Fine Woodworking's Glue Test

The latest issue of Fine Woodworking (August) has the most comprehensive glue showdown I've seen. They tested all major woodworking glues across multiple wood types and across multiple joint tolerances. (tight, normal and loose).
The conclusions: - Glue starvation in tight joints is a myth - PVA glues are as strong as epoxy. (even in dense tropical woods and even in gap filling conditions) - Polyurethane glue is crap (it's especially bad in loose joints) - Liquid hide glue and Hot hide glue perform the same - Open pore woods produce the strongest joints (no surprise)
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Thanks for sharing. I think through the years that the term Glue Starvation has been misunderstood and described incorrectly.
Glue Starvation is not a description of less glue, it is the description of NO Glue. As long as there is a complete layer of glue between the pieces of wood, that is enough. If you have NO Glue as in forget to apply glue or only apply glue to a small percentage of the surfaces to be mated, that is Glue Starvation.
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I kind of disagree, I just went back to my magazines for Wood magazine and saw their last review of glues in Sept '04 and I thought they were more thorough.
They did different joints with strength tests, not one joint, they did different tests with heat and water resistance etc...which I thought made a lot more sense then this test, because woodworkers use different joinery etc and some projects are inside, some are out,although far fewer. But also, their test results came back a lot different. For Instance many of the other PVA (yellow glues) glues came back stronger and better than Titebond III (which received nothing more than a very average review), yet for this magazine, this joint was different and it received a good rating. Explain that one. Every article states different findings on which one is the best wood glue becuase you will probably get different results depending on the type of joint you use and what its for.
I don't use the hide glues much, but thought the comments were interesting.
I'm not surprised the Poly Glues came back the way they did for this type of joint. They seem to excel in waterproof joints like Wood Magaine said and in laminations which this article didn't do (don't these type of glues require clamping too becuase of the foaming, where this joint has no clamping pressure). A bunch of people in the groups were recommending i use a particular Hairy primate on a lamination on exotic woods where I was having problems with my PVA glue and what do you know, it worked much better, like they said.
I wish there really was a majic bullet or majic glue, but there just isn't. I think it is fair to say that PVA glues in general are the best general purpose glues for woodworking, which is why they are by far the most popular. I mean we aren't buying gallons of hide glue or epoxy or poly glues, those are definitely more specialty glues to use at certain times.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

...snip other comments solely for brevity...
I tend to agree although I've not seen the other article you refer to. I thought the FWW article, while reasonable in what it did do and of some value, did lack depth in some areas it didn't cover, many of which your comments address.
I think in particular that it would be of real interest value to do comparative tests amongst the various manufacturers products of the same or similar types, particularly the generics or "house brands".
I also agree that the results for the polyurethanes aren't surprising to me for the test as performed -- but then again, that's not a place where there's a real reason for using them...
It's a problem that to perform a really meaningful study of such a broad subject is so far beyond the scope of a general readership magazine's format that in order to make it fit it inevitably ends up as superficial. I almost wish they would quit trying and simply concentrate on method of work and design, frankly, but I know there's interest and I suppose the articles are of at least some value, particularly for the lesser experienced or newcomer.
imo, ymmv, $0.02, etc., etc., etc., ... :)
--
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Explain that one? Could it be that the Wood magazine test was faulty?? Does it really seem likely that TBII out performed TBIII in the tests involving water? I actually had several e-mail exvhanges with a marketing exec at Franklyn when this Wood magazine test was published. He assured me that there was fault in the testing somewhere and I greatly suspect that to be true in so much that it would not make much sense for a company to claim its better product would out perfore its other products and actually perform worse. Its not an instance of our words against theirs, it more like out word against ours.
The exchange of messages did bring to light some interesting facts however as I was pretty strong on holding him on his claims of the TB III being Water Proof. By the commen knowledge/interpretqation definition of "Water Proof", TB III WAS NOT at the time truely water proof as the average consumer would believe. The lable stated Water Proof right up front for the consumer to notice. In smaller print on the back side IIRC was the reference to how TiteBone III was classified as water proof. The official test used to define Water Proof by a third party defined Water Proof as being Water Resistant. No where in the test results at the time did the words "water proof" appear except in the mane of the test. Basically it was a Water Resistance test that just so happened to be named the Water Proof test.
It's sorta like, which definition of the word "IS" that you are looking at, per Bill Clinton.
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Leon wrote:

I haven't seen the other article, I did look at FWW last night a little. What strikes me on all of these is that none of the testers are really pro's in the world of testing. That the FWW test joints were sent to a lab for the actual testing certainly helps; I have no idea of how the other tests were actually done, but if they returned a result that Type I or II outperformed III in some water-related failure test there's no doubt _something_ was wrong in at least that particular test.
Other tests I've seen (I'm thinking it was Chris Minck, who's an industrial chemist so I give him some credibility) in FWW did a comparison of the I, II, III for bond strength. As I recall it was the simple edge joining test and the comparison results were in obverse order to type number. But, even the lowest had a failure rate of nearly 2/3-rds fail of the wood, not the glue joint.
In summary, for "ordinary" woodworking, almost any of the glues are adequately strong, providing in a well-made joint a glue bond that is as strong as or stronger than the wood for again, common species. So, selection is really strongly affected by other factors -- open time, water resistance needs, creep, chalk temperature, etc., etc., etc., ...
If one has a particular application where glue bond strength is of a critical importance, one would be well served to get assistance from a manufacturer and/or USFPS or a university extension w/ a wood technology program, etc., as opposed to rely on "testing" of the sort published in any of the common magazines...
Again, imo, ymmv, $0.02, etc., etc., etc., ... :)
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[snipped for brevity]

Pretty much sums it up, huh?
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Robatoy wrote:

You saying I'm wordy (or is that woody)??? :)

Yup... :)
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Snip
ture, etc., etc., etc., ...

