread the glue and avoid any uneven coatings.
- Do not over-tighten your clamps. This will cause your completed project to be out of proportion or warped, as well as giving the possibility of forcing the glue out and removing the adhesive.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Time Does Wood Glue Need to Dry?
There are many environmental variables here, such as the kind of wood being utilized, the type of glue, as well as the weather in your area. While it is always ideal to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, the unwritten rule of allowing at least 24 hours to cure often comes into play here.
Does Wood Glue Last long?
There is no set expiry date for PVA wood glue, although a good rule of thumb is to mix up the old glue to combine the particles – water can also be added to thin it. If you can get it to a non-grainy consistency that is not too thick, it is probably fine to use.
How Long Must My Clamps Stay on the Structure I Am Gluing?
This depends on which type of wood glue you are using and the manufacturer’s guidelines. Sometimes, polyurethane glue does not need to be in the clamps for as long as PVA glue, with the recommendation being 45 minutes. However, if you are using a good-quality PVA wood glue, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours, depending on how much stress you are planning to put on the joints.
Should I Use a Lot of Wood Glue?
You should be able to see a thin bead of glue along the joint line when you clamp your project, but if there is major spillage and mess, you are probably overdoing it.
Do I Have to Use Clamps When Gluing Wood?
Unless you are using hot hide glue and rubbing the two glued surfaces together, then, yes. Clamps ensure that your project maintains your desired join and strengthens the bond.