Clues about Glues

Which glues for which jobs and why!

It should be clear that matching the right glue to the job is one of the most important factors in choosing a glue. There isn’t one all-purpose glue for all woodworking jobs, so most artists keep several for different tasks.


Elmer’s and Titebond.

These are readily available at all hardware stores. They are usually white or yellow, but can be found in a dark walnut color also. These glues can be applied alone into cracks and weak spots then clamped together to bond and strengthen loose splits that are important to your sculpture.

Work the glue deep into the area that needs repair. You might use a dental tool or fine pick to make sure that the glue is spread uniformly. Be sure to clamp or tie them strongly, then leave to dry at least 24 hours. Rubber bands can be used as clamps.

Another method for use of these glues is to mix them into a paste or putty using wood sawdust. The glue and sawdust should be a color that blends with the wood of your sculpture. There must be NO sandpaper grit debris in your sawdust mixture. It will not burnish if there is. Shop sawdust is the best, and if you cannot get the right color dust, then add water-based acrylic paint and blend the color with the glue. Again, allow it to harden 24 hours at least before sanding your finish.

On very thin or “shardy” pieces the artist can first wet down the whole piece of wood, then paint it with diluted glue (1/2 glue to 1/2 water) allow to dry and then begin work on your piece. These water-based glues allow for easy cleanup with soap and water and they are the most used glues for sculpture repair.


JBWeld, Loctite, Titebond, PC etc.

We often use these to attach our sculpture to its base.
Epoxy resins typically require a precise mix of two components which form a third chemical. Depending on the properties required, the ratio may be anything from 1:1 or over 10:1, but in every case they must be mixed exactly.

Apply epoxy to the areas that need bonding, leaving a bit of the mixture on a piece of wax paper. When the bit of glue on the wax paper is hard the glue on the sculpture should be hard as well.

Arline De Palma