The glue you choose to use on your model bridge (or model airplane) can make or break your structure. I’d venture to say that glue choice is just as important as your wood choice, which makes it pretty important. If you build your bridge with a weak glue, then no matter how good the design is your bridge will not perform well. This article compares and contrasts different types of glues, showing the strengths and weaknesses of each so that you can make an informed choice for what glue to use on your bridge.
What you want to look for in glue:
- Drying time
- Ease of Use
This is a very common glue used for a variety of projects. It dries in seconds, like super glue. It is also widely available. Numbers of hobby stores and online companies sell it. However, it is not cheap. CA glue can be bought in three types: thin, medium, and thick. The thin stuff is very light, but not especially strong. The thicker stuff is heavier, but stronger. I have known people to build extremely efficient bridges using CA glue. I do know that I will never use regular super glue after seeing how much better CA glue is. Purchase Pro CA Glue 1/2 oz Thin
Elmer’s Carpenter Wood Glue
This wood glue is very well known and well used. Elmer’s makes a solid glue, although I see it as on the heavy side. If you want to go with a good glue, then this is a good choice. Remember that with wood glue, you can actually get a stronger joint by adding a little bit of water to the glue. This allows the glue to seep into the wood, creating a stronger joint. Buy Carpenters Wood Glue by Elmers from Amazon
White Elmer’s glue
This glue can be bought anywhere, and is relatively cheap. It usually dries in 30 minutes, which is somewhat long for building bridges. Also, it is not very light or strong. I have come to the conclusion that white Elmer’s glue is not a good choice for model bridge building. Buy Elmer’s White Glue
Titebond Wood Glue
This glue bonds balsa wood very well. It also can be found in most hardware stores. However, it is fairly heavy. Many people mix water with the glue to cut down on weight. It dries fairly quickly, less than 10 minutes in small amounts. Elmer’s wood glue also provides a strong joint. The reason I don’t use this glue is because I don’t think that it is the best. But it is still pretty good. Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue, 8-Ounces
Epoxy. The first glue I ever used in building model bridges was 30-minute epoxy. I liked it because it was very strong and could be bought at many stores. Epoxy comes in several different “setting times”. You can get 90 second, 5 minute, 15 minute, 30 minute, and up to 4 hour epoxy. The bad thing about epoxy is that you have to mix it. I had trouble mixing it correctly in small amounts. I ended up wasting a lot of glue mixing a lot of it at once. Also, epoxy is not very light. An interesting feature about epoxy, it heats up when curing. Sometimes it can get quite hot. Purchase PermaPoxy 5 Minute General Purpose Epoxy
This is polyurethane based glue and is super strong. It is a cousin of Gorilla glue. It is not light, but you don’t have to use very much of it. However, the only place I know of that sells it is a local Ace Hardware store. It is also very expensive, which is why I don’t use it much anymore. It takes at least 4 hours to set, which is a really long time to wait. I still keep a bottle of it on hand, because it works for about anything. Elmer’s Probond Wood Glue 16-Ounce
This is the glue I have switched to, after seeing it at good ol’ Ace. It is lighter than Probond, almost as strong, and a whole lot cheaper. It looks a lot like white Elmer’s glue, but dries completely clear. It sets in no more than 30 minutes, but often in less than 10. Weldbond Universal Glue 4 oz Bottle
If the type of glue you use is not listed, shoot me a message.
Chart Comparing Glues
|Wood Glues||CA Glue||Probond||Weldbond||Epoxy||White Elmer’s|
|Ease of Use||4/5||3/5||3/5||4/5||2/5||5/5|
Obviously this chart is biased to my own experience with these glues. Please share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment.