How to Glue Two Pieces of Wood Together

Anthony Smith

Bonding two pieces of wood together requires you to follow the right protocol for best results. You might feel that wood glue is simply not that effective, but in fact the problem lies with improper application or preparation.

Take proper care, have the right tools on hand and allow the proper drying time to create a lasting bond.

  1. Ensure that the temperature of your work area is at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit and free of dust.

  2. Smooth out the two surfaces that will be glued together so that they fit together correctly all along their length. Cut or sand these surfaces as needed to fix any gaps between the two pieces of wood. Do not depend on the wood glue or clamps to correct these problems, as this will most likely cause the bond to fail.

  3. Clean the surfaces to be joined thoroughly before applying any glue. If the surfaces have any kind of wood finish or other coating, such as oil or wax, sand them thoroughly until you reach bare wood. Coatings left on the wood will result in a weak or failed bond. Remove all sanding dust with a clean, dry rag.

  4. Spread a thin layer of glue onto both surfaces so they are completely and evenly covered. A disposable foam brush helps you to spread the glue evenly. Keep in mind that just adding more glue will not make the bond stronger; too much glue will actually weaken it.

  5. Align the two pieces of wood and clamp them together immediately after applying the glue. Clamp them firmly, but do not apply too much force, or an excess of glue will be squeezed out from between the two surfaces. A good rule of thumb is to tighten the clamps so that just a few small beads of glue squeeze out of the sides of the pieces of wood.

  6. Allow these drops of glue to dry for 20 minutes, and then scrape them off gently using a putty knife. Do not wipe off this glue with a wet rag. Doing this will often leave a very thin layer of glue on the wood that is only noticeable after the glue has dried. It will then be difficult to remove unless you sand the wood again.

  7. Set the wood aside and allow the glue to cure for at least 24 hours to finish the job.


Face grain surfaces -- along the faces and long edges of milled wood -- bond much better than end grain surfaces -- found at all crosscuts or ends of wood pieces. The strongest glue joints are face grain to face grain; weakest are end grain to end grain. Whenever possible, plan your project so the glued joints have at least some face grain surface area on each piece.

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