What is Aliphatic Glue and How is It Used in Model Building?

Glues were once produced from old horses (the hoofs, skins, bones, and other parts, when boiled, generate protein gelatin forming the glue base). These organic hide glues are still used today, though they are most likely used by fine furniture restorers when repairing fragments of treasured antique furniture in museums and homes.

The once-clear distinction between glue (historically used to refer to these organically based materials) and adhesives has become blurred (for artificial materials). Most wood is now glued together with glue made from artificial polyvinyl or aliphatic resins. This article will focus on the latter.

Here’s more information on aliphatic glue and its use in model building. And if you run out of model glue, check out these other options.

What Is Aliphatic Glue?

Carpenter’s glue is a generic term for aliphatic resins. These, like white glues, can be purchased in squeeze bottles, although aliphatic resin glues are much stronger than polyvinyl resins.

This yellow, creamy glue dries quickly (a minimum of an hour is required, but two hours is advisable, and there’s no risk in waiting even longer). Carpenter’s glue is simple to apply, dries to a translucent amber color, and is easier to sand than white glue, which softens because of the heat of the sanding process.

Carpenter’s glue, like white glue, should not be used in damp or outdoor applications. It sets faster in warm temperatures, but you can also use it effectively in temperatures as low as 45 degrees.

It has good bonding strength, low flammability and odor, and moderate moisture resistance compared to other adhesives. It is has a heavier consistency with fewer drips, more water- and heat-resistant than polyvinyl acetate “white” glues, and sets at temperatures above 50 °F (10 °C) and up to 110 °F (43 °C). However, it isn’t recommended for outdoor use.

Its faster set-time than white glue can make it difficult to use on complex projects. It cures in about 24 hours and produces a glue line that is pale tan, translucent, or amber.

a man holding a bottle of wood glue and applying it on a block of wood

It is possible to clean it up with tap water before it cures (like white glue). Unlike white glue, it can be sanded after curing due to its hardness and heat resistance, though it won’t absorb wood stains adhered to on top of it. Before staining, you must sand or otherwise remove excess resin.

It tends to “creep” (slide throughout clamping) less than white glue. PVA and aliphatic resin have a similar relative ultimate strength and use profile. The grip characteristics of the two types of glue differ before the initial set, with yellow glue exhibiting more initial grip and PVAs demonstrating more slip during assembly.

How Is Aliphatic Glue Used in Model Construction?

Aliphatic glue, also known as wood glue, is similar to PVA but soaks into joints better and forms a stronger bond. It is also more resistant to sand and water and sets faster than PVA. It is ideal for bonding wood to wood, as implied by its common name.

Unsticking Aliphatic Glue

Accidents or mistakes will inevitably happen during your model-making adventures, just as in any other endeavor. Parts may not line up perfectly during the gluing phase, or a misread instruction may result in the wrong pieces being glued together.

When applying wood glue, a paintbrush dunked in hot water is an easy method. Paint the water onto your glued areas; the glue should soften and come apart relatively easily in a few minutes. After a quick clean-up, you should be able to re-apply glue where it is needed.

When Should You Use Aliphatic Glue?

Aliphatic glue, also known as wood glue, is a strong adhesive sealant used to keep pieces of wood together tightly. Wood glue should and can be used in a variety of situations. Numerous types of wood glue are available today for various applications. You must understand when to use wood glue.

Breaks

a man assembling wooden pieces with a glue

When you find a break in one of your pieces of furniture or wooden fixtures, you can use wood glue to repair it. Small quantities of wood glue are extremely powerful and will bond any damaged pieces of wood back. Because wood glue solidifies, you can sand it after drying to remove excess patches and blobs. This will make your wood glue repair work look more professional.

Securing

Wood glue is commonly used to hold things together. This is when the aliphatic glue will serve as a holding agent before attaching large screws or bolts that will permanently secure the pieces of wood together. Wood glue deteriorates faster than a strong screw or bolt. You must do this by fastening the wood pieces together with large screws. The screws will bear the majority of the weight of the wood, while the glue you used will provide additional support.

Decoration

You can use wood glue to secure large pieces of wood used for decoration, such as wooden skirting frames and boards. Apply wood glue generously to a wooden skirting frame’s or board’s back. This will aid in sticking the item to a wall and securing it more effectively.

Wood glue is the quickest way to finish a piece of furniture or wooden fixture. You can also use aliphatic glue to secure wooden tiles in a room discreetly.

Crafts

Wood glue is an excellent material for use in craft projects. This is because small amounts of wood glue are sufficient to hold small pieces of wood together. This will enable the construction of large wooden objects or statues that will last a long time.

Many of the glues included with craft kits are structurally inefficient and weak. A good brand of wood glue will not be expensive and effective.

Wood glue will cut the time it takes to make something in half. It will also save you a lot of money from needing to purchase more cheap glue.

Temperature

wood glue dripping out of its bottle

Avoid employing wood glue in any construction project or job when the weather is extremely hot. You will compromise the structural integrity of typical wood glues in hot weather. This renders them useless, and the wood glue won’t bond properly.

When applied in hot conditions, the wood glue dries too quickly and begins to show cracks and damage very quickly. This will be highly frustrating if you need to finish a task quickly. High-temperature wood glues are also difficult to find and more expensive.