Glue Temperature

The time needed to glue up wood in a cold workshop may be twice as long as in one at room temperature. Below certain levels, cold temperatures can weaken joint strength because the glue can't form a continuous film as it dries. If too cold, the glue may not work at all. For yellow aliphatic glues the minimum temp is about 40 degrees F.; for white polyvinyl acetate glues it's about 55.
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Glue Tools

An inexpensive nylon-bristle brush and a few small "acid" brushes that are sold for applying soldering flux can make great tools for spreading glue. Clipping off about half the paint brush bristles will make them stiff enough so they won't slop glue around on board edges or mitered joints.
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Glueing Styrofoam

Styrofoam is a plastic that has been whipped up like a milkshake and then cured that way. That's what makes it light. Like plastic, there are many different formulas for styrofoam. They may contain any combination of styrene, urethane, neoprene or vinyl. For this reason choosing the correct adhesive is not easy. For our tests we used polystyrene which is a composition of styrene, chlorodifluoroethane and ethyl chloride, for those of you who care. The most important things to remember when choosing an adhesive for styrofoam are:
- Never use an adhesive that contains a solvent. It will erode the styrofoam releasing all sorts of toxic fumes.
- Choose adhesives that are suited for not porous materials (remember styrofoams are plastics and plastics are non-porous).
- Never use hot glue directly on to styrofoam. There are some cases when hot glue is an appropriate adhesive, but it should be applied to the material you are bonding the styrofoam to and left to cool a few seconds before contacting the styrofoam. The glue will get lost in the hole that it has burned, and burning plastics releases toxic fumes.
- Remember, a glue is only as strong as the weakest material in the union. Styrofoam is easily broken and has very little tensile strength. In our tests, if the styrofoam broke before the bond, the glue was considered strong enough.
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Glue Types

There are a many choices to make when choosing glue. Here are some of the most common: 1) White glue is the most popular choice for general purpose adhering. It's non-toxic, odorless, nonflammable and dries clear in under an hour. One drawback of white glue is that is has a low resistance to water, so it should not be used for outdoor projects. 2) Yellow carpenter's glue sets quicker and is more resistant to water than white glue. It won't be affected by solvents used in woodworking such as varnish, lacquer, or paint. Yellow glue dries to a translucent finish but can be sanded. 3) Hot-melt glue is applied with a glue gun. It sets almost instantly on wood, metal, cloth, and ceramics. There are several formulas available for you to match to your project. Hot-melt glues, however, do not adhere well to cold surfaces, so make sure that your workpieces are not cold. 4) Instant bonding glue is incredibly strong and sets almost instantly. It is ideal for non-porous surfaces such as glass, certain plastics, ceramics, and metal but can also be used to bond wood and paper as well. If you should accidentally drip some onto your skin, use nail polish remover to dissolve it. Instant bonding glue will dry inside the container very quickly so be sure to tightly replace the glue container's cap as soon as possible.
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Hot Glue Fix

One problem in using older-style pegboard hooks is that they tend to pull out when the tools are removed. One way you can solve the problem is to insert them into the pegboard and use a hot glue gun to fasten them in place. In a minute or so the hooks will be fixed in place, although you will be able to wrestle them loose whenever you want to rearrange your tool storage. Another solution is to buy newer-style hooks that will lock in place with just the turn of a screwdriver.
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Ironing Veneer

If you are gluing veneer to a wood surface, you can use an old clothes iron to help. First use a sponge to wet the face of the veneer so that it won't curl. Next, apply a thin film of glue to both the surface and the underside of the veneer. Then, when the veneer is dry to the touch, use the clothes iron at a high setting to secure the veneer in place.
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Joint Sizing

Glue will soak more into the end grain of wood and can potentially result in starved glue joints. To help prevent this, you can "size" any end grain to be glued with a mixture of glue diluted with water. Dilute just so that when it is applied, glue drops don't form at the lower edges of the wood. Another method, somewhat less effective, is to coat the end grain with full-strength glue, allow it to dry 5 to 10 minutes, then re-coat with glue and assemble.
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Less Expensive Glue

You can cut the cost of wood glue for workshop projects significantly by buying your glue in 1-qt. or larger containers. To make it convenient to use, transfer the glue as you need it from the large bottle to your own squeeze bottles or a glue pot.
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Biscuit Joints

Using thin wood wafers called biscuits can strengthen wood joints by providing more glue bonding area. You can use a biscuit joiner (also called a plate joiner) to cut precision mating slots in boards for the biscuits, which are available in three sizes. Or, to save money you can buy a kit to convert either your router or right-angle grinder. The conversion kits will generally cost about half that of a dedicated biscuit joiner.
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