Best glue for wood rim repair?

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Kombicol

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sep 5, 2008
247
Houston, United States
I have a wood rim that needs to be re-glued at the joint.
Any recommendations on most suitable glue?
Thanks
Col
 
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The Carolina Rambler

Finally riding a big boys bike
Nov 25, 2018
131
23
North Carolina
Hello! I'm in a similar situation with regards to wood rims. Some of mine are even splintered and cracked. I won't know for sure until I go and try it, but I am inclined to use Gorilla Brand wood glue. I have used this glue on other projects before, such as to repair the cracked steering handles on a sled, and a gun-stock to name a couple, and I was pleased with the results. The glue looked good, was not really even noticeable, and has held very strongly. It is water based, but when cured, does not appear water soluble from what I can tell. I would reckon this glue is not too unlike the glues used on these rims back when they were still being made. You just have to apply it generously and evenly, and then clamp the glue joint firmly and properly, as this glue expands into the grain for strength. I used a hose clamp and rag to clamp my joints.

This is just what I am thinking, and it would be good to hear what some other folks more experienced in this have to say. I'm not sure there are too many folks repairing and reworking these old wood rims these days. Many people use new aluminum rims painted in woodgrain, or use modern European-built wood rims intended for road bikes. However, I strongly recommend repairing and using original equipment and rims as much as possible, as even weathered and crooked rims should be capable of being made straight and usable again.
 
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GTs58

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Sep 2, 2012
12,007
Central Arizona
Being an old Carpenter I'm all in for Elmers, and from experience with the newcomer Gorilla glue I'm staying with Elmers. Gorilla is rated below Elmers and from my experience it's shelf life is quite a bit shorter than Elmers. Lots of new chemistry in glues today and if I were going to glue up a wood bike rim I would consider Titebond III simply because of the higher test ratings and waterproof bonds.

 

SKPC

I live for the CABE
Feb 2, 2018
1,475
63
Utah - United States
I have never repaired a wood rim, but as a professional furniture repair person, I would use 2-part epoxy(clear)...then cut/scrape excess with sharp razor blade after dry. If you make mistakes or need time to re-join and clamp the parts back together in place, use the 30-minute stuff and wait overnight. If no clamps are needed, wipe the excess uncured glue off with rubbing alcohol. Makes a good filler as well mixed with hardwood sanding dust.
(Edit: if a finger joint is the subject of your repair, use a super sharp exacto knife to remove any remnants of glue from the finger joint ends..this will prevent a good bond as the old glue will just release and the joinery will separate once again)
 
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Goldenrod

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Mar 14, 2016
881
75
Schaumburg
For this application the glue should be waterproof so I would vote for epoxy or Tite Bond 3. I like clamps with wood pieces cut in a curve.
 

Craig Allen

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jun 23, 2016
186
66
Millville NJ
One thing to keep in mind about different kinds of glue, no matter which one is used, no glue will last long if it is squeezed out of the joint. Many times the natural thinking is, the tighter the clamping, the better the bond. When the joint is clamped excessively tight, then most of the glue gets squeezed out, leaving very little strength. The joint should be clamped tight, but not too tight. This is something I learned watching Norm Abram on The New Yankee Workshop tv program.
 

Chuck S

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jul 13, 2019
59
62
Bolingbrook, IL
I have no experience with gluing wood rims, but I have made a good number of bows (archery). From that experience I think you have to consider the following. Glues are good for applications where no gap filling is required and the glue joint is with the long grain of the wood. The larger the surface area the better. I have used Titebond II for all my bows where the material is only wood with no problems.
Epoxy would be better choice for an end grain joint. It also will allow for gap filling. A slow set epoxy provides for the strongest joint. In bow making EA40 Smooth On brand epoxy is the most common choice. Cure time is about 24 hours, less if you use heat. For example at 180 degrees cure time is reduced to 4 hours. Typically used to laminate wood to fiberglass and also for wood to wood joints it provides for a strong shock resistant joint.
I have not had good results with Gorilla glue.
 

