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Confused about Glue

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Gilmourisgod, Feb 20, 2018.

  1. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    So... I finally used up all my good old Titebond yellow wood glue. Went to the local hardware store, now they have Titebond, Titebond II, Titebond III, and "Ultimate" wood glue. The II and III claim a longer working time and waterproof formula, not sure I need waterproof glue for amateur indoor luthiery, but please school me on this. The longer open time before it grabs might come in handy for stressful glue-ups, but I don't want it skating around on me either. I bought a 16 oz. bottle of the original Titebond, but can always swap it out before I open it. My wife gave me an 8 oz. bottle of the non-foaming Gorilla Wood Glue a couple years ago, that I used precisely once. Went to grab that, and it had turned to a rubbery mass inside the bottle, which is tightly closed from what I can see. A two year shelf life is no good. I know some TB builders use epoxy a lot, but it's expensive and kind of a hassle to use. I have the mini-pump dispensers, but it still tends to make more than I need for small glue-ups, and I'd rather not waste it. I know some old school Luthiers swear by traditional hyde glue or fish glue because it can be un-fastened with heat or steam, but in general I'm looking for a hard, permanent bond. I'm not planning on any set-neck builds, so I can't see a use for animal glues, except maybe for a fingerboard? What say you?
  2. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    Bruce has posted before about his approach to "smaller than pump" doses of epoxy using measuring spoons, and 'glo went there this winter, IIRC. #729

    I prefer syringes for small-batch measuring, but then, I have a pile of glue applicator syringes hanging around from my fiber optic project.

    I currently use the equivalent (PEP) of West 207, which costs ~twice as much as 205/6 but seems to have no shelf life issues so far, and I've found reports of 207 working fine at 10 years of age. PEP has a 2:1 mix ratio (.vs. West's 5:1) as well as the whackiest website ever.

    A number of folks are using the LMII wood glue which seems to be similar to but slightly different from Titebond. I'm pretty sure I have a third of a gallon of Titebond I need to throw out (it's been frozen) somewhere around the shop.

    I have a tube (caulking style) of Loctie PL-brand PU glue for building speaker cabs which I fear has turned solid without even being opened as that project got delayed.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  3. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Titebond II and III remain a bit more flexible when dry than Titebond I, so I would not recommend those for instrument building.

    They do make an extended open time version of Titebond I, which you may like.

    Epoxy is probably the best solution, but as you say it's really expensive and a hassle to work with.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  4. Original Titebond is my go-to. 90% of my gluing is done with Titebond.

    I use epoxy for gluing fretboards to necks as I've had the moisture in water based PVA glues induce backbow. I also use epoxy for inlay work and filling voids in wood (mixed with sawdust).
  5. I use Titebond III because it's what my dad uses, but I believe Titebond, while not waterproof, does dry harder, or that's what I've read.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  6. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I might try the epoxy on the fingerboard, hadn't thought of it inducing backbow. A fingerboard seems to be the one thing on a bass that's most likely to be removed and replaced. Which one is easier to remove with heat later, epoxy or PVC glue like Titebond?
  7. I would like to add that all my instruments that went through the fire survived intact, Titebond III held. Just in case you wanted to run your instruments through a fire.
    BassHappy, Beej, jchrisk1 and 2 others like this.
  8. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Kinda hoping to avoid that, but thanks for the heads up!
    mohrds likes this.
  9. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    T_Bone_TL pretty much covered it for me.

    I do most of my gluing with West Systems epoxy, the 105 resin and 205 & 206 hardeners. I do my measuring with small plastic kitchen mixing spoons, which allows me to mix up small batches efficiently. I also keep the Hardeners in plastic squeeze bottles, which lengthens their shelf life.

    When I don't want to use epoxy, I like LMII's Yellow Instrument Maker's Glue. It's similar to Titebond I, but a little better formulation for our purposes. In particular, it dries harder, doesn't creep much, and can be sanded. I like it better than Titebond I.

    If you want to go with Titebond, use Titebond I, the original formula. Titebond II and III are great glues, but not as well suited for what we do.
    tjclem, the baint, shodan and 2 others like this.
  10. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Ok, thanks All! I'll keep the bottle of Titebond I bought. I had a bottle of the brown Titebond I use for oak and walnut, but I stupidly let it freeze, now its gone all wonky on me.
  11. I would definitely not recommend it.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  12. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    From personal experience - the trash is the only place that frozen wonky glue belongs, now.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  13. rwkeating


    Oct 1, 2014
    Epoxy is too expensive for my taste and often has to be purchased in very large quantities. The only thing I don't like about Titebond is the issue of creep. "Glue line telegraphing (glue-creep) occurs on exposed wood joints as a thin, slightly raised bump along adjacent glued surfaces. "
  14. jchrisk1

    jchrisk1 Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    So, what's your choice? Your tweener?
  15. rwkeating


    Oct 1, 2014
    Titebond Original (number 1)
    shodan likes this.
  16. Ampslut


    May 15, 2017
    I make furniture and have used all 3. If you a making something that will be used outside in the weather then I always use type 3. If will remain high and dry, I see no reason to use anything other than type 1. I think type 2 is water resistant but has the same curing time as type I. I don't use it as I think type III is just better.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  17. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    I guess I'm a glue nerd because I have CA glue (thin and gel), plus System III and West Systems epoxy, plus some 3M epoxy in the little kits, and Titebond and other glues, like white glues and PVA glue. The only one I don't use regularly is hide glue. Once you're familiar with their working properties and how those can be best applied to particular tasks, then each has pros and cons that need to be worked with/around.

    I like epoxy glue best for gluing thin veneers and multiple laminates. Epoxy has a much longer working time (depending on concoction) and does not slide around as much as titebond. In addition, epoxy doesn't require much pressure on the glue joint for a good join, so it can be more forgiving in that regard. Working with it can be a pain if you're not prepared, but lots of disposable gloves and measuring cups, wax paper covered surfaces, and spreading tools at the ready, and it's pretty even with the titebond mess. Cost is higher, yes, but you can save by purchasing larger quantities if you're planning multiple builds. :)
  18. shodan


    Mar 23, 2005
    Central Midwest
    Someone chime in here, but I was under the impression that Titebond II and III didn't release well with heat, so they took a back seat in building and repair. But Titebond I would release and clean up if there was a problem in assembly. Not that I'd know anything about that...
  19. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Hot hide glue.
    heatheroo1 and Means2nEnd like this.
  20. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    Titebond I, as others have indicated. i am a big fan of hide glue myself but it is not good for every situation.

    I have used CA to do a multilamiate neck through build 24 years ago, and it worked and has stayed together, but I can't in good conscience recommend it.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Apr 14, 2021

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