What Glue Should You Use for Marquetry

Marquetry is a really beautiful technique that can take a normal piece of wood and turn it into a piece of art. It requires a lot of precision and technique to really master. However, other than a lot of practice, you also need to have the proper tools to achieve the best results. For instance, you might be wondering what glue you should use for the purpose of marquetry? Well, we are here to answer just that question for your ease! In this article, we will find out what glue should you use for marquetry.

When it comes to marquetry, you need to use water-based wood glue. Water-based wood glue is a reasonably inexpensive adhesive that has a very strong bond once it dries off properly. While it does take a long time to set and dry, it allows you to perfect the positioning of the inlays for your marquetry in case you might have messed it up in the beginning. It also embeds itself in the wood, migrating itself in the pores, allowing for an even stronger bond between the inlays and the main piece.

Most people consider water-based wood glue to be a hassle due to its drying time. They rather use something that dries off faster and holds a strong bond in that short period. Woodworking is not just about the craft itself, it also requires a lot of patience. Finishes take hours to dry and days to cure properly, before that you can’t exactly lay any final touches on the wood. So woodworking is nothing but patience and practice. Patience is also the key when it comes to marquetry as well, as it takes time for the glue to dry properly.

How to Choose the Right Glue for Marquetry?

The marquetry technique requires you to work with a thin veneer sheet and inlay it into wood. You need to use an adhesive to make sure that the whole thing stays in one piece afterward.


To choose a glue for this process, you need to consider a few factors ahead. One factor which is paramount is the type of finish you will apply at the end when you are done with marquetry. People usually use an oil-based finish chemical finish that heats up during its drying process. While the finish itself dries up and creates a tight bond on the surface of the wood, any chemicals inside it might loosen the glue itself. So keep in mind that you should choose a glue that works best with the finish.


Where are you going to place the finished product? This question will matter a lot when you are going to choose the glue for your marquetry project. Because depending on the conditions of where you will place it, you will need to find glue that will not be affected by them. Sometimes table tops that are placed under direct sunlight end up getting their veneer peeled off from corners as the glue weakens due to the heat from the sun.

One of the best glues for marquetry has to be Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue because of its compatibility with wood and its bonding formula. It is one of the best products in the market when it comes to adhesives for wood in particular. People might argue that contact cement is a good idea for marquetry as it dries fast and has a strong bonding force.

However, with contact cement, it becomes imperative to choose your finish very wisely. When you apply finish to the final piece, the veneer will often soak it up. This will result in the contact cement being dissolved by the solvent in the finish. Also, the dissolved contact cement ends up releasing bubbles in the finished product so it ends up blurry instead of a clear coat. This does not happen with water-based wood glue, which clearly makes it a better choice for this application.

Another good glue for the purpose of marquetry often recommended by woodworkers is hide glue. Since it is an animal-based glue, some people might not be comfortable using it, making our first recommendation the best choice after all.

Tips For Using Glue on Marquetry

  • Complete coverage: Make sure the whole surface area of the veneer inlays is covered with glue. You want the whole area of the veneer inlay and the hollow of the wood to be coated with a very thin layer of glue so that no space is left without a proper contact area.
  • Don’t overuse glue: Don’t pour the glue into the hollow when inserting inlays in them. Use a very thin layer of glue on both the veneer inlays and the hollows when you use the marquetry technique. Using too much glue ends up creating a barrier between the two. This glue will not get absorbed by the wood and will just sit there in between the pieces.
  • Sand to fill gaps: If there are gaps between the wood and the inlays, you only need to fill the gaps by sanding. Don’t use anything like a wood filler or anything. When you sand it lightly the gaps become filled with sawdust which mixes in with the glue. This ensures there aren’t any colour changes when the whole thing is done.

Other Alternative Glues for Marquetry

There are other glues that can be used in the place of water-based wood glue like Titebond III. We already spoke of hiding glue as an option for marquetry above. However, since it is an animal-based glue, not everyone prefers to use it due to how it is made. It is made with animal products like bones and skin, so if you dislike the notion of using something like that it is completely understandable. Though it does not change the fact it is a good alternative for water-based wood glues.

Another great option for adhesives to use in the marquetry technique is resin-based glue or epoxy resin. You can use a resin-based finish over the piece as a finish and it will just strengthen the bond between the inlays and the wood. If you are planning on using contact cement for the purpose of marquetry, use a water-based finish that does not have any solvents that might dissolve the adhesive.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to marquetry, having the perfect adhesive application is essential. Because anything other than that would just ruin the whole piece and you would have to start over from scratch. Hopefully, our article guided you on what adhesive would be the best for the marquetry technique. Also, don’t forget to use a finish that compliments the adhesive and does not end up ruining it.

Martin Swizz

Hi! This is Martin, I like to research, experiment, and learn new things related to wood carving and other kinds of woodworking.

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