There is a broad range of glues on the market today, as there are so many uses for it. You can purchase glue for a particular job you are doing and for a certain material that you have. There is just the right glue for anything that you need it for. Whether for the home, office, workplace or college, you can obtain just the exact glue for your particular project or need. If you are doing wood work and need a strong glue that sets quickly and firmly then super glue is what you need. Here is all you need to know about super glue.
Super glue is also known as Cyanoacrylate is a powerful adhesive. It is stronger than regular glue and is usually dispensed through a tube. Super glue is waterproof and has instant bonding capabilities which also make it an excellent choice for holding together nonporous materials like metal and plastic.
The wide variety of super glue choices in hardware and specialty stores today creates lots of confusion among DIYers when it comes to choosing the best super glue for their needs. What is more is that not everyone that buys the glue knows how to use it properly to get best results. Thankfully, this article highlights a few steps that can help you get the best results from your super glue when gluing wood, in wood turning and also when used as a filler.
The Best Way To Use Super Glue – 8 Quick Steps
1. Pick the right super glue and applicator
The first and important step to getting excellent super glue results is to ensure that you choose the right kind of glue. It should be good quality and adequate for the size of application you will be doing.
As previously stated, the market abounds with a wide variety of super glues. Different brands flood the market with each one of them assuring customers of providing top quality and effectiveness. This broad range tends to create lots of confusion, and thus you need to be very careful when choosing one for yourself.
To be able to pick the right super glue for your particular application, you need to understand that there isn’t a one fits all type of glue. There are different kinds of super glues, and each one works through varying levels of adhesion and strength, so using one for a particular application may not work well with another.
There are three main types of super glues, thin or watery super glues which are mainly as fillers for cracks in woods. There is the medium super glue which can be used to attach waste wood to face plate turning even on end grain or wet wood. Thick glue, on the other hand, is the kind that is used to fill voids in woods that might otherwise be thrown away as waste. Therefore, you should determine if your type of application needs the thin, medium or thick type of super glue and choose the best one accordingly.
As you pick the glue, ensure that you also select the right type of applicator.This will also depend on the kind of application you will be doing.
2. Prepare working area and ensure that it is well ventilated
To be able to work efficiently and get maximum results, you will need to use super glue in a well-ventilated area. Super glue as already mentioned is a highly active adhesive. And as expected the glue has some level of toxicity that if inhaled can irritate sensitive membranes of the body especially the eyes, nose, and throat. This is discussed in detail in the article all you need to know about super glue.
Such risks can be minimized by using super glue in a well-ventilated area. Therefore as you prepare the working area, ensure that there is enough ventilation. You can work outdoors if it is a quick job or if you are not confident with the amount of ventilation in your workshop.
One more thing to keep in mind is that as you get ready to begin the super glue, cover the surrounding areas to avoid the glue from sticking to items within the working area. If there are pieces of furniture around, carpet or other fabrics ensure that you cover them well with a cloth to avoid spillage.
3. Smooth surfaces to be bonded
When gluing two pieces of wood together, a quality sanding job will significantly contribute to the outcome of the bond. To achieve best results, the surfaces should be as smooth as possible before you apply the glue to them. If you are not sure about how to go about the sanding process, here are a few tricks to help you.
- Always sand with the grain of the wood. Sanding against the grain can create scratches that may affect how well the pieces bond.
- For a nice smooth finish, use progressively finer sandpaper. Scratches and dings will in most cases affect the gluing outcome. Therefore, you will need to sand the surfaces with coarser sand pare and then follow up with a finer grit sandpaper.
- Do not rush the sanding process as you want the surfaces to be smooth enough for them to bond properly. The truth of the matter is that sanding can be tedious especially when you are in a rush. But then any imperfections that are missed during sanding will be reflected in the outcome. Taking the time to do the job right will pay off with a beautifully smooth finish that serves as a stable foundation for gluing.
Also, remember to remove any varnish or paint on the surfaces while sanding. After sanding, wipe the surfaces clean with a damp cloth and allow drying. If you glue any surfaces with dirt, the super glue will bond with the dirt and thus will not give the results that you desire. It is therefore important that you not only sand the surfaces but also clean off any debris, dirt or grease that may have formed on the surfaces.
4. Apply the glue sparingly
Once the surfaces of your objects are dry, proceed to apply the glue in small amounts. Depending on the type of glue you are using. Super glue in most cases dries very quickly and best when a thin layer is applied.
Unlike regular glue, super glue begins curing immediately it comes to contact with moisture in the air and on applied surfaces. This, therefore, means that applying a thick layer of super glue will significantly increase bonding time while decreasing the strength and quality of the bond.
