Adhesives and Woodworking

Temperature vs. Adhesive

Jeff Pitcher - Monday, September 17, 2007
With Fall quickly approaching it's time to start looking at the effect of temperature on the gluing process.  PVA glues must be used above freezing.  In fact, many of them have a minimum use temperature above 45 degrees F.  This is especially true of crosslinking PVAs.  The biggest mistake we see is when workers forget that the wood they're gluing needs to be at the right temperature as well as the ambient temperature of the area where the gluing is done.  An easy way to tell if temperature is affecting your glue line is to examine it for "chalking".  If the temperature is too low for the adhesive being used the glue line will look like chalk and will have little or no strength.

Temperature also plays a significant role in the amount of curing time needed when using urea resins.  The cooler the temperature the longer the clamping time necessary.  At temperatures much below 70 degrees F the user risks "dry out" rather than a cure.  "Dry out" occurs because the moisture in the glue line has evaporated before a chemical reaction could take place.  This results in a weak bond.

Finally, it's very important to pay attention to the ambient temperature when using pressurized canisters of contact cement.  At temperatures below 60-65 degrees F the rubber in the adhesive begins to stiffen causing irregular spray patterns and general difficulty in spraying.   Be sure to keep the canister off of any concrete floors and store them in a warm area.
 
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