As the late great Tom Petty put it, “The Waiting is the Hardest Part,” and that’s certainly the case when it comes to using glue. One of the most potentially frustrating aspects of using glue for DIY projects is waiting around forever for it to actually dry.
This can be especially frustrating given the fact that waiting for the glue to dry on the pieces that you are connecting or repairing can halt all work on said pieces, as you won’t want to disturb them while they are busy setting and adhering together. That can leave you sitting around not able to do anything, thereby prolonging the whole project.
Thankfully, there are ways to help make glue dry faster, which in turn can allow you to complete your next project more quickly. How fast does glue take to dry, you ask? I addressed that issue in depth here.
How to Make Glue Dry Faster
Use New Glue
First and foremost, it’s vital to note that glue isn’t like wine – it does not get better with age. As such, you want to always be sure to use glue as soon as possible. If you want your next glue job to go faster, be sure that you are using a bottle that is at least relatively new. This is especially true for super glue, with newer glue tending to dry faster than old super glue. I wrote more about this tendency of super glue in this article.
While glue sadly doesn’t age gracefully like a fine wine, it does share its need to be stored properly. Just as excessively warm temperatures can spell trouble for a bottle of wine, so too can they lead a bottle of glue to lose its freshness all the faster. As such, if you want your glue to dry faster, be sure to store it ahead of time in an area that’s at least somewhat temperate and not overly hot.
Just as you don’t want your glue exposed to excessive heat, you also want to keep it away from excess moisture. This is because you want to make sure that your glue is in no way diluted. Glue that has been diluted can take even longer to adhere, if it is able to successfully do so at all.
Ventilate the Area
If you are using super glue, gorilla glue, or a similar extra-strength adhesive, you should already be doing so in a well-ventilated area. The fumes from these glues can be quite strong, and you want to make sure that you do not inhale an excessive amount of them, or otherwise inhale them in too concentrated a manner with a lack of ventilation. Failure to do so can lead to serious respiratory side effects. Though generally, you’ll need to be purposely trying to inhale the glue fumes to cause any long lasting damage. I talked more about the properties of super glue and gorilla glue in this blog post.
Leaving that aside, making sure that the area in which you are working is well-ventilated is also advantageous when it comes to actually getting that glue to dry. That’s because when it comes to drying glue, cool air is your friend. A natural breeze, fans, an air conditioning unit – the more you can cool the glue you are trying to dry, the better.
Less Is More
When it comes to applying glue, especially to surfaces such as wood, less really is more. When you apply a whole glob of glue, it can take ages to dry properly. This can be especially true when trying to get glue to dry on wood. As a result, while you don’t want to be too stingy with your glue, you don’t need to be too excessive with the amount you use, either.
Accelerators and Compressed Air
If you are looking to dry super glue, there are a couple of unique tricks that you may want to try. For one thing, super glue companies often sell special accelerating agents that are designed to do just what they say, accelerate the rate at which your super glue will dry. Be sure to read the instructions on any accelerating product before using it. You do not want to inadvertently cause yourself a bigger problem by adding too much accelerator or adding it too prematurely and thus causing your glue to crack.
In addition, you may want to look into compressed air. This makes use of the same ventilating and cooling principle as previously mentioned, and it works especially well with super glue.
Whether you are a freshman in a woodshop class or a pro in the wide world of woodworking, chances are that you know that clamps like these are a must when working with wood. You can use this to your benefit when it comes time to dry your glue. The idea here is simple – more pressure will help your glue dry quicker, and so clamping your pieces together can be the perfect solution. When using glue within a woodshop environment, you’re generally going to be using a DIY hot glue gun as opposed to applying the super glue yourself.
There are any number of different approaches that you can take to getting your glue to dry more quickly. Which of these options works best for you will depend on a variety of factors ranging from the type of glue you are using to the amount you are using to the types of surfaces you are gluing together. With patience, you’ll be able to select the right fast-drying solution for your needs.