Woodworking projects require strong, durable bonds to hold joints and pieces together. For most woodworkers, the choice comes down to two major brands of wood glue: Titebond and Gorilla. But which one creates the strongest, longest-lasting wood bonds?
In this in-depth guide, we’ll compare Titebond and Gorilla wood glues across a range of factors:
- Glue types and formulas
- Bond strength
- Water resistance
- Sandability and finish
- Clamping time
- Shelf life
- Price and value
By the end, you’ll have the knowledge to choose the right wood glue for your next carpentry or woodworking project. Let’s get started.
An Overview of Wood Glue Types
Before comparing Titebond and Gorilla, it helps to understand the different categories of wood glue:
PVA Wood Glue
PVA stands for “polyvinyl acetate.” This type of wood glue is water-based and offers a strong bond by seeping into the wood pores. PVA glues have become the most common choice for woodworking. They are affordable and easy to use.
Titebond Original and Gorilla Wood Glue are both PVA formulas.
Polyurethane Wood Glue
Polyurethane glues (like the original Gorilla Glue) are water-activated. When they cure, polyurethane glues expand slightly to fill gaps. They bond with both porous and non-porous surfaces.
Polyurethane wood glues offer incredibly strong bonds, but the foaming action makes them messy to work with.
Cyanoacrylate (CA) Wood Glue
Cyanoacrylates, known as “super glues,” offer incredibly fast bond times. However, super glues lack the gap-filling properties and strength for most woodworking applications.
Gorilla markets their brand of CA glue—Gorilla Super Glue. Titebond also offers a CA glue called Titebond Instant Bond.
Epoxy adhesives require mixing two parts to activate bonding. They are more expensive than other wood glues but offer superior strength and water resistance. Epoxy is often used for boats, outdoor furniture, and other projects facing moisture over time.
For most indoor woodworking with stable humidity levels, epoxy is overkill. But it’s useful for specialty situations like laminating wood.
We’ll compare Gorilla and Titebond PVA wood glues for the rest of this guide. Polyurethane and CA glues serve different purposes.
Now let’s dive into the factors differentiating PVA wood glues like Titebond and Gorilla…
Titebond vs. Gorilla: How Strong is the Bond?
The priority in picking a wood glue is bond strength. You want the adhesive to form a connection stronger than the wood itself.
Both Titebond and Gorilla offer excellent shear strength for wood-to-wood bonding. Some independent strength test comparisons:
- Titebond II vs. Gorilla Wood Glue. Titebond II achieved an average shear strength of 3,337 PSI on maple, compared to 2,698 PSI for Gorilla Wood Glue. On pine, Titebond hit 2,455 PSI versus 2,056 for Gorilla.
- Titebond Original vs. Gorilla Wood Glue. Titebond Original reached 3,214 PSI on white oak, beating out Gorilla Wood Glue at 2,852 PSI.
These results show Titebond forms a slightly stronger bond on wood joints. However, Gorilla remains above the minimum standard for wood glue shear strength.
For most furniture projects and wood joints, either brand will provide ample adhesion strength. Still, Titebond seems to have a consistency advantage for achieving maximum strength across different wood types.
Glue Formula Differences
What accounts for Titebond edging out Gorilla Wood Glue in shear strength testing? It comes down to the adhesive chemistry…
Titebond uses an aliphatic resin formula. Aliphatic resins contain carbon chains that form strong bonds with the hydroxyl groups in wood. This allows for deep penetration into the wood cells.
In contrast, Gorilla Wood Glue utilizes a polyvinyl acetate emulsion (PVA emulsion). Instead of actual resin, it uses PVA particles suspended in water.
PVA emulsions have excellent tack and grab. But some experts believe the aliphatic resin chemistry provides the bonding edge for Titebond.
Beyond bonding strength, these formula differences affect other performance factors…
Wood glue’s water resistance determines where you can use the bonded pieces. For outdoor furniture or indoor projects prone to spills, waterproof glue is essential.
Here’s how Gorilla and Titebond compare in water resistance:
Original Gorilla Glue is 100% waterproof when cured. It will bond wood intended for outdoor use.
Gorilla Wood Glue offers “moisture resistance” but not complete waterproofing. It can handle some humidity but not direct water exposure.
Titebond Original offers minimal water resistance. It’s only suitable for indoor applications.
