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Urea–formaldehyde (UF) and phenol–formaldehyde (PF) resins are the most widely used wood adhesives. The first stage in resin manufacturing is the formation of methylol derivatives which polycondensation leads to building the tridimensional network. Understanding the behaviour of methylol compounds in curing provides useful information for developing appropriate resin structures. Thermal behaviour of N,N′-dihydroxymethylurea, 2- and 4-hydroxymethylphenols, urea and phenol as model compounds for UF, PF and phenol–urea–formaldehyde (PUF) resins was followed by TG-DTA method. The measurements were carried out by the labsys instrument Setaram at 30–450 °C in nitrogen flow. The characteristic signals for model compounds and for some reaction mixtures were measured by high resolution 13C NMR spectroscopy.

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