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How Long Does Wood Glue Take to Dry?


From PVA to polyurethane-based adhesives, there’s no shortage of wood glues on the market.

There’s also no shortage of things that set these glues apart, including the color they dry, whether or not they’re waterproof, and their overall strength once fully cured.

Perhaps one of the most important considerations, however, is how long these types of wood glue take to dry, especially if you’re in a hurry and want to forego countless hours of clamping or you need a little extra time for a particularly complex glue-up.

A common question, therefore, is how long do the various types of wood glue take to dry, and that’s what we’ll be answering in this article.

CA glues dry the fastest, setting in seconds and reaching full strength in 8+ hours. PVA wood glues dry slower and are usually workable for 10-15 minutes and fully cured in 24 hours. Many factors affect drying time, including temperature, ventilation, moisture content, and how much glue you use.

Keep reading on as we’ll be clearing up some of the confusing jargon regarding wood glue drying times, listing the drying times from popular brands, including Titebond and Elmer’s, and showing you how you can speed up the drying time of wood glue.

Wood Glue Drying Times – Key Terminology

Are you struggling to tell the difference between a glue’s open, closed, and total assembly time? Don’t know the difference between fixture time and initial cure time?

Don’t worry; here’s a quick glossary of the key terms when it comes to wood glue drying times:

Open Assembly Time

A glue’s open assembly time tells you how much time you have between applying the glue and putting the glued pieces in their final position.

Longer open assembly times are helpful on complicated projects because it provides more time to place everything correctly before the glue sets.

Open assembly time is sometimes referred to as open working time.

Closed Assembly Time

A glue’s closed assembly time tells you how much time you have to reposition two glued surfaces that have been joined before the glue sets.

Longer closed assembly times are helpful on complicated projects as it provides more time to correct any mistakes before the glue sets.

Closed assembly time is sometimes referred to as set time.

Total Assembly Time

A glue’s total assembly time is the sum of its open assembly time and closed assembly time.

Therefore, the total assembly time is the amount of time between first applying the glue and correctly positioning the pieces you’re gluing.

Clamp Time

The amount of time you should keep the clamping pressure on whatever you’re gluing.

Titebond, for example, recommends that you should leave an unstressed joint clamped for between 30-60 minutes, while stressed joints should be clamped for a full 24-hours.

Initial Cure Time

Typically applying to CA glues, initial cure time is the amount of time required for partial strength to be achieved by the glue, allowing for light or delicate handling.

Initial cure time is sometimes referred to as fixture time, and it is said to have been reached at the point where two surfaces that have been bonded together can no longer be “wiggled“.

Total Bonding Time

Sometimes referred to as fully dried time or full cure time, a glue’s total bonding time is the duration needed to achieve all of its advertised properties.

The chemical reaction in the glue is complete, and its ultimate strength is achieved once the total bonding time has passed. Stressing or applying pressure to a glue joint is not recommended before this point.


Different Types of Wood Glue – How Long They Typically Take to Dry

Here is a general overview of the various types of wood glue that is available and how long each one usually takes to dry:

  • PVA Wood Glues
  • PVA wood glues are a modified version of standard PVA craft glue. Both types come from the polyvinyl acetate polymer, but PVA wood glue features several modifications that provide various benefits when it comes to woodworking, for example, a stronger bond and faster setting time.

    Check out our article on the benefits of PVA wood glue for more information.

    Faster drying PVA wood glues typically need to be clamped in less than 10 minutes, although slower-drying variants are available that can extend this to around 25-30 minutes. The majority of PVA-based wood glues need 24-hours to reach full strength.

  • Aliphatic Resin Wood Glues
  • Like PVA wood glues, aliphatic resins are another type of modified PVA glue made using the polyvinyl acetate polymer. These glues are sometimes referred to as carpenter’s glues or yellow glues because many varieties dry yellow (although, confusingly, we’ve found that some do dry brown, too).

    Check out our article on what color wood glue dries for more information.

