Testing Elmer’s Glue, Curbly Style

Elmer's glue test - shootout

The folks from Elmer's offered to send out some Elmer's glue to sample and as I'm a fan of glue, I was more than happy to accept the offer. The glue under consideration was their Carpenter's WoodGlue Max, Carpenter's WoodGlue, Multi-purpose Glue-All and All-Purpose Glue-All Max. The first three have been recently reformulated, so testing was in order.    

Head-to-Head Tests of Elmer's Glue

I began with the Glue-All Max, Wood Glue Max and Wood Glue, putting them through the sand/paint/stain test.

Each sanded, but I had to use 80 grit to put a dent in any of them. 

As for the staining test, the Glue-All Max took stain best with the WoodGlue Max coming in  second. The WoodGlue didn't take stain, but that was cool because Elmer's doesn't claim it can.

All three are said to be paint-able, and they are. Although, for the paint to stick well, I'd probably opt to sand the glue to make sure the paint had some 'teeth'. 

Next was the 'feats of strength' test. (This is where the little wooden spools come into play.) I glued each to my testing board according to their individual glue's instructions and weighed them down for about an hour.

The next day they were fully cured and firmly adhered to my board. Now, the first two in the test claim they're stronger than wood (the wood glue does not). To see if this was in fact true, I whacked each spool with a hammer to see how much of my wood board would come with it. As promised, the board gave to the wood. The Glue-All Max took more off than the WoodGlue Max and the WoodGlue took none, which was expected. 

(Note the slivers of wood on the tops of the spools.)

Elmer's Glue Individual Tests

My first individual test subject was the Glue-All Max. This is the kind of glue that needs moisture to cure, which also means it foams. However, Elmer's says their product foams less than the rest. According to my findings, that's true. I'd say it foams about 1/3 as much, which is great for mess control. 

Besides bonding wood, it also bonds metal, stone '& More.' I decided to try the '& More' and adhered two pieces of mosaic tile together. One set was glued porous side to porous side, the other glazed sided to glazed side.  I wet the surface(s) according to the instructions and clamped them together over night. The next day they were completely glued and felt as if they'd miraculously become one piece…or had they?? 

To check the glue's strength, I took the tile sandwiches to the clamp and whacked them with a hammer. The porous to porous side popped apart rather easily–surprisingly so. The glazed to glazed side stayed intact and, as you can see, the 'unglued' portion of the tile wasn't so lucky. 

The final Glue-All Max test was for its waterproof quality. For this, I dropped my glued tile into a glass of water and let is soak for about a half hour. 

When the tile came out, the glue was slightly soft where it squished out the sides of the tile, but the pieces were still firmly glued. 

(Here I pried off some of the soft glue with a screwdriver.)

created at: 01/18/2011

Then I whacked it again with a hammer, and AGAIN, I couldn't break the glued joint. 

Now let's check out the WoodGlue. For this test, I glued two of the spools together. After clamping and curing, the two spools created one solid piece. (You'll have to take my word for it.)

However, I decided to take a page from Mythbusters, and max this baby out. I dropped my spools into a glass of water–even though the Carpenter's WoodGlue is NOT waterproof–just to see what would happen. After five minutes soaking, the joint held. Even after 10 it was okay. After about a half hour, I was able to snap the spools apart pretty easily–with a satisfying 'pop' I may add. (Again, this was a totally unfair test.)

That brought my 'specialty' glue quality check to an end, but I still had the good old Elmer's Glue-All to test. It was supposed to be stronger than the 'old' formula. Would it be??

First I decided to do a viscosity test between the new and old formulas. I put an equal puddle of glue on the top of my board and leaned it against a vertical surface. After about 1/2 hour, here's where my 'glue race' ended. (The new formula is indeed slightly thicker than the old, even though I labeled them wrong on my board. Oops.)

created at: 01/18/2011

To find out if the viscosity had anything to do with strength, I applied two strips of cotton fabric to my test board, using the new and old Glue-All formulas. Upon applying the fabric, I noticed that the new formula didn't squish out the top of the fabric as much as the old formula. After letting the pieces dry and cure, I also noticed the top of the fabric that was glued with the new formula was smoother. I pulled up on the fabric–rather hard, I must say–and found the new formula gave more resistance than the old.

For my final test, I decided to use the Glue-All in a typically hot glue gun scenario. In this case, I glued a magnet to a rounded, unleveled surface. At first I thought the magnet was going to slide, but it didn't. After drying and curing, the Glue-All performed as well as the hot glue–and without those pesky–and hot–glue strings.

Ultimately, Elmer's new formulas performed wonderfully under stressful and often unfair circumstances. The Glue-All Max, as well, gets very high marks for its less mess and superior hold.  

For more information about these and other glues in the Elmer's line up, visit the Elmer's website.