Use Glue Instead of Nails For Small Wood Trim

By Todd Fratzel on Cabinetry

Wood Glue is a Better Option For Some Trim Details

Cabinet Trim DetailsThis may seem really obvious but I see this situation so often that it’s worth pointing out especially for DIY’ers and beginners in the cabinetry install business. Stock cabinets can be transformed into elegant pieces by simply adding decorative trim and accents.  The options are limitless, however, all of that expensive trim will be wasted if the installation isn’t near perfect.

One of the problems with stock cabinetry is the fact that the finish is already applied to the cabinet and associated “loose” trim. This means that any fastener holes will need to be filled and somehow finished so they blend in with the factory finish. Anyone that’s tried this knows it’s a tall task and the results can be less than satisfying.

Instead of dragging out the air hose and risking a split in your decorative trim or an ugly nail hole I recommend you use glue where ever possible. The vanity cabinet pictured to the right has a perfect example with a very small trim piece that covers the seam between the upper and lower cabinets that were stacked.

Using Wood Glue Instead of Nails To Attach TrimLots of decorative trim can be glued instead of being nailed. Today wood glues are so good that I have full faith in their holding power for years to come. My theory is if it’s small and/or delicate, and you can tape it into position then it’s a perfect candidate for glue.

Installing Small Trim Pieces with Wood GlueAs you can see above, I applied a small bead of wood glue to the trim piece and then taped it to the cabinet with painters tape. Be sure the tape is applied so that it prevents the piece of trim from moving until the glue sets up. Also be sure to use a tape that won’t remove the finish on the cabinets. I prefer using a good quality painters tape.

Once the glue has setup I simply remove the tape and you’re finished. No nail holes to fill, no headless pins sticking out, no split trim. This technique works on thin filler panels (assuming you can clamp them in place while the glue dries), crown molding, band molding and any type of decorative cabinet trim that’s not “structural” in the sense of holding the cabinet boxes together.


About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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1 Comment

  1. JM says:

    Where i can buy a glue for wood ?

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