    Because aliphatic resins are PVA-based, they have similar drying times to PVA wood glues. Aliphatic resins, therefore, generally need to be clamped in 10-15 minutes, with slower-drying varieties extending this to around 25-30 minutes. Most aliphatic resin wood glues need 24-hours to reach full strength.

  • Cyanoacrylate Wood Glues
  • Often referred to as CA glues or instant glues by woodworkers and crazy glue or super glue by DIYers and hobbyists, cyanoacrylate adhesives are well-known for their fast drying times.

    They’re often available in a variety of thicknesses, with thicker CA glues being useful for gap filling as well as bonding.

    CA wood glues are usually the fastest drying. CA glues typically set in anywhere from a couple of seconds to 30 seconds to provide a strong initial ‘grab’, but require upwards of 8-hours to achieve full strength.

  • Polyurethane Wood Glues
  • Polyurethane glues are usually multi-purpose, sticking everything from wood to metal. One of the biggest benefits of polyurethane glues is that most varieties are waterproof, making them ideal for outdoor projects.

    Faster drying polyurethane wood glues typically need to be clamped in less than 10-15 minutes, although slower-drying variants are available that can extend this to around 30+ minutes. Most polyurethane wood glues need to be clamped for at least 2-hours and require 24-hours to reach full strength.

  • Epoxy
  • Several different types of epoxies are available, but the most popular types are two-part, consisting of a hardener and a resin mix. Epoxies can be used to bond various materials, not just wood, and they have excellent chemical and water resistance that makes them a good option for outdoor applications.

    Rapid setting epoxy wood glues can start to dry in as little as one minute and reaching handling strength in 5-10 minutes. Slower drying variants are available that offer longer working times of 30+ minutes. Most epoxy glues require 24-hours to reach full strength.

  • Hide Glues
  • Unlike most glues on the market, which are chemical-based, hide glue is a natural type of wood glue typically made from the bones or hide of cattle. Because of this, hide glues are non-toxic while still providing a reasonable degree of water and chemical resistance.

    Hide glues start to set relatively quickly, and the majority of hide glues should be clamped in less than 20 minutes. It takes around 24-hours for a hide glue to reach full strength.

  • Hot Glues
  • Hot glues, or hot melt adhesives, come in a stick that melts when pushed through the nozzle of a hot glue gun. A significant disadvantage of hot glue is its poor heat resistance, which causes it to return to liquid form when reheated. Because of this, they’re probably better-suited to hobbyists than woodworkers.

    Hot glue typically remains workable for less than 60 seconds, depending on how much adhesive is applied. Hot glue can achieve 90% strength in around one minute and full strength in around five minutes.


How Long Does Gorilla Wood Glue Take to Dry?

Gorilla Wood GlueDrying Times
gorilla wood glue product image
Gorilla Wood Glue
Open Assembly Time:
5-10 minutes
Clamp Time:
20-30 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
gorilla wood glue clear product image
Gorilla Glue Clear
Open Assembly Time:
5-10 minutes
Clamp Time:
2 hours
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
gorilla wood glue ultimate product image
Gorilla Wood Glue Ultimate
Open Assembly Time:
10-15 minutes
Clamp Time:
20-30 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
gorilla glue original bottle image
Gorilla Glue Original
Open Assembly Time:
10-15 minutes
Clamp Time:
1-2 hours
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours

How Long Does Titebond Wood Glue Take to Dry?

