Best Glue for Balsa Wood

best glue for balsa wood
best glue for balsa wood

When it comes to putting wood together, it is important to choose the right type of glue to make sure that the wood won’t break apart. The importance of choosing the right type of glue is just as important as choosing the right type of glue.

In this article, we will be covering the best glue for balsa wood as well as differentiate the various types of glue. To make sure you are making the right selection, we also included a definitive buying guide to make sure you are making the right choice.

Best Glue for Balsa Wood

1. Bob Smith Industries BSI-157H Maxi – Best Overall Glue for Balsa Wood

bob smith industries bsi 157h maxi


If you are looking for the best glue for balsa wood, the Bob Smith Industries BSI-157H Maxi is the best adhesive currently available.

This is a cyanoacrylate glue and an accelerator combo in one. Because curing time only takes less than 10 seconds, it is important to stay cautious and keep your fingers away from the adhesive so they don’t get stuck to the pieces you are joining.

The adhesive sets really fast and fully cure in 25 seconds. The Bob Smith Industries BSI-157H Maxi has two parts; one part accelerator and one part super glue.

Because the adhesive is too strong, there is no need for clamping to keep both parts permanently together.

The superglue already sticks fast but the accelerator is what speeds the whole curing process. The accelerator allows the cyanoacrylates to set and cure fast by speeding up the polymerization process.

Productivity will surely increase due to the fast curing process. Because it cures right away, the adhesive won’t leave an ugly trail or stain on your balsa wood.

For balsa wood modelers, the Bob Smith Industries BSI-157H Maxi is a real life-saver and can be a real game-changer. And if you are a serious balsa wood modeler, then this is your stop. But if you are looking for an alternative, then read on.

2. Glue Masters Wood Glue – Best Alternative Glue for Balsa Wood

glue masters wood glue


The Glue Masters Wood Glue is a great alternative for Bob Smith Industries BSI-157H Maxi.

It has a long shelf life and comes in various bottle sizes ranging from 12-ounce, 16-ounce, and 80-ounce. The various bottle sizes will give you the option to spend according to only to your project’s need.

The Glue Masters Wood Glue is an industrial-scale glue that features cyanoacrylate resin that greatly contributes to it being the strongest hold available. If you use the Glue Masters Wood, your model will be held really well.

Note that the glue sets within one minute, giving you enough time to set things right in case something happens. Furthermore, you will also have more control over the fluidity because it has a thick consistency.

If you are someone who prefers to build models, a hobbyist who enjoys putting wood pieces together, or perhaps a carpenter who enjoys making computer desks, then the Glue Masters Wood Glue is the best glue for balsa wood builders.

Even if you won’t end up using the whole bottle on your modeling project, you will still most likely need it for repairs. The adhesive is so versatile that you can use it to fix materials even if they are not made of wood such as shoes, glass, or even jewelry.

3. Starbond EM-02 Super Fast Thin Glue – Best Glue for Filling Gaps

starbond em 02 super fast thin glue


The Starbond Wood Glue is an ideal glue for filling gaps. It has thin viscosity that is thin enough to fill gaps and crevices. Because it has a very quick drying time, you will be able to get your projects done fast.

The Starbond Wood Glue is a really nice cyanoacrylate-based adhesive that can be used in various applications. One thing we really like about this balsa glue is that it comes with plenty of accessories that can be used for various purposes.

Compared to other glues, they don’t give you as many accessories you can use for various purposes. Moreover, you also have two applicator caps and one clog-free stopper.

There are 8 various precise applicator tips that can be used so you can apply the right amount of glue in various areas. All of the tips have a nice and locked neck that is also flexible enough to insert into small spaces and other tight areas.

Furthermore, the glue’s hold strength and durability are also pretty standard. When it comes to the curing time, it is not too short and is just enough to give you the time you need to reposition in case you don’t get the materials right on your first attempt.

4. Gorilla Balsa Wood Glue – Best for Outdoor Applications

gorilla balsa wood glue


Are you looking to do build modeling outdoors or perhaps you are planning to build a desk to put outside? Then the Gorilla Balsa Wood Glue is the right glue for balsa wood building.

Because it features a strong holding power, you can use this to get two materials to stick incredibly easily. The Gorilla Balsa Wood Glue is a water-based adhesive that is easy to use. Because it passes the ANSI/HPVA Type II water-resistance standard, it can be used both indoors and outdoors or even near liquids.

The high durability rate of the Gorilla Balsa Wood Glue is what makes it ideal for outdoor application. The glue is so strong that it will last longer than other balsa glues in the market.

Overall, application, durability, and longevity are guaranteed. The only downside about the Gorilla Balsa Wood Glue is that it’s so strong that you can barely unfix possible errors because it is so strong when applied.

