Sometimes we at Good Millwork are asked how to fasten moldings to their proper place. The answer is usually people fasten them with glue and then use brad nails to hold them in place until the glue dries. The next question is usually about what type of glue to use. That depends.
Traditionally, glue was made in one of two ways. Hide glue was made by boiling the hide, bones, and other pieces of an animal, usually an ox or cow, until it was a thick, gelatinous mess. This usually took several days and smelled to high heaven. This glue melted at 90-100 degrees F, so if a chair made with it had a broken leg, a little heat could be applied to the joint, the broken leg replaced, and more glue applied to hold the new leg in place. On the other hand, in Texas and other states where it gets hot, all your furniture would fall apart along about March.
A variant of the hide glue was fish hide glue. The dog fish was preferred for this, but any fish would do. This glue was the preferred glue of the intarsia artists. Again, it melts at relatively low temperatures and that can be a problem.
The other traditional glue was made from milk. Casein, one of the milk proteins, is the active ingredient. The glue dries fairly quickly and the joint is permanent. No amount of heat or solvent will open the joint. It must be sawn apart. On the other hand, it doesn’t fail just because it is summer. The white glue we used as kids was a type of casein glue, and the white or tan wood glues sold now are similar but more permanent. This is the easiest glue to use.
Epoxy glue is synthetic and bonds by a chemical reaction. The joint is permanent. When epoxies first came out, you had two tubes of stuff you mixed just before you put them on the wood and held it in place. That was a nuisance. Epoxies were also meant for non-porous surfaces, such as metal. Now, though, you can get glues that are epoxy type glues for wood. They come in one bottle and you just smear them on the wood. However, some of them foam and the foam will mar the appearance of the finished product.
We do not necessarily recommend one glue over another. However, now you have a little information on which to base your decision of what glue to use. We will be happy to make the moldings for you to try out the different glues on. Just give us a call today.
Have Questions? Contact us or call (888) 209-9307