Titebond Wood GlueDrying Times
titebond instant wood adhesive thin product image
Titebond Instant Wood Adhesive (Thin)
Handling Time:
5 seconds
Set Time:
3 seconds
Initial Cure Time:
30 seconds
Full Cure Time:
8 hours
titebond instant bond wood adhesive medium product image
Titebond Instant Wood Adhesive (Medium)
Handling Time:
7 seconds
Set Time:
5 seconds
Initial Cure Time:
30 seconds
Full Cure Time:
8 hours
titebond instant wood adhesive thick product image
Titebond Instant Wood Adhesive (Thick)
Handling Time:
10 seconds
Set Time:
8 seconds
Initial Cure Time:
30 seconds
Full Cure Time:
8 hours
titebond instant wood adhesive gel bottle image
Titebond Instant Wood Adhesive (Gel)
Handling Time:
30 seconds
Set Time:
20 seconds
Cure Time:
60 seconds
Full Cure Time:
8 hours
titebond speed set wood glue bottle image
Titebond Speed Set Wood Glue
Open Assembly Time:
2-4 minutes
Total Assembly Time:
8-10 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
titebond no run no drip glue product image
Titebond No-Run, No-Drip Wood Glue
Open Assembly Time:
3-5 minutes
Total Assembly Time:
10-15 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
titebond quick and thick glue product image
Titebond Quick & Thick Multi-Surface Glue
Open Assembly Time:
3-5 minutes
Total Assembly Time:
10-15 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
titebond 2 premium wood glue product image
Titebond II Premium
Open Assembly Time:
3-5 minutes
Total Assembly Time:
10-15 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
titebond melamine wood glue product image
Titebond Melamine Glue
Open Assembly Time:
5 minutes
Total Assembly Time:
10-15 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
titebond translucent wood glue product image
Titebond Translucent Wood Glue
Open Assembly Time:
5 minutes
Total Assembly Time:
10-15 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
titebond all purpose white glue product image
Titebond All Purpose White Glue
Open Assembly Time:
5 minutes
Total Assembly Time:
10-15 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
titebond white glue product image
Titebond White Glue
Open Assembly Time:
5 minutes
Total Assembly Time:
10-15 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
titebond original wood glue product image
Titebond Original
Open Assembly Time:
4-6 minutes
Total Assembly Time:
10-15 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
titebond 3 ultimate wood glue product image
Titebond III Ultimate
Open Assembly Time:
8-10 minutes
Total Assembly Time:
20-25 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
titebond genuine hide glue product image
Titebond Genuine Hide Glue
Open Assembly Time:
10 minutes
Total Assembly Time:
20-30 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
titebond extend wood glue product image
Titebond Extend Wood Glue
Open Assembly Time:
15 minutes
Total Assembly Time:
20-25 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
titebond 2 extend wood glue product image
Titebond II Extend Wood Glue
Open Assembly Time:
15 minutes
Total Assembly Time:
20-25 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
titebond polyurethane liquid glue product image
Titebond Polyurethane Liquid Glue
Open Assembly Time:
30 minutes
Total Assembly Time:
45 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
6 hours

How Long Does Elmer’s Wood Glue Take to Dry?

Elmer's Wood GlueDrying Times
elmers carpenters wood glue product image
Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Glue
Open Assembly Time:
10-15 minutes
Clamp Time:
30 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
elmers carpenters wood glue max product image
Elmer’s Carpenters Wood Glue Max
Open Assembly Time:
10-15 minutes
Clamp Time:
30 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
elmers probond advanced product image
Elmer’s ProBond Advanced
Open Assembly Time:
8-10 minutes
Clamp Time:
2+ hours
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
elmers glue all wood glue bottle image
Elmer's Glue-All
Open Assembly Time:
30 minutes
Clamp Time:
35 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
12 hours
elmers glue all max wood glue bottle image
Elmer's Glue-All Max
Open Assembly Time:
30 minutes
Clamp Time:
1-4 hours
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours

How Long Does Evo Stik Wood Glue Take to Dry?

Evo Stik Wood GlueDrying Times
evo stik interior wood adhesive product image
Evo Stik Interior Wood Adhesive
Open Assembly Time:
5-10 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours
evo stik exterior wood adhesive product image
Evo Stik Exterior Wood Adhesive
Open Assembly Time:
5-10 minutes
Total Bonding Time Needed:
24 hours

How to Make Wood Glue Dry Faster

In a hurry?

Here are some handy tips and techniques for making wood glue dry faster:

1. Use a Faster Setting Glue

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a CA glue (or super glue, as it’s often called) dries much quicker than a PVA wood glue.

