Surface Prep and Glue Adhesion

A little light sanding improves glue joint performance. December 21, 2010

We are gluing plywood boxes to a face-frame cabinet and are constantly having the glue release or separation of the plywood and face frame. We have set the glued boxes aside for 24 hours and when picked up or moved the glue breaks loose. I need a suggestion on a brand of glue or type of glue to use. We are currently using a white wood glue.

Forum Responses
(Adhesive Forum)
From contributor G:
I would suggest Tite Bond II.

From contributor A:
I suspect your glue was frozen. Any glue should hold the plywood to wood after 24 hours. Titebond I yellow glue would work fine for your application or any glue for that matter.

From contributor H:
I'd bet your contact surface between the plywood and face frame wasn't as good as it should have been. Yellow glue doesn't have very good gap filling properties. Use a caul board and bar clamp. With the right mating surface and a little warmer weather, ten minutes clamp time is enough.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
As posted already, the problem is that the two surfaces you are gluing are not ready for gluing. There may be gaps due to surface roughness or gaps due to non-uniform or inadequate pressure. It is well known that when manufacturing plywood, the heat creates a surface that is not easy to glue well. The surface fibers are inactivated, technically. Try light sanding on the plywood prior to gluing to create a smooth and a new surface. Next, examine the face frame for the same issues of inactivity. A very light sanding should restore glue-ability. There is nothing wrong with the adhesive you are using.