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Review of Elmer's Probond Stainable Wood Glue

Stainable PVA Based Wood Glue?

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User Rating 1 Star Rating (2 Reviews)


Bottle of Elmer's Probond Stainable Wood Glue.

Elmer's stainable wood glue is useful for gluing roomboxes, dolls houses, miniature wood floors, decks, furniture and other wooden models.

Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

PVA based glues are a standard for many craftspeople and modellers who work with wood. If you spend months gluing small pieces of wood together, you want to be able to make a perfect finish. The lure of a glue which claims to be stainable is high, as it could reduce your work load. Elmer's wood glues have a good reputation and this glue claims to be stainable as well as provide easy water clean-up and superior sanding.

What Makes it Stainable?

Elmer's stainable glue differs from regular white carpenters glue because it has tiny wood fibers added. This would make it the equivalent of adding very fine sawdust to your favorite carpenter's glue. Hopefully the fibers that have been added accept stain the same way your chosen wood accepts stain.

Testing the Glue

Two sets of craft sticks glued and stained show noticeable areas where stain does not penetrate glue

Craft sticks have been glued with Aileens Tacky Glue (left) and Elmer's Probond Stainable Wood Glue (right) then stained to see if the glues accept wood stain differently. Both show major areas where glue will not accept stain.

Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

I decided to test the glue against standard craft pva glue to see if there was any noticeable difference in stainability. I used Aileen's Tacky Glue, as that is one of the most commonly found brands in modellers workshops, and it has a similar consistency to the Elmer's glue.

Following the instructions on the Elmer's bottle, I glued two craft sticks together to both test the bond and the stainability of the glue. I intentionally over glued and wiped off the excess glue, to see if it would soak into the wood enough to impede staining.

The photograph shows craft sticks glued with Aileens Tacky Glue and Elmer's Probond Stainable Wood Glue. Each set of glued sticks had an intentional glue smear and a dot of glue left on the surface before staining. Both were left to sit for 24 hours before staining as the Elmer's bottle suggests. Neither was sanded before this first staining to see if the glue would stain on it's own.

First Results

Both glued samples showed noticeable patches where stain would not take, these patches were in areas where glue had been wiped off with a dry, not damp rag.

The bond strength was significantly different between the two glues. The Elmer's glue filled the gaps between the craft sticks and the glued bond was difficult to break. The Aileen's glue had a much weaker bond and appeared to be a softer, more bendable pva glue. The Elmer's Probond certainly would hold glued wood seams better, important for modeling and miniatures where very small surface areas may be available for gluing.

Results After Sanding

After the initial poor staining of the stainable glue, I sanded the wood according to the directions and added a second coat of stain. I left some of the glue blob on the end obvious, to act as a comparison for the sanded areas.

Sanding the Elmer's Probond glue was much easier than sanding the Aileen's glue. Aileen's glue remains more plastic than the Elmer's glue which dries harder, allowing for better sanding.

After sanding, there was a noticable difference in the staining pattern on the wood. The Elmer's glued areas did seem to sand off cleaner, leaving less glue residue on the wood to impede staining. The Aileen's glue appeared to have soaked into the wood a bit further, making it difficult to remove all the glue in order to have stain adhere. Where small blobs of glue were still visible, sanding the glue finish did not make them accept stain appreciably better.


Craft sticks glued, sanded and stained, still show areas where stain will not penetrate.

After sanding removes the glue residue, the craft sticks glued with Elmer's Probond Stainable Glue appear to accept stain in most areas.

Photo ©2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to About.com Inc.

Elmer's Probond Stainable Wood Glue is a good quality, pva based wood carpenters glue. It is not recommended for applications where the glue joint will be subjected to water. The glue dries hard, sands well, and contains very fine wood flour which helps to fill small gaps.

Note: Care must be taken to remove this glue from surfaces which are to be stained. Areas with glue over spill should be wiped carefully with a damp cloth before the glue sets. Otherwise, like with other pva glues, the surface glue layer will need to be removed through sanding before the piece will accept stain evenly. The glue is more easily sanded than some other pva glues, but it does not seem to accept stain appreciably better. I don't feel the glue should be called stainable It is its ability to come off more cleanly in sanding that causes the difference in how a piece stains after this glue is used.

As a wood glue it has the advantage of filling small gaps and sanding off more cleanly, which would lend it to some applications (boat building, decking, dolls house floors) where these attributes might be useful.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 1 out of 5
This glue is NOT stainable..., Member AK_Dude

Have you ever wanted a wood glue that would take stain just like the wood itself? This is not that product. Any glue spots or smears WILL show up when you stain. I used a dark walnut oil stain on some maple, and the streaks were horrible. After much scraping with a knife and razor blade, I re-stained and the project was saved. You are better off using glue that is dark colored and using traditional care when gluing to avoid using too much. I could not tell ANY difference between this and regular wood glue with respect to stain. The 'chalky' property of this fiber enhanced glue might be good for filling larger gaps, but that chalkiness also makes it not flow as smoothly.

6 out of 6 people found this helpful.

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