Differences Between Titebond Glues

Article - August 4, 2010

Here’s a fundamental question from Jason. He asks:

Hey Marc I have a really dumb question for you. Is there any real significant difference between Titebond Original, II, and III wood glues? Is one really better than another? Thanks for your time.

Not a dumb question at all Jason. Everyone has this question at one point or another. There are actually a number of differences between the three glue types if you dig into the details. But in my opinion, there are only a few factors that really make a difference to the average woodworker.

Price:

The first one you probably already noticed is the price. Looking at Rockler’s current pricing on quarts, we have $8.59 for Titebond Original, $10.49 for Titebond II, and $13.99 for Titebond III.

Water Resistance:

The second difference is water resistance. Titebond Original is for interior use only, Titebond II is water-resistant, and Titebond III is waterproof (well, technically its MORE water-resistant). So if you have a project that will be exposed to light water (cutting boards, outdoor furniture, etc..), Titebond II will suffice. If you have a project that will be submerged for short periods or exposed to ambient moisture for extended periods, consider Titebond III.

Open Time:

The third difference is open time. Titebond III offers twice the open time of Titebond II and Original. So for those complex glue-ups, Titebond III would be a good choice. As an aside, you might also look at Titebond Extend if you need even more open time.

Strength:

Strength-wise, there are some differences as well. But in my opinion, not enough to justify paying the cost difference between the three varieties. Check out the PSI strength ratings below.

I recently had someone give me crap for using TB III on a project when all I needed was Titebond Orginal. And then I used TB II on a project where TB III would have been stronger. Well I don’t know about you guys, but I am not about to stock three different types of PVA glue just for the sake of a few hundred theoretical PSI. A properly-fit joint with the appropriate amount of pressure will create an incredibly strong and reliable bond using any of the three glues.

So bottom line is for indoor projects, all you really need is Titebond Original. If you occasionally make outdoor projects and cutting boards, stock up on Titebond II instead. And if budget isn’t a factor and you don’t mind paying significantly more, you may as well just go with Titebond III and cover all the bases.

And speaking of Titebond glues, you can pick up all of your glue supplies and accessories in our Amazon Store. Its a great way to get the stuff you need while helping support The Wood Whisperer!

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