Does Hot Glue Work on Wood?

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If you’re a woodworking enthusiast, you may wonder if hot glue is an excellent adhesive choice for your projects. It’s a versatile and easy-to-use adhesive, but its strength and durability on wood surfaces may be a concern.

In this article, our woodworkers will share if hot glue does work on wood, along with its pros and cons and the best alternatives. Keep reading!

About Hot Glue

Hot glue is a thermoplastic adhesive melted in a glue gun and applied in a liquid state to bond surfaces together. Once applied, the hot glue solidifies as it cools and creates a strong bond.

The strength of hot glue depends on several factors, including the type and thickness of the materials being bonded, the amount of adhesive applied, the sticky surface tension, and the temperature at which the glue was applied.

Generally speaking, hot glue is a strong adhesive that can hold up to 2-3 pounds per square inch (PSI) of pressure.

hot glue on wood

Will Hot Glue Work on Wooden Surfaces and Other Woodworking Projects?

Hot glue can be used to bond wood and is commonly used in woodworking projects. It can be an excellent option for bonding irregular, porous or rough surfaces, such as when attaching decorations or embellishments to a wood project.

It can also be helpful for temporarily holding wooden pieces together during the assembly process, as it sets quickly and can be easily removed if needed. You can use hot glue for a wide range of woodworking and other purposes, including:

Temporarily Joins Wood Pieces

Hot glue offers a simple and effective way to create temporary bonds between wooden parts and various materials. 

By applying small dots of hot glue along the joining edges, you can securely connect the pieces. Allow the hot glue to cure and set, ensuring a stable and reliable temporary hold.

Fill Cracks and Holes

Filling gaps, cracks, knots, holes, and the like with hot glue is another inexpensive option. However, woodworkers don’t typically use this; instead, they opt for wood putty or wood filler to achieve a smooth surface.

Combines With Wood Glue

Does hot glue work when combined with wood glue? When two boards need to be secured before being clamped together, the mixture produces durable joints as it is a more robust adhesive. However, this is optional since either glue will do the job. The same as wood glue, corner clamps are necessary, which helps to bond wood together. 

Gorilla Wood Glue

Easy Sawing

Sawing through numerous boards of wood simultaneously is much simpler when hot glue is used. The adhesive prevents the board from shifting when sawing, allowing for more precise cuts.

Small Wood-Binding Tasks

You can use hot glue to bind two tiny sections of softwood, like popsicle sticks. Hot glue creates a strong, clear, and clean joint. In addition, there’s no need to worry about the wood buckling because it is not likely to be under substantial weight.

Fix Softer Materials to Wood

Do you have to fasten paper, fabric, or other delicate material onto a wooden surface? Hot glue is an alternative if you’d like not to make holes in the material with tacks or smaller placeholders.

combining two woods using hot glue

Improve Routing

Routing can also be simplified with the help of hot glue. After applying hot glue to the workspace and waiting a few minutes to dry, you may begin using it. Secure the part to the semi-dry adhesive and start routing.

Hot Glue or Hot Melt: Which is Better?

Hot glue does work on wood and is better suited for applications where a quick and easy bond is needed for materials such as paper and cardboard. Hot melt adhesives are better suited for applications with a stronger bond for materials such as plastics, wood, and metal.

Hot Melt

Hot Glue

Applied via pouring

Applied via hot glue gun

Requires melting process

Less preparation

Hot melt glue is derived from Urea Formaldehyde

It is derived from thermoplastic polymers with wax.

It’s challenging to re-melt a hot melt glue

A glue stick can re-melt when the glue gun’s temperature is high

Used to join a couple of pieces of wood permanently. Wood fibers and hot melt are used for wood boards.

Glue sticks and glue guns can fill holes temporarily and fasten non-wood parts to wooden structures.

Pros and Cons of Hot Melt



What is Polyurethane PUR Hot Melt? Does it Save On Construction Costs?

hot melt on wood

Polyurethane (PUR) hot melt adhesive is a thermoplastic adhesive commonly used in construction applications. It is a reactive adhesive that contains a combination of isocyanate and polyol [1], which react when heated to form a strong bond.

While it may have a higher upfront cost than other types of adhesives, it can help reduce construction costs in the long term by saving on time, labor, and material costs and by extending the lifespan of building materials.

Infinity PUR WWW3

A versatile and easy-to-use adhesive that offers good adhesion and thermal stability. Its long open time of up to 5 minutes allows for greater precision and flexibility in bonding, which can help improve the quality of DIY projects.

Infinity PUR WWW60

A high-performance adhesive that offers strong adhesion, thermal stability, and resistance to moisture and solvents. Its open time and setting time are 60 seconds.

Infinity Bond SuperPUR 180

Another high-performance adhesive that offers strong adhesion, fast curing time, an open time of 180 seconds, and resistance to moisture and solvents.

How to Use a Hot Glue Gun on Wood

hot glue gun on wood

So, how hot glue can be used on different  types of wood joints? Simply avoid using too much glue. Dab on a small amount at a time when applying the glue. Utilize a glue gun to melt the glue and applies it uniformly for a clean, professional finish.

Make sure the nozzle on your glue gun is big enough and that you have a quality hot glue product or glue sticks.

How Long Will It Take for Hot Glue to Dry on Wood?

When used on a wood-to-wood surface, wood glue dries within minutes. Once dispensed from a glue gun, hot glue begins to dry, and porous materials quickly dry.

However, this does not negate the fact that it dries rapidly on smooth surfaces; instead, it merely highlights that the porous nature of those surfaces facilitates drying, adhesion, and application.

Wood Glue vs Hot Glue: Which is Stronger?