hopkintonbike

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sep 21, 2019
126
61
Hopkinton, MA
No experience with wood rim repair but in the bamboo rod making world, Titebond is getting pretty universally used, as far as clamping, if I am understanding the repair correctly, any closure pressure on a finger joint in a rim is likely going to be accomplished using a band clamp, I doubt you could apply enough pressure in that setting that would result in the bonded surfaces being "too tight", actually, I have never heard of a glue joint being clamped too tight, but you learn something new every day. Todd
 
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David Brown

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Dec 14, 2014
518
Kitchener, Canada
I have repaired lots of wood rims over the years and have been using a product called System Three Resins inc. 2 part Epoxy Glue Any rims I have glued never came apart again Being in Ontario i get it at (Noahs boat works) in Toronto
 
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Chuck S

Look Ma, No Hands!
Jul 13, 2019
59
62
Bolingbrook, IL
Because it is moisture activated it is really dangerous to dogs. My wife worked at a shelter, they had to save a dog that ate Gorilla glue. It took an operation and lots of money for that operation. The dog did survive.
 
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Barnegatbicycles

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jul 29, 2012
139
Barnegat Nj
Hide glue, already lasted for the first 100 years. I have some rims that somebody epoxied and I really wish they hadn't because it ruined the wheel. I've laced plenty of rims that have been restored and glued together with hide glue and have never had a problem.
 
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hopkintonbike

Finally riding a big boys bike
Sep 21, 2019
126
61
Hopkinton, MA
How did epoxy ruin the wheel? I am not promoting the use of epoxy, I think waterproof glue like Titebond is much easier to use and if the glue surfaces are cleaned of ALL old glue, holds just fine. As far as hide glue is concerned, that sounds old fashioned and unnecessary to me, its fine to be authentic, but unless the rim is then totally sealed from future moisture, hide glue will eventually let go again. My experience has been with rod restoration, and nobody uses hide glue any more Todd
 

bikewhorder

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Nov 9, 2011
7,471
Midcoast, ME
I'd need to see a pic of what you're trying to do to give you an accurate answer but... I've been making my living as a custom woodworker for 22 years and I'd say titebond 2 or 3 if its an easy fix, or west system epoxy if you need more open time to get it all clamped up. I'm not at all impressed with gorilla glue and hide glue is not an option i would even consider.
 
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GTs58

I'm the Wiz, and nobody beats me!
Sep 2, 2012
12,007
Central Arizona
I'd need to see a pic of what you're trying to do to give you an accurate answer but... I've been making my living as a custom woodworker for 22 years and I'd say titebond 2 or 3 if its an easy fix, or west system epoxy if you need more open time to get it all clamped up. I'm not all impressed with gorilla glue and hide glue is not an option i would even consider.
Been waiting for you to chime in here. ;)
 

Barnegatbicycles

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jul 29, 2012
139
Barnegat Nj
How did epoxy ruin the wheel? I am not promoting the use of epoxy, I think waterproof glue like Titebond is much easier to use and if the glue surfaces are cleaned of ALL old glue, holds just fine. As far as hide glue is concerned, that sounds old fashioned and unnecessary to me, its fine to be authentic, but unless the rim is then totally sealed from future moisture, hide glue will eventually let go again. My experience has been with rod restoration, and nobody uses hide glue any more Todd
Made a really bad uncolorable stain at the joint which sticks out like a sore thumb. I have glue plenty of wood rims together with hide glue and never had a problem with any. If you are going to paint the rims some color then it doesn't matter but if you are going to stain them and clear them hide glue is where it's at in my opinion. Rims are ment to have some give and flex to them ,unlike furniture, if you use something too strong you could get a failure in the joint or it might become very hard to true. Also when you spoke the wheel it naturally pulls the joint together so you don't need anything ridiculously strong.
 
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