Note that the Gorilla Balsa Wood Glue is also close to a superglue solution in terms of curing time, so caution is advised when dealing with the Gorilla Balsa Wood Glue.

If you are looking for a durable balsa wood glue that you can use both indoors and outdoors, then the Gorilla Balsa Wood Glue is a great option to consider.

5. Tamiya 87038 Extra Thin Cement Glue – Best Balsa Glue for Model Airplanes

tamiya 87038 extra thin cement glue fine tip 40ml


The Tamiya 87038 Extra Thin Cement Glue may be intended to put model airplane parts together but they also do wonders for putting together balsa models.

The 87038 Extra Thin Cement Glue is a great choice to consider if you are looking for a glue that has a very thin formula. As stated, the glue may not be intended to stick into small cracks and crevices, but it does work wonders for small balsa wood glue modeling.

Compared to other balsa glues, it has a very thin viscosity that runs easily and sinks deep into small cracks. Note that the Thin Cement Guide also comes with a precision applicator tip to ensure you are applying the right glue in the right places and areas.

The adhesive is cement glue, meaning it does not stick as strong as other glues. But the glue does dry very quickly, one thing to note if you are planning to finish your projects fast.

If there is something you need to keep in mind before buying the Tamiya 87038 Extra Thin Cement Glue, it is the fact that it isn’t very resistant to extreme temperatures.

Overall, the Tamiya 87038 Extra Thin Cement Glue is a solid choice for those who are looking for a balsa glue that works well with any type of balsa building modeling.

6. Rockler Cyanoacrylate Quick-Set – Medium Adhesive for Balsa Wood Modeling

rockler cyanoacrylate quick set


The Rockler Cyanoacrylate is a medium-viscosity cyanoacrylate glue that is perfect for both professional balsa wood builders and hobbyists. The glue offers a very strong bond that also sets very fast.

Application is very easy and it dries clear, leaving no stain or residue behind the area. Similar to many cyanoacrylate types of glue, you can use this to stick both wood and metal. So, instead of just using this to put together balsa wood, you can also use it to bond metal parts.

Because the adhesive is thin, Rockler’s Cyanoacrylate Quick-Set is also suited for filling cracks and crevices. With the help of an activator, the cure processing will be drastically improved. Since the bond is also super solid, you can rely that the bond will last long.

But if you don’t need the instant setting, you can apply the glue alone. The setting time should be enough to give you all the time you need to reposition the parts whichever you prefer.

Overall, the Rockler Cyanoacrylate Quick-Set is a great balsa wood glue that is flexible enough to be used with or without an activator. If you need instant setting, pairing this with an activator will drastically improve the setting time.

Types of Glue for Balsa Wood

Molding and Trim Glue

Use molding and trim glue if you are planning on adhering casing, baseboards, dado rails, and other similar trim walls. Molding and trim glues are specifically formulated to stick porous and semi-porous material really well.

Because molding and trim glues are designed for vertical use because they have a strong initial track and almost adhere to materials immediately. They also have an open time of around 5 minutes.

Melamine Glue

Melamine glue has a strong initial tack and an open time of around 5 minutes. The melamine glue is also specifically formulated to bond nonporous materials such as vinyl, melamine, high-pressure laminate.

Moreover, melamine glue can adhere metals to porous surfaces like chipboard, MDF, and wood. Melamine glue doesn’t require any special storage as it can be stored at room temperature. The application also isn’t complicated at all since it does not require any heat to be applied in order for the glue to start curing.

Cyanoacrylate Glue

The official name for super glue is cyanoacrylate glue. Because most super glues stick instantly, it is required to stick both materials right away as the curing time of super glues is normally within less than 10 seconds.

The cyanoacrylate glue is also capable of bonding both non-porous and porous surfaces, making them perfect for putting metal bandings and decoration to wood. And because they do a good job of sticking materials fast, woodturners like super since they do a good job of attaching sacrificial pieces of wood and filling gaps and crack.

Cold Press Veneer Glue

Cold press veneer glues are specifically formulated for veneering. If you are looking for glue that will bond real wood veneers to a porous substrate such as wood, then cold press veneer glue is the perfect type of glue.

As seen in its name, cold press veneer glue does not require heat to cure and can be stored at room temperature.

Keep in mind that even though most veneer glues are PVA-based, cold press veneer glues will not bleed through tiny holes in open-grained woods. Open time of cold press veneer glues are around 15 minutes, allowing woodturners to easily reposition when needed.

Because of the cold press veneer glue’s composition, they are only suitable for veneering, so be mindful of the material you will use before choosing cold press veneer glues.

Polyurethane Glue

Polyurethane glue is an excellent all-purpose glue as it bonds almost any material. Once the adhesive dries, it becomes solvent resistant and water-resistant.