Both wood glue and hot glue can provide strong bonding for different materials, including wood. Wood glue is likely the better option if you work on a woodworking project requiring a robust and durable bond, which means you do not have to be worried about hot glue peel.

Hot glue works on wood with a weight of several pounds per square inch of the bonded area, but this can vary depending on the specific conditions. It is best for quick projects or attaching non-porous materials.

Will Hot Glue Work on Balsa Wood? How About on Pine?

gluing balsa wood

Yes, it can work on small wood pieces of both balsa wood and pine, but the strength of the bond may vary depending on the quality of the adhesive, the surface area of the bond, and the conditions in which the glue is used.

Hot glue will not create as strong of a bond if the weight of the Balsa wood pieces or Pine pieces is substantial.

Will Hot Glue Work On Rubber? What are the Best Glue Alternatives?

According to our tests, hot glue may work on some types of rubber, but it’s not an ideal adhesive for bonding rubber because it’s a non-porous material. In addition, the dried glue can become brittle over time, which may cause the bond to break apart.

The best glue alternatives for bonding rubber include cyanoacrylate glue (super glue), two-part epoxy, and silicone adhesive.

Will Hot Glue Work on Painted and Damaged Wood?

termite damaged floor

Yes, hot glue works best on water-based painted wood and any damaged wood. However, the hot glue bond strength may be affected by the wood surface condition and the paint quality.

Remember that constant gluing and re-gluing of painted surfaces might reduce the paint’s quality, leading to the eventual need to scrape it off.

Will a Gorilla Hot Glue Work on Wooden Surfaces?

Gorilla Hot Glue can attach two wood parts, but this hot glue connection won’t be as sturdy as one created with nails or screws.

Can You Bond Metal to Wood Using Hot Glue?

Hot glue does work on wood to metal, but it’s best used on thinner or light metals. You should not use this bonding agent if you are joining wood pieces that are subjected to excessive pressure or weight.

hot gluing wood

What’s The Strongest Glue For Bonding Metal To Metal?

Epoxy adhesives help join metal parts together. Epoxy glues are a two-in-one product that bonds and then hardens. They can withstand extreme conditions and are impervious to water, heat, chemicals, sunlight, and humidity.

Using Hot Glue When Woodworking: Tips & Tricks

Opt for the Right Finish

Filling holes and cracks in wood with hot glue requires a finish that will not disintegrate the glue. Dissolving glue after an applied finish might change the wood’s color, prevent the finish from curing properly, or expose previously closed fractures and holes.

Use Hot Glue for Exterior Projects

Hot glue melts, and hot glue guns are both suitable for usage in the great outdoors because of their water resistance. Unless you reside in a region with extraordinarily cold or hot weather, hot glue can be used on any outdoor job where conventional bonds would fail.

Bond Surfaces Right After Applying Glue

Hot glue dries quickly; therefore, if you want to attach two wooden surfaces immediately after applying the glue. Good adhesion is difficult if you wait even a minute before attaching the surfaces.

gluing wood

Sanding Before Applying Hot Glue

The bond between wood pieces can be strengthened by sanding them to a flat surface before joining them.

Using Hot Glue for Hinges

Does hot glue work on hinges? Yes. The best hot glue might be a great alternative to screws when working with hinges on softwood.

Using Hot Glue for Pictures

Hot gluing frames with portraits and mirrors is a terrific idea. In these cases, you shouldn’t use anything that will penetrate the material; thus, a sturdy adhesive is ideal, provided it can hold the load.

Top Hot Glues for Wood

1. Power adhesive 7718

A high-strength adhesive designed for bonding a variety of materials, it can stick light metal to wood, plastics, and composites. It is resistant to impact, and vibration, making it ideal for use in challenging industrial applications. 

A suitable adhesive for a reliable, long-lasting bond that can withstand even the most demanding environments.

power adhesive glue

2. Power Adhesive Tec Bond 23

A high-performance hot melt glue that is designed for use in a variety of applications, including woodworking and product assembly. It has a long open time allowing for precise positioning of parts before it sets. It is also resistant to water and most chemicals, making it ideal for wood projects in demanding environments.

3. AD Tech 962

A versatile, all-purpose adhesive that can bond a wide range of materials, including wood, metal, plastics, ceramics, and more. Its fast-setting formula provides a durable bond in seconds, making it ideal for various industrial and household applications. 

It dries clear and is water-resistant, making it suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

AD Tech 962 glue

Alternatives for Hot Glue On Wood

The most common wood glue is PVA glue, also known as white or school glue. PVA wood glue is easy to use, dries clear, and is relatively strong. However, our experts do not recommend it for oil-based painted wood or greasy wood.

HPVA or High-Performance PVA, such as Gorilla Glue, is a type of PVA glue with higher solids content than traditional PVA glue, making this good wood glue stronger and more durable.

Epoxy is another strong adhesive that combines two parts – a resin and a hardener – to create a strong bond. Epoxy is waterproof and can be used on various materials, including wood.

Hide glue or animal glue, is a traditional adhesive made from the hides of animals and is non-toxic and reversible. It is ideal for antique restoration and other projects where reversibility is essential.

preparing hot glue

Finally, CA (cyanoacrylate) glue, also known as super glue, is a fast-drying adhesive that is ideal for small projects or for bonding non-porous surfaces. However, it can be brittle and unsuitable for heavy-duty applications.

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Hot glue does work on wood and can be an effective adhesive for bonding it to other materials. However, selecting the correct type of hot glue is essential, as some formulations may need a stronger bond for heavy-duty applications.

We also recommend using a hot glue gun with a high wattage to ensure the glue heats up quickly and maintains a consistent temperature.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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