The Best Wood Glue Roller (+3 Bonus Glue Spreaders)

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I have a confession to make. I’m not 3+ years into running my own woodworking business, and I have spent 99% of the time spreading wood glue onto joints with my fingers.

Well, I finally broke down and bought a few new glue rollers and can, without a doubt, declare the winner for the best wood glue roller on the market!

I’ll give you a hint; this product isn’t even marketed as a wood glue roller.

I also picked up a few other glue spreaders to keep on hand for smaller glue-ups or those occasions when I don’t want to pull out the roller.

Wood Glue Spreaders I Use in the Shop

Best wood glue spreaders - brush, roller, and spreader

Here’s a quick rundown on the glue spreaders I use in the shop…other than my fingers, that is.

My Pick for the Best Wood Glue Roller

After looking at several different options for glue rollers, including even trying out a small paint roller, I settled on the Speedball Hard Rubber Brayer as my choice.

Speedball Pop-In Hard Rubber Brayer, 4-Inch
283 Reviews
Speedball Pop-In Hard Rubber Brayer, 4-Inch
  • HARD RUBBER BRAYER – Ideal for light carving applications
  • USE WITH ANY RELIEF SUBSTRATE – Ideal for use with linoleum, soft block, or woodcut
  • EAST TO CLEAN – Roller can be changed or removed quickly and easily
  • 80 DUROMETER – Synthetic rubber roller offers the firmness needed for light carving or gluing applications
  • DURABLE PLASTIC HANDLE – Features a strong plastic, comfort grip handle

Other Wood Glue Roller Options I Considered First

I actually really like the design behind the Rockler Wood glue rollers, but I feel like it has one big setback. Most of the glue-ups I’m doing in my daily workflow are gluing edge joints together. This means I’m applying glue to the edges of boards that are usually between 3/8″ and 7/8″ thick.

The Rockler Wood Glue Roller has grooves that run around the roller so you can preload it with glue. This makes it great for gluing up wider surfaces but not as great, in my opinion, for applying glue to edge joints.

I prefer to apply a bead of glue directly on the joint and then spread it rather than rolling it from a tray like a paint roller.

Wood Glue Roller Brayer
Applying wood glue to an edge joint with a hard rubber roller

Why I Picked the Rubber Brayer as my Favorite Wood Glue Roller

Ultimately I picked the Speedball 4″ Hard Rubber Brayer for my shop glue roller. The roller feels very well built, like it will survive when I inevitably knock it onto the shop floor.

The rubber roller is super smooth and seems to leave the perfect amount of glue on the joint, with just enough left on the roller to fill in any bare spots.

I hardly end up with any glue dripping off the sides or an excess building up on the roller itself once I’m done.

My glue squeeze-outs have been super even during clamping, which gives me even more confidence that I made the right choice.

The brayer is also great for larger surface area glue-ups as it is large enough to move around a significant amount of glue. You can pick up these rollers in a number of different sizes, and I’ll probably add a smaller version as the 4″ can be a bit wide at times for edge join glue-ups.

Clean Up

Clean-up is super easy with the roller. It’s just a simple rinse, and it’s good to go for next time. The smooth, hard rubber surface doesn’t leave any nooks or crannies for the glue to get stuck in.

Other Wood Glue Spreaders I Use in the Shop

My small, slightly chaotic shop means I don’t have a dedicated space for glue-ups. Usually, they take place on whatever floor space I can find.

This means I often find myself grabbing whatever glue roller or spreader is closest and most accessible to me at the moment.

I have a few that have managed to stick around, although each has its pros and cons.

Rocker Silicon Wood Glue Brush

silicone wood glue brush

I bought this Rockler silicon wood glue brush as part of a pack that included three different small spreaders. They don’t seem to offer this same pack anymore, but I like having the brush for glue and the spreaders for stirring and applying epoxy on my salt and pepper grinders that I sell on Etsy.

The brush is nice for irregular glue-ups like box joints or dovetails. It also works fine in a pinch for spreading blue on edge grain joints. The brush does tend to pick up a lot of glue, though, so I usually have to go a little heavy with the glue bead in those cases.

Rockler Silicone Glue Brush
1,009 Reviews
Rockler Silicone Glue Brush
  • Silicone Glue Brush measures 7'' long
  • The tapered brush tip measures 1'' wide x 1/2'' deep

Silicone Popsicle Sticks

silicone popsicle stick wood glue spreader

I picked up a 10-pack of these silicone popsicle sticks to use for mixing epoxy. They have also shown to be really useful, though, for spreading glue!

I like how there is just enough flex in the sticks, and they are just soft enough to leave a smooth layer of glue on my edge joints. And the fact that they are silicon means I can set them down after the glue-up and easily peel off the dried glue the next day.

These silicone popsicle sticks also work great for mixing epoxy, so the multiuse capabilities are always a nice touch.

Rockler Silicone Glue Brush
1,009 Reviews
Rockler Silicone Glue Brush
  • Silicone Glue Brush measures 7'' long
  • The tapered brush tip measures 1'' wide x 1/2'' deep

3-Inch Plastic Spreader

Plastic Wood Glue Spreader

Before picking up a glue roller this plastic scraper was my go-to for spreading large amounts of glue. I didn’t even buy it for this purpose but it migrated to my workbench cup of miscellaneous tools and had since found a spot in my glue-up routine.

The rigid plastic has its disadvantages as it tends to get bits of glue stuck around the edges that can be difficult to remove. I think a silicone version would be a much better option but for $1.99 or whatever it was, it’s a tough price to beat.

I tend to reach for this most often when I’m gluing up cutting boards and all the strips are the same height. The uniform surface makes it easy to spread glue across all of the strips.

What else can I use to roll wood glue?

Wood glue can be rolled with a hard rubber brayer as I use, a wood glue roller with special grooves to pick up and spread the glue, or even a paint roller although the paint roller will pick up and ultimately waste a lot of glue.

How do you spread wood glue evenly?

For edge glue-ups, I like to apply a thin bead of glue the length of the joint and then spread it with either my finger, roller, or glue spreader. By keeping steady pressure I’m usually able to create a thin, even layer on the edge of the joint.

Can you apply wood glue with a brush?

You can apply wood glue with either a regular paintbrush or a silicone brush. Paintbrushes need a good cleaning after or the bristles will quickly become stiff and unusable. The silicone brush can be left to dry and the dried glue peeled off later.

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