Different Types of Wood Glues

Good old white glue is still very useful in woodworking.
glue bottle image by Bruce MacQueen from Fotolia.com

Woodworking and carpentry projects may consist of several individual works of art, but all your work will mean nothing if you can't keep the parts together as a whole. When it comes to wood glue, an embarrassment of riches lie in wait to drive indecisive craftsmen and artisans to the brink of madness. Separating the right glue from the wrong is a key step in working successfully with wood.

Polyvinyl Acetate

Polyvinyl acetate has been a tradition in woodworking and carpentry shops for decades. You probably know it by the more common and descriptive name of white glue. White glue is good for wood because it is strong-binding and water-soluble. This glue is best used on smaller jobs where it can be applied in cooler temperatures so it doesn’t soften too much. Removal and cleaning of this wood glue requires just soap and warm water.

Hide Glue

Hide glue has a long history among woodworkers. Hide glue is made from hooves, hides and bones of cattle. While hide glue is not used nearly as much as it was in the past, it is still one of the best glues to use for repairing furniture that was originally assembled with this kind of glue. The glue takes between 15 and 30 minutes to set and washes clean with warm water.

Casein Glue

Casein glue is very water-resistant, but don’t confuse that with being waterproof. This quality makes it an effective choice for use with oily woods like teak or rosewood. The biggest disadvantage to using traditional casein glue is that it comes as a powder that the user must mix with water.


Resorcinol is mainly used for wood repairs that need extra-strength adhesion. Resorcinol is the go-to glue for use on wooden boats and outdoor furniture made of actual wood rather than particle board. It requires the mixing of powder and liquid and very often leaves a dark line behind after use. It can be removed with cool water if the glue has not had a chance to harden. Otherwise, removal is going to be difficult to the point of impossible.

Acrylic Glue

Acrylic glue is also good for outdoor wooden furniture because it is actually waterproof instead of just being water-resistant. Application requires mixing liquid and powder or liquid and paste. Acrylic wood glue sets very quickly. It can be removed with nail polish remover or some other form of acetone.


Cellulose can be applied directly from the tube. If you use cellulose from a can, use a strip of wood for application. Those who work with wood models are probably very familiar with cellulose wood glue. Cellulose is good for bonding any smaller bits of wood together besides model parts.