Titebond II provides significantly better water resistance while maintaining a thin bond line. It can withstand periodic moisture exposure.
Titebond III achieves full waterproofing, making it appropriate for outdoor projects and wood that will get wet.
For most indoor woodworking, like furniture, cabinets, and shelving, Titebond Original and Gorilla Wood Glue provide sufficient moisture protection. Their PVA chemistry resists humidity fluctuations inside.
But the graded water resistance of the Titebond lineup gives you better options if your project will face water. For boats and outdoor furniture, Titebond III is the best bet.
Sandability and Finish
Once the glue dries, you must smooth the joints and apply a finish. Here’s how Titebond and Gorilla glues compare when the sandpaper comes out:
Titebond sands easily and cleanly without gumming up sandpaper. It also doesn’t interfere with stains or finishes. You can apply paint, stain, polyurethane, etc. over Titebond glue with no issues.
Gorilla Wood Glue also sands smoothly, but some users report it resisting stains more than Titebond. The cured glue is somewhat water-resistant, so it may block absorption of water-based products.
Oil-based stains are less likely to have application problems over Gorilla Wood Glue. You can sand the joint a little more to reduce staining issues.
Neither glue leaves significant residue or interferes much with finishing. But Titebond seems to have an edge for easier staining after sanding.
Wood glue needs pressure to create tight joints as it cures. Here are the approximate clamp times for Titebond and Gorilla:
- Titebond Original: 20-30 minutes
- Titebond II: 45 minutes
- Titebond III: 10-15 minutes
- Gorilla Wood Glue: 1 hour
The open assembly time is similar—around 5-10 minutes for both brands before the glue starts to set. Titebondclamp times are generally shorter.
Gorilla Wood Glue requires longer clamping time to reach maximum strength. This isn’t ideal for complex projects where you must glue many joints in assembly order.
Overall, Titebond’s faster clamping gives it more versatility for projects with multiple glue joints.
After purchasing wood glue, how long will it last before drying out?
Unopened Titebond and Gorilla Wood Glue bottles have a 1-year shelf life. Refrigerating the bottles extends this to 2 years.
However, after opening Titebond maintains its usability much longer than Gorilla:
- Titebond: 4-6 months after opening
- Gorilla Wood Glue: 1-2 months after opening
Titebond’s longer in-use shelf life means less wasted glue if you only occasionally do woodworking. Gorilla Wood Glue can dry out more quickly between uses.
While both work very well for wood-to-wood joining, Titebond and Gorilla have versatility differences:
- Titebond only bonds porous materials like wood. It will not bond metal, plastic, tile, etc.
- Original Gorilla Glue adheres strongly to wood, metal, stone, ceramics, foam, glass, and more. The polyurethane formula creates incredibly strong bonds across materials.
So for projects that combine wood and other materials, Gorilla is the more versatile choice. For wood-only pieces, Titebond will outperform Gorilla Wood Glue.
Price and Value Comparison
Generally, Gorilla Wood Glue costs significantly more than Titebond per ounce.
Here are some example prices for 8 ounce bottles:
- Titebond Original: $4 to $5
- Titebond II: $5 to $6
- Titebond III: $6 to $7
- Gorilla Wood Glue: $8 to $12
The price difference is even more pronounced for larger bottles:
- 16 oz Titebond II: $9 to $11
- 16 oz Gorilla Wood Glue: $20 to $25
Across all sizes, Titebond costs about half as much per ounce compared to Gorilla Wood Glue.
Is the extra cost worth it for Gorilla? Here are some factors to consider:
- Titebond will provide similar bond strength for indoor woodworking at a lower price.
- Gorilla does offer slightly more water resistance if you need it.
- Gorilla foams more which can fill small gaps, but excess foaming also makes application messier.
- If you need to bond wood to other materials, the original Gorilla Glue is worth the extra cost for versatility.
For most furniture building and indoor wood joinery, Titebond provides excellent value. Unless you need Gorilla’s benefits, you can save money without sacrificing bond quality with Titebond wood glue.
Titebond vs. Gorilla: Which is Better for Woodworking?
Titebond has long been the go-to wood glue for many carpenters and woodworkers. But Gorilla entered the market claiming superior strength. Is it worth switching?
