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The subject on how long to let wood glue dry varies person to person. Not only person to person but as well as ambient temperature and humidity levels play their own roles.

With some modern glues created now to take longer and shorter to help with quicker and slowing drying times. So what does all this mean for how long it takes wood glue to dry?

Let us break it down for you down below and hopefully shine some light onto the subject.

Factors That Can Affect Wood Glue Drying Times

Humidity obviously plays the biggest factor in the drying time of wood glue. If you didn’t already know humidity measures the amount of moisture in the air. A higher percentage of humidity something of let’s say 85%, indicates a much longer drying time with humid air

So Ideally you always want to make sure your humidity level as low as possible wherever you might be doing your gluing applications. 

One thing I like to keep in my shop is one of these handy temperature humidity readers hung up on the wall of the shop.

This helps me monitor the humidity level not only for gluing up but also for temperature and humidity to help with wood movement.

Temperature And Drying

By no surprise temperature also plays a factor in wood glue drying time. Most glue manufacturers tend to put a working temperature on the actual bottle. 

This gives you the woodworker the information you need to properly apply glue within this certain range.

The wood moisture content will also play a factor in how long it takes wood glue to dry Wood that has a moisture level is obviously going to take a longer time to dry than a wood that is dry.


Always try to make sure your woods moisture content is at least below 10% or be prepared for longer drying time. Getting a hand device like this will help you monitor that moisture level of your wood.

Cure Time Vs Dry Time

Cure time and dry time are actually two different definitions. A cure time of wood glue is going to refer to when a wood glue has fully set and harden. 

 Most wood glue manufacturers state that its best to wait at least 30min to 1hr on an unstressed joint. Joints that are going to fully stressed use the 24hr rule and let them set up firmly. 

One pro tip with drying times always wait at least 24hrs before doing any type of machining on your glued pieces. Wood glue is a liquid and the wood soaks in the glue material causing swelling of the work surface. 

This will affect that precision you’re going to want to be built into all your projects if you fail to wait for that full 24hrs. Failing to wait causes the wood to expand some more by drawing in the wood glues moisture. 

I know we all tend to be in a hurry nowadays but it’s always best to wait instead of having to do it twice.

Wood Gluing Drying Time Best Practices


  • Read the back of the bottle of your wood glue you happen to be using on your project. Look to find the working time, unstressed drying times and stress drying times. All vital important information for project success.


  • Always wait for 24hrs before doing any sort of machining on joined together surfaces. This helps the wood glue be fully penetrated into the mating surfaces and swelling of the wood to be completed.


  • Invest in a thermometer with humidity percentage output. This will help you monitor the environment inside your shop. Therefore adjustments can be made to your shop space to comply with the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

Final Thoughts

Don’t be in a hurry to take the time to properly plan your wood gluing attack plan. If the weather happens to be cold in your shop find an alternative move it a laundry room or other climate control space. 

You’ve come too far on your woodworking project to take a risk on a short cut for a joint to fail. Like the old saying, patience is a virtue wood glue is no different. 

Take your time and slow and read and inspect the conditions your woodworking and joint fit-ups.

If you got something out of this article please take the time out of your day to share it with a friend that could use this valuable information.

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