Does Hot Glue Work On Wood?

Have you used hot glue for craft projects and felt impressed by how efficient and easy it is to use? Are you wondering if it will make some of your woodworking projects run more smoothly? Well, you're in luck 'cause we've done the research and will answer just that!

Hot glue will work on wood, with a few considerations. It is great for small woodworking projects, crafting, and DIY work. However, avoid using hot glue for woodworking projects that need a high-strength bond or if there is exposure to extreme temperatures.  

Continue reading for answers to common questions about hot glue. We will discuss how strong hot glue is, what it won't stick to, and whether you can peel it off wood.

Man holding a glue gun, Does Hot Glue Work On Wood?

What Is Hot Glue?

Hot glue, also known as hot melt adhesive (HMA), is a form of thermoplastic adhesive. It is sticky and moldable when hot but solidifies in a few seconds to a minute. HMAs bond a wide variety of materials, including rubbers, ceramics, plastics, glass, and wood. It is very popular with crafters.

Carpenter using a glue gun to work with this wood project

Hot glue has no water or solvents. It is a mix of thermoplastic polymers and wax. Moisture or extreme temperature changes can weaken the bond and cause failure, so it is unsuitable for outdoor use.

Before deciding to use hot glue, consider factors like weight and temperature. Hot glue works best on porous surfaces and is not ideal for any high-strength applications, high-heat or cold environments.

Advantages To Using Hot Glue?

  • Long shelf life
  • No special precautions for disposal
  • No loss of thickness during cure time
  • Can use color additives to suit the needs of the project
  • Moldable while hot
  • Cures quickly

How Much Weight Can Hot Glue Handle?

Surebonder is a high-strength adhesive designed to bond to wood. Although, using hot glue in wood applications for structural joining is not something we recommend. Any joints secured with hot glue will not be exceptionally strong.

Hot glue bonded to wood is best suited for craft projects. If you want to use it for a project that will be outdoors or have any weight placed on it, check the glue's breaking point.

Check out Surebonder on Amazon.

How Can Hot Glue Be Used For Woodworking?

Using glue gun for a project

You can use hot glue in a multitude of ways when working with wood. It isn't recommended for structural joining but it can still come in handy. Here are a few ways to use it.

  • You can place a few dabs of hot glue on the back of a board to hold it in place while drilling pilot holes.
  • Combine hot glue with wood glue to secure boards while you are clamping them together to prevent any movement.
  • You can use hot glue to secure baseboards prior to nailing them.
  • While cutting multiple boards with a saw, you can secure them with hot glue to prevent movement.
  • Fill holes or cracks with hot glue. 
  • Secure knobs to furniture items using hot glue.

What Does Hot Glue Not Stick To?

Tackifiers, which are chemical compounds to increase tack, and mobilizers are what give HMAs their 'sticking' power. When hot, the glue comes out moldable and sticky. But once cooled, it becomes solid and creates a secure bond between two surfaces.

The hot glue needs an area, or space to adhere to, thus it will not work well on smooth, non-porous surfaces such as metal, vinyl, or silicone. It also cannot adhere to any surfaces that are coated in grease or water, reducing its 'sticking' ability.

Here is a video showing the effectiveness, or lack thereof hot glue on a smooth surface, in this case, PVC piping.

Will Hot Glue Peel Off Wood?

The hot glue should not simply peel off the wood. Unless it is bonding the wood to a smooth surface, then there is the chance it will simply peel off once weight or pressure is applied to the joint. 

If removing the glue is what your aim is here, we've got some steps you can follow to lift away the glue from the surface.

  • Acquire a blade or scraper. Scrape the surface to remove any dried glue.
  • Wedge the flat blade or scrapper tool underneath the glue. Once under the glue's surface, slowly try to bend the glue free from the surface.
  • Try using a heat gun or a hairdryer to make the glue more pliable if you are having difficulty with removal. This trick will soften the glue, giving you the ability to work it free a little better.
  • If the glue is especially stubborn, you can attempt saturating the glue in either acetone or alcohol. Be very careful when using, as both products can ruin the stain, paint, or veneer on wood surfaces.

Is Hot Glue Better Than Wood Glue?

Woman using a heat gun to properly place an egg to her small design

It depends on the bond you want to create. If you are simply joining two pieces of wood for say, a photo frame, then hot glue will work perfectly fine. However, if you are structurally joining pieces together, wood glue should be your go-to.

Many times, wood glue and hot glue care used together. Let's say you are ready to clamp your wood project together after you've applied your wood glue. You can simply dab some hot glue to the edges of your wood to secure it so there is no movement during clamping.

You can also use it effectively to help hang boards to a wall surface while drilling a pilot hole, baseboards, picture frames, and securing knobs to furniture. Hot glue also works great with many small crafting projects with popsicle sticks, wood train track decor, or wooden dollhouse furniture.

What's The Most Powerful Glue For Wood?

Applying glue to a 2x4 wood

There are a few top contenders for the most powerful wood glue. Many products on the market are reliable and create a strong lasting bond. 

However, there are a few top brands many woodworkers keep as a go-to bonding agent.

One top product is Gorilla Glue. It is an HPVA formula that is water-resistant and easy to work with. Suited for both indoor and outdoor use, it is paintable and sandable.

Check out Gorilla Glue on Amazon.

Elmer's wood glue is another reliable industry staple. When compared to other wood glue brands and designed for carpentry, it is inexpensive. Plus, it's suitable for indoor use, sets fast, and you can sand or paint it.

Check out Elmer's wood glue on Amazon.

Titebond III is another powerful waterproof glue on the market. It has a fast dry time, is compatible with all finishes, resists solvents, is sandable, dries hard, and is easy to work with. Another positive of Titebond is it breaks at 4,000 PSI, making the bond incredibly strong.

Check out Titebond III on Amazon.

Does Hot Glue Work On Rubber?

Hot glue can bond some types of rubber. However, because of the oil content in some rubbers, it is not advisable to use hot glue. Instead, using a rubber adhesive is better.

Best Glue Alternative For Rubber?

If you don't have access to a rubber adhesive, super glue is an alternative. Superglue creates a fast drying, strong bond. And, superglue is available at most supermarkets.

Check out Gorilla SuperGlue on Amazon.

Can Hot Glue Bond Metal To Wood?

While hot glue can bond metal to wood, we recommend using this with light metals. Avoid using this bonding agent if your project will take on a lot of weight or pressure.

What Is The Strongest Glue For Metal To Metal?

If bonding metal to metal, epoxy adhesives are a good option. Epoxy adhesives are a combination of adhesives and hardeners. These elements come together to form exceptionally strong bonds between different metal surfaces.

They are strong, waterproof, and resistant to heat, chemicals, UV, and humidity. 

Check out epoxy resin on Amazon.

In Summary

Man holding a glue gun

While hot glue may not be the best choice in certain situations, it is an excellent at securing wood for hobbyist activities or even DIY projects. We hope we have answered your questions about hot glue and wood you have had.

If you have enjoyed this article, here are some more for further reading:

Can You Use Wood Glue To Fill Gaps And Holes?

Best Glue for Outdoor Mosaics [6 Types]

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