The Over-Specialization of Wood Glue

Custom shoes. Custom watches. Pick your flavor. Pick your stitching. “Have it your way.” What happened to the days when what you got was what you got?!?

Between the numbers, poly-isms, natural-esque qualities, and thickness levels, it’s hard for the average woodworker to decipher the labels of most woodworking glues. There’s tensile strength, which is measured in PSI, or KSI (kilopounds per sq in) or possibly newtons, depending on the application. There’s levels of adhesion. And then my favorite term of all “strength” — the all-encompassing word that stands for “holds stuff together.”

The truth of the matter is this: all things will break [at some point].Having used several glues, from most manufactures, I’ve found that ol’ reliable got it’s name for a reason — it’s reliable. This does not mean that I think that there’s one glue for ALL uses. Wood glue is wood glue. CA glue is CA glue. PVC cement is PVC cement. All I’m saying is, when did there get to be so many wood glues that not you have to download a MSDS sheet to decipher the difference? As you can tell from the picture above, Weldwood, from DAP products is my go-to wood glue of choice. it’s been around for ages and hasn’t failed me once. I but it by the gallon and use it in an array of bottles — the Sriracha bottle for detailed lines, the duct tape honey bottle for spreading and the GluBot for everyday use.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do think that DAP could step-up their wood glue game some. I’d like to see some higher [well-advertised] strengths — for those larger jobs (barn doors, tables, etc.) And maybe even a powdered thickening agent that one could self-add for when they want less dripping. That’d be cool. Finding a happy medium of “what you think the client needs” versus “what the client will actually use” is a hard thing, but for me, it’s a stand by for good reason.

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