When it comes to gluing, the best choice is a combination of ease, joint strength, and quick setup to reduce clamping need. Many people turn to one of the many super glues on the hardware store shelves. This glue is made of cyanoacrylate and is usually abbreviated CA. Professionals frequently use this type glue, but they don't go to the nearest big box store to obtain it. They prefer a type made for professionals. We use the glue marketed by FastCap called 2P-10.
Recommend this product?
Fastcap 2P-10 CA Glue Kit
We were introduced to this glue when we were just starting to make wooden pens on our lathe. We were at a local woodworker store and got into a conversation with another customer about pen making. He led us to the fasteners aisle in the store and pointed out this glue as the one he and his wood turning friends used. We had used the super glues, almost since they became available, around the house. We seldom used them in our woodworking adventures, however. We saw the kit of several different glues and decided to get it. We haven't looked back. This glue is available on-line from places like Amazon.
This is a rich relative to the super glues you find on most store shelves. Here are some of the differences. First, it is a two-part adhesive (the 2P in the name). Something like epoxy adhesives, it uses an activator to make it set up fast. Once the activator and the glue meet, the set up is quick. The 10 in the name represents the ten second set up time once activated. Cure time is 30 seconds. Since the activator is separate from the CA glue, the shelf life of this glue, once opened and if the cap is properly replaced each time, is two years. Satisfaction is guaranteed by FastCap. Just return it for replacement. Compare this to the month or two the store variety can last before it is tossed away. One reason is that the CA is triple filtered for purity. Another is the attention paid to the bottle it is stored in. A lot of attention has been paid to this storage container. It has even been improved since the first bottle we used. Moisture will eventually set this glue up. something like the action of polyurethane adhesives like Gorilla Glue. The container has a foam seal between the cap and main bottle. The screw-on cover has a stainless steel pin that inserts tightly in the tip when it is fully screwed in place. The threads on the cap are deep and coarse to allow any bond the glue makes between the cap and spout to be broken as the cap screws off. My first bottle of thick glue was empty after about eight months so I can only state it was usable until it was empty.
This kit comes in a nice red plastic case and holds:
•· 2oz gel, thick, medium, and thin adhesive
•· 2oz activator
•· 2oz debonder
•· spray cap for both
Each item in the kit can be purchased separately and in larger sizes.
Each type of CA glue is best for a specific range of applications. The gel is like its name, thick and not prone to running. The thick is the one we use most for gluing brass tubing into holes drilled through the center of the wood or plastic we are making a pen from. It does run, but we want it to a little as we twist the tube into its hole. The medium is good for a little filling of cracks as it will run into them. The thin is great for filling micro-cracks like can be made when drilling through plastic. In general, the thicker the glue, the better the job it does in filling gaps at the joint. the thinner the better the job of penetrating the surface of a joint.
The activator is usually sprayed on one surface of a joint and the glue on the other. In gluing brass tubes into their holes we spread the glue on the tube after we have sanded it lightly to give it some tooth and take off any coating, then spray the activator in the hole. We then have plenty of time to align everything before quickly sliding the tube into its hole, twisting it as we go to make sure the surfaces are wetted (the glue covering and penetrating the whole surface). We then lightly spray the ends to make sure the excess glue gets cured. You can actually use this glue without the activator since it is moisture sensitive and creates heat to effect the cure. This way the set up time is over 30 seconds and the cure time over five minutes.
The debonder is not to take a cured joint apart. It is for cleanup of glue spills, even on your hands. It has to be sprayed and then sit for a couple of minutes. Sometimes it takes multiple applications to soften the glue enough for removal. If you do use it on your hands, have some lotion available as it will dry your skin out.
The micro-tips are a throw-away item that you can use for very tiny glue application. They work best with the thinner glues. We just put a drop or two of the glue on a piece of plastic and use a wooden toothpick as the applicator.
Our Uses So Far
The things you can use this glue on are too numerous to cover completely. Let's start with using it in pen making. We have already talked about using the thick glue to hold pieces of lightly sanded brass tubing in both wood and acrylic pen bodies. We have never had one come loose in well over a hundred pens we have made. We also use it when assembling pens. This is when we use the toothpicks. Most of the pen parts are metal and the joints are either metal-to-metal or metal-to-wood press fits. We usually assure the press fit doesn't come apart with use by putting a very small drop of the CA glue on one surface and a tiny spray of activator on the other before pressing them together.
Another time we use the glue, usually the gel form, is to repair dings and other mistakes in the wooden pen bodies that sometimes happen when we are turning them. We place a drop or so of the gel glue in the hole or crack, grab some of the sawdust from the turning, rub it into the glue (we keep a thin poly throwaway glove on our right hand), then spray it with activator. The defect disappears with some judicious sanding. This glue, when cured, is completely sandable or workable with a lathe chisel. FastCap has recently released a colorant kit that will allow you to pre-color the glue for even more applications. We haven't tried it. We have used the gel glue to fill small holes in acrylic pen bodies. It is clear when cured and lets the underlying acrylic color show though so the hole is just gone.
The one downside to this glue is that the joint it makes is brittle and can be broken with sufficient force. It is rated at 4000 PSI for both tensile and shear forces. What if you want a more pliable bond, but clamping of standard wood glue for the joint is hard or even impossible to do? Simply spread the wood glue over the two pieces to be joined then put a dab of the gel CA glue a couple of places on one side and a little activator on the other. Press the two pieces together and hold for ten seconds. The CA glue will set and hold the joint until the wood glue has cured.
We have used it to glue broken ceramic and china back together. We have used it to glue small hinges to small boxes. We have used it for plastic toys. Maybe we have become glue snobs, but we turn our nose up at the more plebian CA offerings at the big box store.
Read all comments (5)