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An Adhesive for Every Purpose: Choose the Right One the First Time 

 
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Before you glue or stick anything together, make sure you're using the right adhesive. This guide will help.

White Glue

  • Also known as polyvinyl acetate (PVA).
  • A non-waterproof adhesive used mostly for interior woodworking jobs where a waterproof joint is not required.
  • Usually packaged in plastic squeeze bottles, these inexpensive, milky-white glues dry clear, and are fast setting.
  • Bonds paper, fabric, cardboard, cork and leather, as well as wood.
  • Can withstand a moderate amount of strain, and cleans up easily with soap and water.
  • Non toxic and non flammable.

Woodworkers’ Glue

  • Also called carpenter’s glue.
  • Has a faster grab than white glue (set time is usually within 15 minutes).
  • Is usually tinted an off-white or yellow.
  • Woodworkers’ glue is used in applications where better water resistance, heat resistance, and ease of sanding are desired.
  • Aliphatic wood glue, a general-purpose adhesive, is also popular among people who are doing woodwork, including those building or repairing furniture.
  • It is non-toxic and non-flammable.

Instant-Setting Glue

  • Also called Super Glue (cyanoacrylates), this glue creates a strong, instant bond with a small amount of glue.
  • Regular cyanoacrylates will bond almost all non-porous materials such as ceramic, some plastics, rubber, metal, or synthetics.
  • Comes in gel form.
  • Should be handled with extreme care and kept off of skin.

Epoxy

  • One of the strongest adhesives known, epoxy is designed primarily for the bonding of non-porous surfaces, but can also be used effectively on wood.
  • Available in clear, white, or metallic finish.
  • Most epoxies come in two parts: a resin and a hardener (or catalyst) which must be mixed together before the adhesive is used.
  • Once mixed, the material will set permanently in a specified length of time—most will permanently bond, even under water.
  • The bond will withstand most solvents when curing is complete.
  • Excellent for sealing gaps and will withstand vibration and shock.
  • Can be used on pipes, radiators, wood, metal, ceramic tile, china, marble, glass, and masonry.
  • Since epoxy is toxic and flammable, use extreme caution when handling.

Polyurethane Glue

  • Is a one-part adhesive offering the strength of an epoxy without mixing.
  • Generally requires 4 to 24 hours to fully cure, but it does bond to most materials.
  • Cures in the presence of moisture, so wetting one or both materials to be joined is required.
  • Good for a bond between either similar or dissimilar surfaces an is commonly used in woodworking.
  • Waterproof, sandable, paintable and stainable.

Contact Cement

  • Can be used on many surfaces, but the joints it makes may come apart under a heavy load.
  • Good to bond laminates to countertops and cabinets, or to glue plastic foam, hardboard or metal to wood.
  • Instant adhesion makes contact cement difficult to use. It bonds immediately without clamping and resists water, temperature extremes and fungi.
  • Contact cement is most effective when one or both surfaces are porous or semi-porous.
  • Contains solvents that should be allowed to flash off before assembly. Non-flammable versions are available.

Resorcinol Glue

  • Is two-component adhesive of liquid resin and powdered catalyst.
  • Used in wood joints, it cures under pressure in 10 hours at 70° F.
  • Ideal for exterior structural applications because of its waterproof and weatherproof qualities.

Silicone Rubber Adhesive

  • Ideal for strong, flexible joints on wood, dissimilar surfaces such as metal, rubber, glass, ceramics, brick, wood, and polystyrene foam.

Plastic Resin Glue

  • Is powdered urea formaldehyde glue.
  • When mixed with water, it makes highly water-resistant bonds.
  • Frequently used for furniture repair, it is applied to clean, close-fitting surfaces and cured under pressure for at least 10 hours at 70° F.
  • The finished glue is non-toxic and impervious to most materials.

Construction Adhesive

  • Also known as mastic, which is a general term for any thick adhesive.
  • Used in heavy-duty bonding and construction, mastics are usually applied with a caulking gun or trowel.
  • Reduces the need for screws, nails, and other fasteners.
  • Flexible and waterproof qualities make them ideal for outdoor applications.
  • Can be used to join flooring and sub-flooring, paneling, drywall and roofing, molding, tile, masonry and concrete, metal, and wood.

This guide will keep you from getting into a sticky situation with your next project. Knowing their purposes will ensure you choose the right adhesive.

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