Using White Glue Instead of Epoxy

Introduction: Using White Glue Instead of Epoxy

About: I make pictures and video about saw milling, guitar/ banjo playing and building and general interest content too. I love to build stuff!

This Instructable I will fill a void in a wooden guitar neck with white glue instead of epoxy or a glue/sawdust mixture. It’s an experiment to see how it sets up, sands and takes finish.

Supplies

Elmers white glue
Sandpaper
Masking tape
Wood stain

Step 1: Filling the Void

When I was carving this guitar neck a void opened up and got bigger and bigger as I proceeded with the shaping process. I couldn’t see how deep it was but it was big enough that it needed to be filled with something. I’ve always wondered how pure white glue would hold up on it’s own so I decided to give it a try and record the process to show others before they try the same thing.

Step 2: Video Link

Here is a link to a video that shows the whole process.

Step 3: Filling the Void

First I created a dam around the hole with masking tape. Then I just squeezed white glue into the hole until it overflowed the edges. I let the glue dry overnight. I was surprised when every morning I check the hole and the glue was gone! Either the hole had much more area hidden from view or the glue was just losing lots of volume as it dried.
I had to repeat the fill/let dry cycle at least 7-8 times before the entire void was filled and the glue was hard and dry. Actually many more times than I originally thought I would have to do that.

Step 4: Sanding the Glue

The glue dries very hard and I found it hard to sand by hand so most of the initial sanding was done on the bench sander with 80 grit. I was fairly impressed with the smoothness of the glue surface. However there were 3 or 4 very noticeable depressions that appeared after that sanding and those needed to be filled with more glue so back to the glue/dry cycle again!

Step 5: Applying Finish

I used an Ebony wood stain on the guitar neck and covered the glue fill with it too. I found the glue patch became darker with each coat of stain but not to dark. Also any pinholes in the glue collected stain and dryed to show as small dark spots. I should have taken more care with my finish sanding of the glue patch to eliminate all holes or depressions. The glue patch actually appears hard and smooth and more importantly feels hard as the wood that surrounds it and is just as smooth too. Also no discernible “edge” where wood meets glue. When I’m playing this guitar I cannot feel where the patch is.

Step 6: Final Analysis

Overall I would say using pure white glue to fill a void in a wood project was a successful move.
Some things to consider though;
1- Doesn’t stain hardly at all. Perhaps adding colouring to the glue might work?
2- Lots of volume loss when drying. Not a one shot solution for void repair many applications are required.
3- Sanding is labor intensive and every imperfection shows especially after staining.

These drawbacks are not too different from those encountered with any wood filler product though so I would give this experience a positive mark!
Thanks for reading this instructable! Check out the video for more visual information and have fun!

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    8 Comments

    0
    knife141
    knife141

    8 months ago

    I never thought about using white glue to fill a void. I'm going to have to try this. Thanks for posting!

    0
    Troy Eckstein
    Troy Eckstein

    Reply 8 months ago

    Thanks! Give it a go. The patch is still solid and hasn’t shrunk or anything either

    0
    tytower
    tytower

    8 months ago

    The one problem I see is that it is not waterproof . There is probably a 10% water content or more in the timber anyway and the glue drying out will add some so the join will fracture around the fill. That's a difference with epoxy in that the end filler is waterproof and combined with micro balloons (brown) or QCells (white) makes a nice hard filler. Even harder if you use talc or dolomite or other available additives.I probably would have tried to inlet a jewel type stone or crystal piece set in epoxy.

    0
    Troy Eckstein
    Troy Eckstein

    Reply 8 months ago

    Thanks! I didn’t even think of inserting something like a jewel in the hole. I’m definitely gonna do that in the future!

    0
    acheide
    acheide

    8 months ago

    Innovative! Thanks.

    0
    Troy Eckstein
    Troy Eckstein

    Reply 8 months ago

    Thanks for checking it out. This little hole was ok I’m not sure how a bigger void would end up?

    0
    influth
    influth

    Tip 8 months ago on Step 6

    You could mix the glue with sawdust, this will give you strenght and color.

    0
    Troy Eckstein
    Troy Eckstein

    Reply 8 months ago

    That’s true thanks! I wanted to know what white glue alone would produce!