George and Jimmy’s Glue Tips

Sign in
Duration: 19:46

Jimmy DiResta was in George’s shop recently, so the two of them got together to talk about glue tips. Like choosing the right tool, it’s important to choose the right glue, as well as the right techniques for applying the glue.

Filling voids

CA (cyanoacrylate) glue is great for filling voids. Mix it with sawdust from the board you’re working on to get a really good color match.

Trim your brush

When you want to make it easier to get glue into a tight spot, like a mortise, spend a little time trimming the glue brush with a pair of scissors to make the tip more defined. This makes it easier to get in the mortise.


If you paint MDF you’ll notice that the edges of the MDF soak up a lot of paint. Get a more uniform finish by pre-painting the edges with yellow glue.

Spread glue with threads

When you’re trying to get glue spread over a wide area use a piece of threaded rod like a mastic knife to spread the glue uniformly.

Make your own dough

Mix sawdust from the project with yellow glue to make a ball of putty you can press into the recess. This creates a thicker bodied putting than CA glue, so works on vertical surfaces.

More tack time

When you have complicated glue ups you can get yourself more working time by using Extend Glue. This product gives you more time to get it together.


Tips about spreading glue, making long boards out of short boards, what’s the deal with hide glue, and a bunch of other glue tips.

WWGOA has lots more gluing and clamping tips for you.

More info

For more information about Titebond glues visit the company’s website or call (800) 877-4583.

  • (will not be published)

10 Responses to “George and Jimmy’s Glue Tips”

  1. Brian Farrell

    Thanks. One thing please both wear mikes my vol was crazy loud then super quiet, depends on who was talking

    • Customer Service

      Hi Brian. Thank you for your feedback. I have forwarded your comment to the proper department. We value your opinion, and it will help with the development of our online streaming community. We will continue to listen and work hard for your complete satisfaction.
      Woodworkers Guild of America Video Membership

  2. Geoffrey Smith

    Should have included Titebond for melamine. Great to bond melamine to itself (or to plastic or wood)

  3. Mke

    I found I store the bottle upside down, helps keep the glue fresh and ready at all times. Enjoyed your report on glues.

  4. Andrew Heathcote

    Rather than buy brushes to apply glue, I use lollipop sticks, you might call them popsicle sticks, they are free, and after use cab be thrown into re-cycling.

  5. JAMES

    When you buy a new bottle of glue, write the date of purchase on it with a Sharpie. It’s a good way to know if your glue is pushing the limits of shelf life.

  6. Jay

    This is a good overview of glue types. They each have their advantages and disadvantages. I spread them all (except for the CA glue) with a plastic glue brush or paddle and several types can be found on the Rockler website. The glues come off of the plastic bristles with water, rubbing and soaking fairly easily and they then dry quickly. I would not use a threaded, steel bar to spread the glue as it would be difficult placing it anywhere on your workbench without it rolling off, it would be difficult to clean, would collect old glue and it would rust. The glue brushes work better and can be placed on a piece or scrap between uses.

    CA glue can easily be catalyzed with a water. This can be from a damp paper towel or a used glass cleaner sprayer. I don’t know what’s in the accelerant but the CA reacts with the moisture in the air to normally dry. CA glue also blends nicely with the plastic wood fillers that have acetone or MEK in them, which can be a useful repair when you lose a small chunk on a turned piece on the lathe. However, it is very hard and when sanding it, it will be harder than the wood around it, causing it to stay elevated a bit. When mixed with sawdust, it will stain to some extent but it won’t appear the same as the surrounding wood. A little goes a long way. [The wax pencils can also be used as fillers in small cracks and imperfect joints and there are many colors that can get you a satisfactory match. However, the wax is not durable and tends to interfere with almost all of the finishes I have used (shellac, water or oil-based polyurethane and especially lacquer), so I now rarely use them.]

    Hide glue is useful when you need a long set-up time, such as when assembling multiple pieces that fit inside each other. TB-Hide glue can be hard to find. It’s a sticky mess to work with, so wearing gloves is advised, but it can be cleaned up with a damp sponge, which unfortunately also tends to loosen the glue. It dries translucent and amber. A lot goes a short way. It doesn’t interfere with staining as much as the PVA and CA glues. Drying time should be at least 2 days. Even after that, it can be removed with water.

    The PVA glues include the Titebonds 1-3:
    TB-1 (Elmer’s, Tacky Glue and many others) tends to dry clear. It is useful for making your own wood filler but it takes much longer to dry then the plastic wood fillers, so usage in long cracks would be its likely most common application. I’ve used it when temporarily assembling pieces that I wanted to later separate by soaking them apart in the bathtub. It’s surprising how long it takes to separate when doing that.
    TB-2 is my go-to wood glue for most things. It has a short set-up time and when doing glue-ups, is usually ready overnight. It is difficult to remove when smeared and interferes with staining. It is water-resistant. It can soften with heat, such as when sanding over it. A little goes a long way.
    TB-3 for me has been problematic. It appears to have a more limited shelf-life. It can separate, at which point it is too thick to remix and its effectiveness then remains in doubt. For that reason, I don’t buy more than I need for a single project and a lot goes a little way. More expensive than TB-2, TB-3 tends to be gummy and I have pulled the spokes out of a wheel 2 weeks after using it. It is supposed to be water-proof, but it washes off the glue brushes (even after drying on the brush!) and the instructions warn about using it on surfaces exposed to water. I use it only for cutting boards, period. Its holding power, for me, has been disappointing because it stays flexible for so long compared to TB-2.

    Urethane glue is another one I don’t use much in woodworking. It is like the foam gap fillers (like Great Stuff). It expands and is messy to use. Removal of the excess can be scraped or cut off but it crystalizes and is brittle. Once exposed to air, it activates. I have found it to be inconvenient with it hardening in the bottle either before or right after using it just once.

    There’s also epoxy. Its use on wood is probably not ideal. It’s super-expensive with a steep learning curve. It can be used to fill cracks in wood and as a coating to protect the surface, but any extensive use will cost more than the wood itself. It develops bubbles in it that have to be removed with a heat gun or torch. Once mixed, it starts to get hard and all of it has to be used once mixed. You need a respirator to use any significant quantity of it or in a “well ventilated area” where dust falling on it will be a problem. Probably all of us have used it to repair ceramics and while it “works,” it’s almost always a visible repair that yellows over time. Getting it to match anything is unlikely. When sanded, it looks frosted and porous. It has its uses, but not much for me with woodworking.

  7. Ron

    Excellent video on gluing techniques and variety of glues to use for different situations.

  8. ben blackwell

    While I have spread a lot of glue, I learned some new things. Thanks for a well done video.