Liquid Nails vs. Wood Glue

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Which is better: The good old wood glue, or the Liquid Nails brand glue? While they both are extremely versatile adhesives and great for numerous types of projects, they’re not 100% identical. The two not only feature different strengths, but also varying drying times and cleanup methods. 

As the name suggests, wood glue is made for bonding pieces of wood together, and requires a porous surface for the best strength. Although it’s a fairly versatile adhesive, the use is generally limited to furniture and other smaller pieces of woodwork. It’s also quite safe, and some products are even rated for food-based usage. Liquid Nails, on the other hand, is offered in a vast amount of varieties, suitable for bonding all types of materials together, but some varieties emit fumes and require extensive cleaning to get them off the skin.

About Liquid Nails:

Liquid Nails Extreme Heavy Duty construction adhesive in a tube

Find Liquid Nails on Amazon

Liquid Nails is a well known brand in construction adhesives, found at most hardware stores across the country. In contrast to wood glue you can get many kinds of Liquid Nails, all suitable for different materials and requirements. Their website showcases more than 60 products at the time of writing, and you can get adhesives for indoor as well as outdoor use.

Pros – Extremely easy to apply, adheres to mixed surfaces as well as wooden surfaces, very strong, long working time (up to 15 minutes), long-lasting durability due to a flexible bond, great choice for any project inside or outside.

Cons – Takes 7 days to reach maximum strength, some varieties have solvent-based ingredients that emit fumes until they dry up and therefore require ventilation, solvents are flammable and toxic prior to drying (except latex-based varieties).

About wood glue:

Elmer's E7310 Carpenter's Wood Glue Max bottle of wood glue

Find wood glue on Amazon

Wood glue is the go-to solution for any purposes, spanding from furniture to small wooden items. It’s extremely easy to work with, most varieties are non-toxic and wash off with soap and water. Glued areas require no more than 15-20 minutes of drying time, and are generally completely cured to maximum strength in less than 24 hours. Some varieties have been rated safe for food-based usage as well, making them suitable for any kind of woodwork.

According to Miniature Newbies, there are lots of different types of wood glue with different properties, so you need to choose the right one for your needs.

Pros – Mostly non-toxic with no harmful fumes, gentle on your skin, great bond between any porous surfaces, requires only 24 hours to reach maximum strength, easy to rinse off, some varieties are rated safe for food-based usage.

Cons – Doesn’t bond oily woods well, not as flexible as Liquid Nails, can only be used on wood, some varieties don’t work outdoors at all.

Liquid Nails vs. wood glue comparison

You may want to know whether Liquid Nails or regular wood glue is the number one choice, but the answer isn’t that simple. First and foremost, Liquid Nails is a brand manufacturing different adhesive products for multiple purposes, including wood adhesives. Wood glue, on the other hand, is a category of adhesives specifically made for bonding different pieces of wood together.

In this article we compared Liquid Nails with wood glue on the following factors:

  • Strength
  • Versatility
  • Drying time
  • Safety
  • Removal from skin

#1 Strength

Liquid Nails has some of the strongest varieties in their range of adhesive products, but in contrast to regular wood glue the vast range of varieties bond different materials together in different ways.

If you’re looking for a strong adhesive for various home repair jobs, the Liquid Nails brand is a strong option. For specific tasks including wood joinery, we recommend wood glue.

#2 Versatility

Different types of glue have different purposes. It’s important to understand the purpose of the glue before buying it, because it makes a big difference whether it holds up or not.

The Liquid Nails adhesives are great for multiple purposes and requirements, and you’ll easily find great products for specific purposes within their range.

Regular wood glue, on the other hand, works well for specific wood joinery. You might find wood glue to be the best choice for any project that involves nothing but solid wood.

#3 Drying time

DIfferent types of glue require different time for drying. This is important in order to reach maximum strength, but also for your project to move forward as fast as possible.

Wood glue is the best choice if you’re in a hurry and need to piece together several small parts in a day, as it dries in just 15-20 minutes and reaches maximum strength in just 24 hours.

Liquid Nails require up to 24 hours of drying time while being clamped or braced, as well as a full week to reach maximum strength.

#4 Safety

If you’re making wooden items that are going to be in direct contact with food, you need a special type of wood glue to do so. Different adhesives have different safety levels as well as safety recommendations, so make sure you always check the instructions beforehand.

Wood glue is the safest adhesive, and even comes in a variety rated safe for food-based use. Generally, wood glues are latex-based, which means they rinse off with nothing but water and a regular soap bar.

Liquid Nails, on the other hand, hold more potent chemicals, and should be handled with care. During the drying time it could emit toxic fumes, and it’s flammable too. You may want to ensure proper ventilation, if you opt for Liquid Nails. However, according to their own website, the solvents will eventually dissipate once the adhesive is completely dry.

#5 Removal from skin

When it comes to removal from skin, there’s a big difference between the adhesive products. Some wash off with nothing but regular water and a bit of soap, whereas others require an application of petroleum jelly or a mineral oil to fully dissolve and get off.

Regular wood glue is by far the easiest type of adhesive to get off your skin, as most varieties require nothing but water and soap to wash off completely.

Liquid Nails is generally more harsh, and would most likely require a petroleum jelly or mineral oil to fully dissolve and wash off.

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