"White Glue"


Hi Guys!

At the risk of sounding dumb, I have a dilemma. I just finished my "white glue" that I bought 20 years ago. When I went to Lowes for a replacement I found numerous types of white glue, by many manufacturers. First, not all are white. Second, Elmer's Glue All isn't even plastic compatible. Third, none of the containers said the glue dries clear. My old glue was white, plastic compatible and dried clear. (Unfortunately, I threw out the old container) Can you guys please tell me exactly what glues you are using and not just Elmers, Titebond and "white".



Titebond II

Premium Wood Glue - sort of off-white light tan colour, but seems to dry clear.  Haven't specifically tested it on plastics, but I haven't noticed any incompatibility.  I use it for wood structures & cars as well as for scenery (diluted with water + a drop of detergent).  So far entirely satisfactory.




I think you may have misread something on that Elmer's Glue-all Label.

Elmer's White Glue has Never been "Plastic Compatible."  It doesn't actually weld plastic to plastic, but rather, acts as a piece of tape might while it is wet, and then easily breaks off once it has dried.  It is for this reason you can easily clean off the cap on a glue-all container that has been gunked up.  If you put a plastic kit together with it, though, the kit will not truly stay assembled.

That is what is meant on the label where it says "Note: not for plastics, bare metal, submerged or heated surfaces."  In short, White Glue will not hold these materials together!!

Just avoid Elmer's School Glue - that stuff is chemically engineered to instantly break down when you hit it with water - which is great if you're a teacher and the runts just dumped a bottle on the floor.  Just add water, and it vacuums right up, be it here for a day or a month.  For model railroading, the stuff is atrocious!  We learned this the hard way at the club, where we put some ballast down with it, and once dry the ballast was hard until someone might touch it, to discover it brittle and easily removed as if there wasn't even glue on it at all.  We were confused until a Railroad forumite who's wife is a teacher filled us in on the secret behind School Glue.  Since then, No more Issues!!!


PVA or Aliphatic

It used to be that White glue was PVA (PolyVinyl Acetate) and Yellow Glue was PVA with Aliphatic Resins added.  Yellow glue had a higher instant tack and dried with a chemical reaction. It was more brittle but easier to sand and did not dry clear.  

Nowadays a lot of the Yellow glues are actually plain old PVA and some of the White Glues contain Aliphatic Resin.  Confused?? You need to read the label carefully and make sure you are just getting plain old PVA



Modelling CSX in HO

Wish i had known

I just laid down a bunch of fill rock with thinned "school glue".  I thought there was something different weird about it.



Go back over it with a batch of thinned Glue-all, and you should be fine.

"White Glue"


Thank you for your response. I actually believe the glue container I just disposed of was Titebond, but not sure. I will go with your recommendation.


I should have been more clear. I didn't actually want it to be able to cement plastic to plastic, but I do use it for things like gluing weights in freight cars. It holds them well and takes only slight pressure to loosen them if the need arises.  When I read the warning I thought it might melt the plastic.


Thanks for the heads-up about PVA. I will make sure to check the label.

Thanks to all and to everyone on the forum have a wonderful year.


Aileene's Tacky Glue

Is a white glue I like to use but I do have some Elmers Glue All around too and some "wood glue" as well. Depends on the job as to which I use. Aileen's is marketed as "craft" glue and to me it is tackier than Elmers Glue All.


Joe Brugger's picture

weights in freights

For that particular application, I like DAP Household Adhesive Sealant, which is 100% silicone, dries clear, and smells kind of funky until it cures. It works well for bonding plastic to metal, which is usually the case with car weights. It was invented to seal leaks in aquariums.

Have also used it to mount can motors in locomotives. GE makes a similar product, but DAP is what the neighborhood Do It Best outlet stocks.

Nelsonb111563's picture

Elmer's Glue All!

Elmer's Glue All diluted to a thin consistancy to your liking with a few drops of dish soap added to help with breaking the surface tension.  Wet your area down first with "wet water" (plain water with a few drops of dish soap) using a fine mist sprayer. ( I actually use a sprayer that had a Glade Air Freshener in it, just clean it well first)  These sprayers make a very fine mist that is best to not disturb freshly laid ground foam and or ballast.  Spary indirectly over the area to be wetted and let it "rain" down onto the area.  Then apply your glue.

Nelson Beaudry

Kennebec, Penobscot and Northern RR Co.

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