The Difference Between Wood Glue and Regular Glue

A man uses wood glue.

If you've ever found yourself in the glue section of a craft store staring at bottles of wood glue, white glue, craft glue, and super bonding glue, you know that an explanation is in order. Regular white glue is cheaper than wood glue, tempting you to use it on a wood project. Yes, you can use it, but will it hold wood? The answer is no, it won't. The article that follows will help to shed some light on the differences (and similarities) between wood glue and regular white glue.

Different Wood Glues

The selection of glues is vast, each having a specific application. Common wood glues include:

  • Epoxy - this is a standard glue like rubber cement which cures at various temperatures
  • Polyurethane - this glue bonds to nearly anything and is waterproof
  • Formaldehyde - this includes urea, resorcinol, and phenol which all are cheap, durable, and can withstand abuse
  • Hide - this glue is made from animal hide and is often associated with white glue (which is not made from animals)
  • Cyanoacrylate - this is the super bonding glue that can bond anything
  • Hot Melt - this is the stuff you find in glue guns which can be used on wood as well as fabric

That's a lot of glue but the one we are concerned with is polyvinyl acetate which is commonly referred to as craft glue. This is a yellow and brownish glue.

Normal White Glue

White glue.

This glue is made from all natural products and is great for small craft products. It is even safe to eat which makes it popular in daycare facilities, pre-schools, and kindergartens. White glue dries clear over time but does not have the cohesion needed to bond wood.

Yellow Wood Glue

Wood glue is a bit of a misnomer as craftsmen do not use it to bond wood together. They use it as a filler and it needs to be clamped in order to dry and do its job. It's actually used as supplemental support to the structure. It is primarily used in crafting to adhere cardboard or balsa wood together.