Here’s a quick summary comparing Gorilla and Titebond for woodworking:
- Stronger wood-to-wood bond than Gorilla
- Faster clamping time
- Sands and stains easily
- Lower cost per ounce
- Foams more to fill gaps
- Slightly better water resistance
- Original Gorilla Glue bonds more materials
For indoor wood joints, furniture building, and other woodworking, Titebond is the better choice for the key factors: bond strength and value.
Gorilla Wood Glue costs significantly more but doesn’t provide a major performance advantage for indoor wood bonds.
However, Gorilla’s versatility makes it a good option for:
- Outdoor furniture projects
- Any application needing waterproof glue
- Bonding wood to tile, glass, metal, etc.
The takeaway: For wood-to-wood joints, go with Titebond. For everything else, use Gorilla.
Next, let’s compare the most popular products from each brand head-to-head…
Titebond II vs. Gorilla Wood Glue
Titebond II and Gorilla Wood Glue are water-resistant varieties for indoor and outdoor woodworking. Let’s see how they stack up:
- Titebond II forms a stronger bond between two pieces of wood.
- It consistently reaches higher PSI levels in shear strength tests.
- Gorilla Wood Glue has slightly better moisture protection when cured.
- But Titebond II is water-resistant enough for most outdoor furniture projects.
- Titebond II sands smoothly without issues.
- Gorilla Wood Glue may resist some water-based stains.
- Titebond II reaches maximum strength after 30-45 minutes clamped.
- Gorilla Wood Glue takes a full hour before clamps can be removed.
- Titebond II costs about half as much per ounce as Gorilla Wood Glue.
Titebond II comes out on top for woodworking applications for this direct comparison. The longer dry time and potential staining issues give it a few marks against Gorilla Wood Glue.
Either will work for outdoor projects. But Titebond II offers faster drying, easier sanding, better value, and strength right in line with premium wood glue.
Titebond III vs. Gorilla Glue
Titebond III and original Gorilla Glue are both fully waterproof options. How do they compare?
- Original Gorilla Glue forms incredibly strong bonds with woods and other materials.
- Titebond III provides superior shear strength for wood-to-wood joints.
- Both offer 100% waterproof bonds when fully cured.
- They can withstand submersion and constant moisture.
- Gorilla Glue foams significantly as it dries. This allows it to fill small gaps.
- Titebond III has minimal foaming, resulting in a thinner bond line.
- Gorilla Glue requires longer clamp time – at least 1 hour.
- Titebond III reaches maximum strength in 15-30 minutes.
- The quicker clamp time makes Titebond III preferable for projects with multiple joints.
- Gorilla Glue costs around twice as much per ounce as Titebond III.
For outdoor wood projects that will get wet, Titebond III is the better option. It forms an incredibly waterproof bond optimized for wood’s properties.
Gorilla Glue bonds strongly but has some drawbacks for woodworking – long dry time, excess foaming, and higher cost.
Which Glue is Better for Specific Woodworking Projects?
Here are some examples of which wood glue we recommend for different wood projects:
- Indoor furniture (bookshelves, cabinets, tables): Titebond Original
- Cutting boards, trivets: Titebond III
- Outdoor chairs, sheds, planter boxes: Titebond II or III
- Wooden boats, canoes: Titebond III
- Picture frames: Gorilla Wood Glue
For any project with prolonged water contact, Titebond III is the best choice. You can’t go wrong with reliable, affordable Titebond Original for indoor wood joints.
Gorilla Wood Glue only makes sense for outdoor projects if you need its foaming action to fill gaps or if cost isn’t a factor. For most purposes, Titebond outperforms Gorilla for the essential traits of PVA wood glue.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Difference Between Titebond I, II, and III?
Titebond offers three main PVA wood glue variants:
- Titebond Original (I): Basic indoor wood glue. Minimal water resistance.
- Titebond II: Water-resistant and suitable for outdoor projects.
- Titebond III: 100% waterproof bond. Best for applications with prolonged moisture exposure.
The higher the number, the better the waterproofing. Titebond I works for indoor wood joints while II and III are formulated for wet conditions.
Does Titebond III Need to be Mixed?
No. Titebond III comes ready to use straight from the bottle. It does not require any mixing.
You simply dispense the amount of glue you need, apply it to the wood, clamp, and allow to dry.
Is Gorilla Wood Glue Toxic?
No. Gorilla Wood Glue has a non-toxic formula safe for use indoors. It meets the ASTM D-4236 standard for non-toxic adhesives.
