Wood Glue vs Hot Glue For Woodwork: Pro Advice

When working on a woodworking project, choosing the right adhesive can make all the difference in the final outcome. With so many options available, it can be challenging to determine which one is the best fit for your project. Two of the most commonly used adhesives in woodworking are wood glue and hot glue. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two types of glue and offer guidance on selecting the appropriate adhesive for your needs.

A Bit About Wood Glue

Wood glue, also known as wood adhesive, is specifically designed to bond wood surfaces together, creating a strong and durable joint that can withstand stress and movement.

There are several types of wood glue available, including PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate) glue, epoxy, and polyurethane glue. PVA glue is the most commonly used type of wood glue due to its ease of use and affordability. Epoxy glue is a high-strength adhesive that is suitable for bonding different types of materials, including wood. Polyurethane glue is a waterproof adhesive that can be used for outdoor woodworking projects.

Advantages of Wood Glue

Wood glue offers several advantages over other types of adhesives, such as:

  • Easy to use and apply
  • Strong, durable bond
  • Resistant to heat and moisture
  • Can be sanded and painted over once cured

Disadvantages of Wood Glue

While wood glue is a versatile and reliable adhesive for woodworking projects, it does have some limitations, including:

  • Long curing time compared to hot glue
  • Not suitable for all types of wood
  • May require clamping for optimal bonding
  • May not bond well with non-porous surfaces

Exploring Hot Glue

If you’re looking for an adhesive that can bond almost anything quickly, hot glue might be the solution you need. Hot glue is a type of thermoplastic adhesive that is heated up and applied to the surface you want to bond. The glue cools down quickly and hardens, creating a strong bond.

Hot glue is composed of thermoplastic polymers, which means that it can be melted and remolded multiple times by heating and cooling it repeatedly. This feature makes hot glue an ideal adhesive for a variety of crafts and DIY projects.

Pros of hot glue

One of the main advantages of hot glue is its fast-drying nature. Unlike wood glue, which can take several hours to dry, hot glue cools down and hardens almost instantly. This makes it perfect for projects that require quick and easy bonding solutions.

Moreover, hot glue is versatile and can bond a variety of materials such as wood, plastic, metal, and paper. It can also be used to fill gaps and create 3D effects in crafts and art pieces.

Precautions to take when working with hot glue and limitations

Although hot glue is easy to use, it can cause serious burns if it comes into contact with your skin. Therefore, it is essential to handle hot glue with care and wear protective gloves while working with it.

Also, it is important to note that hot glue may not be suitable for certain woodworking projects that require long-lasting bonds or high resistance to heat and moisture.

To ensure the best results with hot glue, it is recommended to choose the right temperature setting, depending on the materials you are bonding. High-temperature settings are suitable for bonding materials such as wood and metal, while low-temperature settings are ideal for bonding fabric and delicate materials.

Comparing Wood Glue and Hot Glue

When it comes to woodworking projects, selecting the right type of glue is crucial to achieve the desired outcome. Below, we compare the two types of glue in terms of their key characteristics and suitability for different woodworking applications.

Characteristic Wood Glue Hot Glue
Adhesive strength High Low to medium
Flexibility Low Medium to high
Resistance to heat and moisture High Low
Curing time Long Short
Ease of use Can be messy and require clamping Easy to apply and reposition before drying

As seen from the comparison table, wood glue excels in terms of its adhesive strength and resistance to heat and moisture, making it the ideal choice for permanent joinery and outdoor projects. On the other hand, hot glue is more flexible and dries quickly, making it a better option for temporary or decorative applications.

Choosing the Right Glue for Your Project

When selecting the appropriate adhesive for your woodworking project, it is crucial to consider several factors that can affect the success and durability of the joint. Here are some tips on how to choose the right glue for your project:

Type of Wood

Some types of wood, such as oak and maple, are denser and require stronger adhesives than softer woods like pine or cedar. For hardwoods, epoxy or polyurethane glue may be a better choice, while PVA glue works well for softwoods.

Level of Stress

Consider the amount of weight or pressure the joint will bear, as well as any movements or vibrations it may undergo. For high-stress joints, such as chair legs or table tops, a strong wood glue like epoxy or polyurethane may be necessary to ensure a long-lasting bond.

Desired Finish

If you plan to stain or paint the wood after gluing, make sure the adhesive you choose will not affect the finish. Some types of wood glue may discolor or bleed through the finish, while others may not bond well with certain paints or stains. Consider a clear-drying adhesive like PVA glue for a seamless finishing look.

Additional Tips

Before applying any glue, make sure the wood surfaces are clean and dry. Apply the adhesive evenly and clamp the joint firmly until it dries completely. Avoid using too much glue, as it can create a weak bond and cause excess to squeeze out and ruin the finish. Finally, select a high-quality glue brand that is suitable for your specific project needs.


If you are working on a woodworking project that requires a high-strength joint or a long-lasting bond, we recommend using wood glue, particularly PVA or epoxy. If you need a quick and easy fix or are bonding nonporous materials, hot glue is a good option.

Regardless of the glue you choose, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consider the properties of the wood and the requirements of your project. Remember to work in a well-ventilated area and wear proper protective gear, such as gloves and goggles.

With the right glue and proper application, you can achieve beautiful and lasting results in your woodworking projects. Happy crafting!

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