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What is the drying time for wood glue?

Updated February 21, 2017

The yellow glue known as wood glue or carpenter's glue requires between 12 hours and 18 to 24 hours to dry, forming a strong adhesive bond between the pieces being glued together.

Function

Woodworking glues are adhesives specifically made for wood repair or construction projects. Such glues form a stronger bond between the pieces of wood than standard white or other glues, are more resistant to water and set quickly, but require longer drying times.

Fundamentals

Standard yellow wood glue---aliphatic resin---comes in thick liquid form with a yellow colour and usually is sold in squeeze bottles. Wood glues "set" or form an initial bond after about 30 minutes but require at least 12 hours to fully cure and dry.

Colour

Wood glues dry opaque, keeping their yellow tint, while white glues dry clear. Wood glues generally do not accept wood stains, but some manufacturers have developed carpenter's glues that dry to a dark, wood-toned colour.

Application

Wood surfaces to be glued should be cleaned and prepared as directed by the glue manufacturers. A generous amount of glue should be applied to just one surface with the second surface placed onto the glue-covered surface. The two surfaces should be rubbed together to distribute the glue evenly and then clamped tight. Pressure should be applied with enough force to squeeze out any excess glue between the two surfaces.

Drying

Clamps can be removed after about a half hour and the glue allowed to cure for 12 to 24 hours. If necessary, adjustments can be made to the product within the first three to four hours of curing and the project re-clamped.

Alternatives

Yellow wood glues start to set up more quickly than white glues, usually within a few minutes. If a complicated project requires more time to prepare, white glues can be used as an alternative. Epoxy can be used for woodworking projects requiring a stronger bond.

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About the Author

Jan Day’s career as a writer and editor started in 1978 in Tennessee and continued through her work with major news organizations, including "The Denver Post" and Bloomberg News. She now focuses on travel, fitness, wine and food writing. She holds a Master of Arts in journalism from Pennsylvania State University.