How to Glue Plywood

By Wade Shaddy

Plywood is limited in thickness. When thicker plywood is needed, you can glue it together just as you would solid lumber. This technique is often used on 3/4-inch plywood to produce 1 1/2-inch tabletops or for thicker and heavier ballast on freestanding podiums or lecterns. Plywood glues up fast and bonds together better than solid wood because of its inherent flatness and surface texture, which allows glue to penetrate readily. All you need to glue plywood together is common wood glue and a few hand clamps. Start out by gluing up a top for a small end table.

List of Items Needed

  • 2 pieces oak plywood, 3/4-by-18-by-24 inches
  • Wood glue in glue bottle
  • Hand clamps
  • 2 studs, 2-by-4-by-28-inches
  1. Place one piece of plywood facedown across two sawhorses. Using a glue bottle, run beads of glue, 2 inches apart, parallel to the grain across the plywood. Use a small, flat stick to spread the beads of glue evenly over the surface of the plywood. You should have an even coat of glue on the surface of the plywood with no puddles.

  2. Place the other piece of plywood on top of the glued surface. Place hand clamps around the perimeter of the plywood 3 inches apart. Tighten all the clamps by hand until glue oozes out evenly around the perimeter of the two pieces of plywood.

  3. Place one 2-by-4 stud on its edge on top of the plywood directly down the center, parallel with the grain pattern. Place the other 2-by-4 underneath, directly opposite the top 2-by-4. Hold the bottom 2-by-4 in place while you place a clamp on both 2-by-4s, sandwiching the plywood pieces between them. Tighten the clamp to secure the 2-by-4s. Place another clamp on the other side so that you have a clamp on both ends of the 2-by-4s. Tighten all clamps. Wait one hour for the glue to dry and remove the clamps.

Tips and Warnings

  • Start out with plywood wider and longer than than you need. When the glue is dry, use a table saw to trim the piece to an exact dimension.
  • If the plywood slides or slips around on the glue while you're trying to clamp it, position it and wait one minute for the glue to get tacky and then proceed with clamping.
  • If you put too much glue on the surface of the plywood, scrape the puddles off the edge. Use clamps with rubber pads or use small, 1/4-inch pieces of wood under the jaws of the clamps to prevent them from denting the plywood.

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