Because of their nature, polyurethane glues are perfect for output use. One thing that separates the polyurethane glue from other PVA-based glues is it foams up and expands when curing. The expansion process makes the polyurethane glue superior to PVA-based glues.

Unlike instant super glue, polyurethane glue has an open time of around 10 to 15 minutes, giving users an adequate amount of time for assembly. When clamping materials bound by polyurethane glues, make sure to clamp them for about 1 to 2 hours.

The curing time of most polyurethane glues will take around 24 hours.

How to Properly Put Wood Glue on Balsa Wood

Things to Consider when Looking for the Right Glue

When shopping for the right type of glue, you need to consider the following features to make sure the wood bond together effectively. Considering the fact that there is an overwhelming number of options in the market, knowing what factor to look for will ensure you the best output.


Some glues are more expensive than others but it doesn’t mean that the most expensive one is always the best choice. Come up with a price to know how much you should spend.

Hold Strength

Apart from the price, the bond or hold strength is yet another thing you should check. Different glues are suitable for various types of bonds. Some adhesives can form a strong, permanent bond, while other adhesives allow joined surfaces to be removed or repositioned at a later time.

For example, aliphatic resins and PVA offer a stronger bond than polyurethane glues when putting together long grain to long grain woods. However, the adhesive strength is not the only factor that is critical to creating a very solid bond.

You see, even though you are still using the world’s strongest adhesive, the bond between two surfaces will still fail if the adhesive does not bond to the substrate or the surface.

Furthermore, water-based adhesives are normally used for laminating but are cost-effective alternatives to resins. Other adhesives can be melted or softened endlessly by heat or set by cooling to reposition or aid computer product builds.

Adhesives that share many characteristics as traditional glue sticks and bulk hot melt are commonly known as PUR or Polyurethane hot melt. A good example of PUR hot melt is a glue stick, which is dispensed in a traditional glue gun that offers some additional bonding attributes that fit various applications.

Drying Time or Curing Time

Curing time or drying time is the time it will take for the adhesive or glue to dry fully. Apart from the surface or type of substrate being glued, there are other factors that influence the curing time such as humidity and heat.

Depending on the type of glue will be how long it will take for the glue to dry completely. Heat and high humidity are among the factors that can affect the glue’s curing time, which can either shorten or lengthen the curing time.

Apart from the environment, the curing time also ranges greatly from a few days to several days, depending on the type of adhesive.


It is also important to consider the temperature at which the adhesive will be exposed to or can endure. Moreover, the temperature at which the adhesive is stored is also just as important.

There are a handful of environmental conditions that could potentially affect the adhesive’s cure process. One of the most important things that can directly affect the curing process is temperature. Even the slightest change in temperature can have an integral effect on cure speed or even affect the adhesive’s storage life or its overall performance.

Note that there are thermosetting adhesives such as formaldehyde resins, phenolic, and melamine, which can tolerate extreme temperatures. On a similar note, silicone adhesives are notable for having a high degree of flexibility and very high temperature-resistant, making them perfect choices for plumbing and marine applications.

Mind the Humidity

It is also important to check the humidity of the area where the adhesive will be applied on as too much humidity can cause the adhesive to become foamy in appearance or too soft in appearance.

To make sure that the adhesive will not change shape or strength, always check if it has a humidity range so that the bond strength will not be impacted negatively when applied on the surface.

Open Time

A glue’s open time refers to the time of the glue coming out of the bottle before it begins its cure process. The open time is the maximum amount of time you have to assemble the parts when adhering to two surfaces.

Make sure to always check this ahead before putting things together so you will have an idea of how much time you have to clamp or stick two materials together.

Recap: Best glue options for balsa wood 2021

There you have it! The best glue for balsa wood you can get. To give you a recap, here are the list of all the glues we have covered in our article:

  1. If you want to get the best glue for balsa wood projects, the Bob Smith Industries BSI-157H Maxi is your best bet.
  2. The Glue Masters Wood Glue is a solid alternative if you don’t fancy our top pick.
  3. Get the Starbond Wood Glue if you are looking for a balsa glue that can get into small cracks and crevices.
  4. A solid outdoor and indoor balsa wood glue is the Gorilla Balsa Wood Glue.
  5. Get the Tamiya 87038 Extra Thin Cement Glue if you are looking for a glue that can also be used for small metal parts and models.
  6. The Rockler Cyanoacrylate Quick-Set Medium Adhesive is flexible enough to be used with or without an activator.

Which among the glues do you think is perfect for you?

4/5 - (1 vote)
JA Padilla is a writer and gamer by heart. Dedicated to helping people in both the gaming and tech industry, he spends his time writing informative, detailed how-to's, and in-depth guide articles since 2011.


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