To be honest, I prefer TBIII not because of strength over I and II but because of the color it is when it cures.
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Leon wrote:

That's good, because all tests I've seen show it actually is lower strength... :) But again, it still is stronger bond than the wood strength most of the time...
I don't like it as well for most usage because of the longer open time (unless, of course, I need it or the chalk point advantage)... :)
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These are all kind of funny to me. Not knee slapping, but certainly ironic.
Thank back many years ago...
Nope, farther than that.
Back when I started in the trades in '72 we used to use plain old white Elmers. We used it for everything that needed glue. They had two speeds; one that was the kind the kiddos used, and one that gave more open time for us "pros".
Hah!
We used that stuff for glue lam beams when framing, cabinet work, glue ups, and even to hold plugs door screw holes that had wallowed out. I remember when it came about that we could get "yellow carpenter's glue" at the local lumberyard any time we wanted it. The old timers I worked with thought it was an unnecessary expense.
In all that time, I never saw a white glue related failure when the glue was properly applied, clamped and allowed to cure.
This was one of out high powered lab designed field tests. (Okay, maybe it was an accident!) Someone knocked knocked the gallon bottle of "Elmo's bull jizz" over and it ran out onto the plywood scraps where we were glueing the beams together. After discovering a small puddle of glue on the scraps, I put another piece on the puddle so I wouldn't wind up with it all over me.
Two days later when cleaning up, we were literally able to tear the laminations off the plywood without the white glue failing. Good enough test for me.
Now I use TBII for just about everything except what goes outside. For that I use the tubes of urethane.
Not much use for "monkey business".
Robert
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Leon wrote:

And it doesn't run quite as much and has a slightly longer open time than I or II. I use it for indoor or outdoor projects. Although I'll confess to the occasional Neandertal attack resulting in the use of hide glue :-).
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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Proof as being Water Resistant. No where in the test results > at the time did the words "water proof" appear except in the mane > of the test.> Basically it was a Water Resistance test that just so happened to be > named the Water Proof test.
Found out the difference with a really nice watch I had many years ago. At one time you could buy a watch that was "Water Proof" or "Water Proof to "X"atms".
Somwhere in there they changed it to "Water Resistant", even for the German Diver's watch I am wearing now. It is certified "Water Resistant to 6 atms". To me, that means that their liability ends when the watch gets wet. When one of my old diver's watches sprung a leak many years ago, I learned the difference.
A glass marble or a bowling ball are water proof; watches and bottled wood glues do the best they can, but in the end they are only water resistant.
Love that weasel language.
Robert
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Fri, Jun 8, 2007, 4:53pm (EDT+4) snipped-for-privacy@swbell.net (Leon) doth posteth: <snip> claims of the TB III being Water Proof. <snip>
Nope, it isn't. Neither is eepoxy. They're bot "water resistant", with eepoxy more resistant than most. As I understand it there is "no" glue that is actually "water proof", just varying degrees of water resistant.
That said, when I finally cn get t buiding my boat, I'm not sure just what glues I'll be using n it. Eepoxy and fibreglass on te outside, yeah. The joints and all, if not industril glue, it'll probably be Titebond II. Even if I skip the eepoxy and fibreglass, it'll still be industral glue and/or Titebnd II. Even if I only use Titebond II, it's gonna spend only a few hours at a time in the water, with most f the time on a trailer. Hell, I could "nail" it tight enough to keep it from leaking for a few hours. No prob. I read a book once (hmm, still got a copy of it), by a guy whose family has made John boats out of plywod for many years. His grandfather started making solid wood boats in the 20s for personal use, then started making them for sale. The originals soaked until the wood swelled to be water proof.. Later his father started using buytl rubber as a sealer and plywood. The guy said even a unpanted plywood boat could expect to have a working life of about 10-55 years, if you store it out of the water and covered; and painting it will extend that. No telling how long I'll get one to last using Titebond II. LOL
JOAT If a man does his best, what else is there? - General George S. Patton
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4ax.com:

As others have said, I thought it was superficial. This has been a common characteristic of Fine Woodworking tests for many years, they're simply not willing to spend the time & money to do serious testing.

Unproven. In particular, glue starvation can be a very real issue with epoxy, altho not in the conditions of the FWW test.
I will agree that glue starvation cannot occur due to excessive clamp pressure (it can't, if we're talking hand tightened clamps). But their test was of unclamped joints, so this is getting into an apples to oranges question.

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Dammit, something fell on the keyboard and, by Murphy's law, hit the send key :-(
4ax.com:

As others have said, I thought it was superficial. This has been a common characteristic of Fine Woodworking tests for many years, they're simply not willing to spend the time & money to do serious testing.

Unproven. In particular, glue starvation can be a very real issue with epoxy, altho probably not in the conditions of the FWW test.
I will agree that glue starvation cannot occur due to excessive clamp pressure (it can't, if we're talking hand tightened clamps), with normal PVA glues. But their test was of unclamped joints, so this is getting into an apples to oranges question.

Unproven. Epoxy takes different techniques to other glues. Some woods, including white oak and ipe, need surface prep to get an optimum result. In most cases, some sort of filler (microballoons or silica, or even wood dust) should be used to thicken the epoxy, especially on a loose joint.

Agreed. I can't think of an application for this expensive glue.

I don't think that's news. It was interesting how strong the glues were compared to the PVA glues. More detailed testing in this area would be worth seeing.

Unproven. Most of the samples broke in the wood, so all that was really shown is that ipe is a stronger wood than oak, which is (slightly) stronger than maple.
John
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