Tool Du Jour

December 22, 2015

The last article I wrote about tools I had a problem with "cyanoacrylate" glue trying to take over. So I decided to give "CA" glue some time of its own. And rightfully so, CA glue is a wonderful glue that unquestionably has a place in lutherie and wood working as well as dozens of different applications around the house.

 

Just one thing, one must remember its limitations. CA glue has a limitation which can have disastrous effects if left unheeded.

 

Most everyone will remember the "Krazy Glue" commercial from a few decades age with the man was suspended from a steel girder by his hard hat stuck to the girder by Krazy Glue. They were not lying. Cyanoacrylate glue is that strong. Except if one were to have twisted the hard hat the poor man would pop off the girder and fallen.

 

Cyanoacrylate glue has little or no "shear" strength. One cannot pull it apart but if you twist the joint or place pressure on it, side to side, it will break quite easily.

 

So what good is it? Any joint where you do not need or want shear strength it works great.

 

The following is a list where one might benefit from using cyanoacrylate glue:

1. Gluing frets into slots [sometimes one may not want to glue frets into slots but if you do, a small dab of cyanoacrylate works well

2. Gluing position markers into their respective holes

3. Gluing string posts into place that might be loose

4. Gluing "inlays" into place

5. To temporally hold something in position that will be secured with a metal fastener later

 

Other uses will come to mind, I am sure. Cyanoacrylate glue is not really good to repair ceramics unless one intends to use the repaired piece for display only. Cyanoacrylate is not good for "gap filling" unless one is filling the gap with a repair piece.

 

Unlike other glues, with cyanoacrylate glue "less is more." Just a drop will work much better than a glob. Usually the joint needs to be held or clamped tightly until it sets.

 

Cyanoacrylate glue works well with dissimilar substances such as wood to steel, wood to plastic, as well as wood to wood. There are many cyanoacrylate "accelerators" on the market. All of these accelerators have toxic fumes until they have completely wicked off. The jury is still out as to whether cyanoacrylate glue by itself is toxic. In any case, I always use gloves because of the real possibility of gluing one's skin to the piece.

 

Cyanoacrylate glue also makes a good durable water proof finish but that application is untenable for lutherie purposes.

 

Cyanoacrylate Glue is available in dozens of different brands and names as well as viscosity. Read the ingredients to be sure it is cyanoacrylate glue.

 

Stick with it,

Gary Bell

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