So, when bonding two surfaces together, you will want to use small amounts of glue to get a firm hold. A good way to ensure that you don’t over apply the glue is to use one small drop of super glue per inch of the surface of your object. At least following this rule will keep you in check and avoid applying thick layers that will not give you the results that you desire.
5. Hold the bonded parts together
Bonding will not be desirable if surfaces are left to dry out separately. You need to hold the glued pieces together for some time to allow them to correctly bond and dry out initially.
If you are gluing wooden pieces, you can clamp the pieces together until bonding, and initial drying has taken place. While clamping, try not to apply too much force as this may affect how the glue adheres. Also, do not be bothered with excess glue squeezing on the sides; as long as it is minimal there is no problem.
Clamps will also allow you to hold the pieces tightly together until the glue has completely dried off. If you don’t have clamps, you will have to find ways to ensure the two pieces of wood are tightly held together until the glue sets. Once the surfaces have bonded, you can wipe the excess glue on the sides with a dry cloth and allow complete curing to take place.
For thinner and lighter materials, you can hold them out by hand and allow about 30 seconds to dry. After which you can leave them in the open to fully set and dry.
6. Allow the super glue to cure completely before usage
The 30 seconds mentioned above are not enough for super glue to totality cure. After the surfaces have bonded, you will also have to leave them for a few hours, 24 hours at least for complete curing before you can use the object as expected.
Using super glue as a filler in woodturning
7. Allow sufficient time for a full thickness cure before sanding the filled area
When using super glue to fill deep voids in wooden pieces, you must leave the object to cure before you start sanding the filled area fully. The duration for this is not definite; it can be anything between 24 to 36 hours even longer- it depends on how deep the filling goes.
An accelerator can use to speed up the curing time to full thickness. However, while this may be so, time is always of the essence in this case. You, therefore, have to let the glue cure without any agents to speed up the process. This is because such agents i.e. accelerators tend to cause blooming and frosting which are not things you would want to encounter during woodturning.
If it is possible, avoid using any accelerator and just allow your object to cure naturally and comprehensively after which you can embark on the sanding process. Doing this will not just make the deep filled area look better, but it will also make sanding easier and more efficient.
Also, sanding before the filled area has fully cured can be dangerous. This is because the deeper layers of the void may still be liquid, even when the top is rock solid. Therefore, by sanding before the deep filled area is fully cured exposes you to the liquid bottom layers which when splashed on your body can cause serious injury.
8. Store remaining super glue appropriately
Super glue can be a valuable addition to the collection of adhesives in your workshop. Appropriate storage of the product is, therefore,necessary if you want to achieve the best results out of using the adhesive.
Super glues tend to have a reduced shelf life of about 6-12 months once opened. This means that for bottles that are still intact, you can store the glue in a freezer for longer periods unlike for those that have already been opened which will require additional storage precaution to ensure that they remain in top shape for use.
Opened super glue cans shouldn’t be stored without caps on. Unless the storage area is very low humidity, the glue should only be kept with its caps on to avoid premature curing while still in the bottle. This is because once glue cures in the bottle, it becomes useless and wastes which can’t be used.
There are those people that use super glue and thus buy them in bulk and later refill them in small applicator bottles for use when needed. If you fall into this category of people, you should ensure that you use applicators made out of polyethylene for best results. And unlike unopened cans, opened super glue bottles should never be stored in the freezer because when they are removed, the glue inside the bottle may be exposed to condensation thus causing it to cure prematurely.
For best storage results in the long term, store opened super glue bottles in a container with a tight fitting cap and moisture absorbing packs (desiccants) inside the container. Storing glue this way will allow you to get every drop of glue out of the bottle and possibly get rid of wasted glue when needed.
It is common for super glues to jam up the tip of applicator bottles especially when stored inappropriately. To avoid this, you should wipe off any glue residues from the outside of the applicator tip and allow the remaining glue to flow back into the bottle before you put the cap back on and storing the glue.
Super glue is available in nearly any hardware or department store. The best thing is that you don’t even have to leave your house to get super glue for your applications; you can simply go online and order yourself as much glue as you want. Besides, when you shop online, you might find a better deal - and there are many different versions available. Depending on your needs it is best to read the package before purchasing to ensure you are getting the best super glue with the capacity to adhere to suit your purposes.
As always, with any chemical or adhesive product use caution when applying. Avoid contact with your skin by wearing protective clothing and utilize a mask to avoid inhaling toxic fumes. If you get any of the glue in your eyes, follow the instructions on the package and call for medical help immediately.
Hopefully, these steps can help you get best results with super glue anytime you embark on gluing projects.