Wood glue: Strength, removal, and how to

Wood glue is what I like to call the “magic maker” in wood joinery. Wood glue can make a mediocre joint super strong and a well done joint incredibly strong.

Depending on the surface area and type of joint, your projects can support a few hundred pounds or more.


How to choose wood glue

The most common type of glue that woodworkers use is wood glue. Luckily, choosing wood glue is extremely easy if know the answer to these 3 questions.

  1. Interior or exterior project
  2. Quick or longer dry time
    • Most wood glue has an assembly time of 5 minutes. If you need a longer assembly time of 10 minutes or more, then you will want to opt for a longer dry time glue option
  3. Medium or extra strength
Titebond ORIGINALTitebond PREMIUMTitebond ULTIMATEGorilla wood glueGorilla wood glue ultimate
TypeAliphatic ResinCross-linking PVAProprietary PolymerCross-linking PVA
UseIndoor Water resistantWaterproofWater resistantWaterproof
Assembly time4-6 minutes3-5 minutes8-10 minutes5-10 minutesup to 15 minutes
Clamp time30 minutes30 minutes30 minutes20-30 minutes20-30 minutes
Application temperature50 F +55 F +47 F +55 F +50-75F
VOC10.7g/L3.0 g/L9.0 g/L28 g/L
Strength3,600 psi3,750 psi4,000 psi4,000 psi
Cost$3.68 (8fl/oz)$5.48 (8fl/oz)$7.48 (8fl/oz)$4.98 (8fl/oz)$7.98 (8fl/ox)

Outdoor use

The best wood glue options for outdoor projects are Titebond ULTIMATE and Gorilla Glue Ultimate. They both are waterproof and can handle the elements.

If you will have outdoor furniture that will be in a covered area, then Titebond PREMIUM and Gorilla Wood Glue will be sufficient because these glue types are water resistant.

Longer assembly time

Longer assembly times are beneficial if you want more time to assemble your workpiece without the wood drying.

For example, when edge gluing a large tabletop it can take 8-10 minutes to align all of the pieces. If you are using wood glue that dries in 5-6 minutes, you will not get proper adhesion.

The wood glue with the longest assembly times are Titebond ULIMATE, Gorilla Wood Glue and Gorilla Wood Glue Ultimate. Gorilla Wood Glue Ultimate has the longest assembly time of up to 15 minutes. Gorilla Wood Glue and Titebond ULTIMATE has assembly times of up to 10 minutes.

Extra strength

In my experience, with proper application, softwoods will split before the wood glue bond breaks for Titebond ORIGINAL. The extra strength can be beneficial for hardwoods that are less likely to split.

If you are using hardwoods and you want extra strength, Titebond ULTIMATE and Gorilla Glue Ultimate has the highest strength of 4,000 psi.

Lower bonding temperature

If you need a lower bonding temperature for your project, Titebond UULTIMATE has the lowest bonding temperature of 47 Fahrenheit or higher.

Titebond RIGINAL and Gorilla Wood Glue Ultimate has the next lowest bonding temperatures of 50 Fahrenheit.

How long does it take wood glue to dry?

Most wood glue has a clamp time of 20 to 30 minutes and a dry time of 1 to 2 hours.

How to remove glue from wood?

It is best to remove excess wood glue before it dries. Waiting until the wood glue dries to chip it off will likely chip the wood.

Removing wood glue before it dries

  • Use a damp cloth to clean up extra wood glue

Removing wood glue after it dries

To clean wood glue after it dries, you will need to scrape the glue off.

  • Method one: use 40 or 80 grit sandpaper
    • 40 or 80 grit sandpaper will remove small sections of wood glue. However, this grit will remove material and quickly eat through the wood.
    • This is not my preferred method is only plausible with smaller sections of dried wood glue. Larger sections will take to long to remove and you will eat through the wood at that expense.
    • Cons: Easy to eat through the wood
  • Method two: use a planar
    • This is my preferred method for straight wood sections because you will plane the high spots and leave the wood flat. The wood glue will be the first material to be cut away, so you do not have to plane for long.
    • Cons: only for flat wood pieces
  • Method three: use a scraper
    • A scraper can be used to remove dried wood glue, the only issue with this method is that you are scraping and not cutting the glue like the planar method. This can result in the wood being chipped away with the glue.
    • Cons: Easy to chip away wood with the glue.

How to glue wood together?

Step One: Apply an even glue layer

Using a glue bottle and spreader, apply a thin, even layer of glue on one piece of wood, that covers the whole surface area of the joint.

You do not need much glue at all, there just needs to be glue covering the whole surface area of the joint.

Step Two: Secure wood together

Using clamps, nails, screws, or other unconventional methods, secure the wood together. You should have a small beads of glue seeping through the joint.

To learn more about ways to secure wood together, then you should check out this article “Woodworking Clamps”.

Step three: Wipe off excess glue

Wipe away excess glue with a damp cloth

Step Four: Remove clamps after 20-30 minutes

After 20-30 minutes, remove the clamps. The glue with be at its maximum strength in 24 hours and at 80% in 1 to 2 hours.

How much wood glue is enough

Common wood glue mistakes

Using too much or too little wood glue

You should have just enough wood glue to effectively cover the surface area of the joint. Doing so will result in small beads that seep through the joint when you clamp the wood together.

Too much wood glue is not only a waste, but can also not be as strong if the wood is not clamped tight enough.

Too little wood glue will not adequately secure the wood together.

Not cleaning up excess wood glue

Not cleaning up excess wood glue will affect the aesthetics of your work piece. If you will be able to see the wood glue marks after staining or painting the work piece.

Not cleaning up wood glue is not a big issue with functionality but it will visible once you apply the finish.

Not clamping the wood together

Not securing the wood together, or not securing it tight enough, will not allow for the glue to bind the wood together efficiently. Having air pockets will greatly lessen the strength of the glue.

To avoid this, make sure you clamp the wood tigh enough so that you see a bead of glue seeping through the joint.

Clamping the wood too tightly together

Over clamping the wood will essentially squeeze out most of the wood glue. You want to avoid doing this because it will also weaken the joint.

When using heavy duty clamps, clamp until you see the wood join together and wood glue bead out of the edges. As soon as that happens, stop tightening the clamps.


In this article we learned how to choose the correct wood glue for your project, how to apply, and how to remove wood glue. We then discussed the common wood glue mistakes that woodworkers make.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article and I wish you luck on your woodworking journeys!


My name is Rachel Blanding and I am a woodworker. I started woodworking at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. I mainly create and refurbish furniture and create art. In this site I will share with you the knowledge I have gained over the years, and what worked for me and what didn't.

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