The cured Gorilla Wood Glue is inert and contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Any fumes during drying are non-harmful.
Can You Stain Over Gorilla Wood Glue?
Yes, you can apply stains over cured Gorilla Wood Glue. However, the glue can sometimes resist water-based stains due to its water resistance.
Make sure to sand the dried glue joint thoroughly to reduce staining issues. An oil-based stain can also help avoid blotchy absorption over Gorilla Wood Glue.
What is the Shelf Life of Titebond Glue?
- Unopened: 1 year shelf life if stored properly.
- After opening: 4-6 months before drying out if sealed correctly between uses.
Refrigerating the glue can extend the shelf life by a few months.
Does Temperature Affect Wood Glue?
Yes, temperature impacts drying time and strength. Here are some tips:
- For fastest drying, use wood glue between 65-75°F if possible.
- Cooler temperatures below 60°F will significantly lengthen dry times.
- If temperature is below 50°F, use an adhesive formulation designed for cold conditions.
- High heat over 90°F can weaken bonds. Avoid overly hot conditions when gluing.
What’s the Best Wood Glue for Outdoor Use?
For outdoor wood projects that will get wet, Titebond III is the ideal choice. Its fully waterproof bond stands up to moisture over time.
For outdoor furniture that will have some weather exposure but not constant wetting, Titebond II offers good water resistance at a lower cost.
Both Titebond II and III are better options than Gorilla Wood Glue for outdoor wood gluing. The PVA chemistry of Gorilla Wood Glue absorbs moisture over time outdoors.
Is Cyanoacrylate (CA) Glue Stronger Than PVA Glue?
Cyanoacrylate “super glue” creates fast bonds but has lower strength than PVA wood glue. CA glues are only suitable for small repairs, not load-bearing wood joints.
PVA wood glue like Titebond forms a much stronger bond. The glue seeps deep into wood pores for enhanced adhesion. PVA glue is the preferred choice for bonding wood projects.
CA glue works better on non-porous surfaces like metal and plastic. It does not penetrate wood well but can quickly tack components in place before using PVA glue.
Does Gorilla Wood Glue Expand?
Gorilla Wood Glue contains micro-expanding particles that cause it to foam slightly during cure. This expansion helps fill small gaps in the joint.
However, Gorilla Wood Glue does not expand nearly as much as the original formula. It has minimal foaming action compared to other polyurethane wood glues.
How is Titebond Made?
Titebond wood glues go through a complex manufacturing process. Here are the key steps:
- Proprietary polymerization techniques create the aliphatic resin.
- Resin mills disperse the liquid resin into a smooth emulsion.
- Additives like preservatives and agents to control set time are blended in precise ratios.
- The adhesive is tested repeatedly to ensure performance standards are met.
- The finished Titebond wood glue flows into bottles for packaging and sale.
Titebond maintains tight quality control over their wood glue’s bonding properties by controlling every manufacturing step.
Does Gorilla Wood Glue Expand When Drying?
Yes, Gorilla Wood Glue contains micro-bubbles that enable it to expand slightly as the glue dries. This expansion action helps the glue fill small gaps for an effective bond.
The amount of foaming is minimal compared to original Gorilla Glue. It will not significantly swell or drip from the wood joint. Just enough expansion occurs to improve gap-filling ability.
Is Titebond FDA Approved?
When fully cured, Titebond II and Titebond III meet FDA specifications for indirect food contact. Once dried, these adhesives are non-toxic for use on cutting boards, wooden bowls, and other food contact surfaces.
Titebond I and Original Wood Glue do not meet FDA standards for food safe application. For any wood project involving food, go with Titebond II or III.
Whether you’re a hobbyist woodworker or a professional carpenter, choosing the right adhesive is crucial for durable results. By understanding the strengths and limitations of Titebond vs. Gorilla wood glues, you can pick the best product for each project.
For most indoor woodworking, it’s hard to beat the performance and value of Titebond—the wood glue brand that professionals have relied on for decades.
Expand your options with Gorilla products if you need to fill gaps or bond dissimilar materials. Combined with Titebond for wood joints, you’ll have any gluing need covered.
Armed with the knowledge in this guide, you can glue worry-free, knowing your projects will stick around for years to come. So grab that clamp, spread the glue, and start creating!