As we’ve shown above, though, there’s also plenty of variety between how quickly various glues in the same category dry.

Because of this, you can almost guarantee that there will be a faster-drying alternative to whichever type of glue you’re using, where setting speed is an absolute priority.

Don’t just pay attention to how long a glue takes to fully dry, though.

There are plenty of other factors to look at when it comes to how quickly a glue dries. For example, there’s open assembly time and closed assembly time which we discuss at the start of this article, and many others, too.

2. Don’t Dilute the Glue

During the drying process, a wood glue’s moisture is diffused into the wood or evaporated into the air.

It is possible to dilute water-based glues (for example, PVA glues) to make them last longer or less viscous (in other words, runnier), with Titebond recommending adding a maximum of five percent water, for example.

Doing so, however, will increase the amount of time it takes for the glue to dry, as it’ll take longer for the increased moisture to diffuse into the wood or evaporate into the air.

Because of this, it’s important not to dilute your wood glue if you want it to dry faster.

3. Don’t Apply Glue to a Wet Surface

It is possible to apply wood glue to wet wood, and in some cases, it is the recommended approach.

Polyurethane wood glues, for example, are moisture activated, meaning a degree of surface moisture is needed, or else the adhesive will not start bonding.

With other types of wood glue, for example, PVA, a wet surface will only increase the amount of time it takes for the glue to dry.

As mentioned above, these glue’s dry when their moisture is diffused into the wood or evaporated into the air, and applying them to a wet surface will only delay this process.

Titebond has stated that moisture levels above 10% can increase the drying time for some of their more popular water-based glues, for example, while a moisture level above 16% could stop them from drying altogether.

4. Apply Heat

Most glues have a recommended working temperature, with Titebond 3’s being over 47°F (just over 8°C), for example.

To achieve a good bond, you need to ensure that the glue you’re using, the air in the location you’re working, and the material you’re bond are all above this recommended minimum working temperature.

Increasing the temperature (within reason) won’t just increase the strength of the bond; it will also speed up how quickly the glue dries.

You could do this by working outside in direct sunlight, for example, or by switching on radiators or applying gentle heat using a space heater if working inside. We’ve used a hairdryer from time to time, too, when we’ve been in a real hurry!

5. Keep It Ventilated

Working in a well-ventilated area isn’t just a good idea for your safety when working with wood glue; it could also help the adhesive dry faster.

The more air the glue is exposed to, the faster the moisture in the glue will evaporate, and so the quicker it will set.

Opening a few windows to let a breeze in could do the trick, or you could try setting a fan in front of whatever you’re gluing to speed up the process.

6. Less Is More

A glue dries and becomes stronger as it cures.

Curing is the process whereby a chemical reaction in the glue creates stronger linkages in its chemical substance.

The more glue you use, the longer this process takes, and so the slower the adhesive dries.

That’s why it’s essential to use less glue if you want it to dry faster.

7. Use an Accelerator

If you’re using cyanoacrylate glue (i.e. a CA glue or super glue), you can use an accelerator to speed up the curing process for a faster setting time.

One such example is Titebond’s Instant Bond Accelerator, which, when used with one of their Instant Bond wood glues, improves these glues’ already pretty rapid drying times when applied from the handy aerosol can.


Final Remarks

Many factors influence how long it takes for wood glue to dry.

Firstly, different types of wood glue dry at different rates. For example, a cyanoacrylate, or CA glue, will always dry faster than a PVA-based wood adhesive.

It’s important to remember that different wood glues under the same category will also dry at different rates. For example, Titebond II Premium has less than half of the open assembly time (how long you have to get glued pieces in their final position) of Titebond III Ultimate, despite both types of glue being PVA-based.

Other factors also influence the drying speed of wood glue, including its moisture content, the moisture content of the wood you’re applying it to, and the temperature of the adhesive, wood, and the ambient air of the environment where you’re using the glue.

We’ve found that applying heat, for example, from a hairdryer and ventilating the glue using a fan can drastically improve the drying time of wood glue.

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