Woodworking Safety Week 2008 #3: Super Glue: Safe for Treating Cuts?

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Blog entry by Eric posted 05-09-2008 09:50 AM 1123 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Hand Tool Safety Tips (Video) Part 3 of Woodworking Safety Week 2008 series no next part

Okay, okay, so the woodworking community has spent all week talking about how to be safe in the shop, but let’s be real: Accidents happen. So when they do, how do you treat it? From time to time I read in the forums or bulletin boards about treating cuts with Super Glue, and invariably someone questions how safe it is to do so. So for Woodworking Safety Week 2008, I spent a half hour Googling the topic and here’s what I have for you:

It’s fine. Go for it.

Okay, now for the longer answer. One of the first practical uses of Super Glue (also referred to as “CA” for its chemical name, cyanoacrylate) was to treat wounded soldiers during the Vietnam War – to control the bleeding until they could get back to the hospital. It wasn’t just used externally, either – it was apparently used for such things as patching up lacerated livers as well.

CA is a great workshop solution because it instantly and securely seals off the cut and quickly eliminates pain (because the pain, apparently, is from oxygen hitting the exposed nerve endings). It wears off naturally in a day or two, so you may need to reapply – but by then, the bleeding has stopped and the pain is much less anyway. CA apparently also reduces scarring.

Experts (who are these guys anyway?) say that CA can irritate the skin and should not be used on deep cuts. A more helpful “expert” advises that over-the-counter CA is less preferred because it has a cheaper type of methyl alcohol in it. No one seems to have a problem with using CA on smallish surface cuts, especially those that can easily be closed up while glued. For a medical variant of CA, try Dermabond, Band-Aid Liquid Bandage or 3M No-Sting Liquid Bandage Spray.

Personally, I’ve recently become brave enough to try it, and now I’m a big fan of Super Glue. Just last month I ran a marking knife into my thumb up to the nail. After a minute of holding it under the faucet, I dried it off, glued it up and was back to woodworking in minutes, with no worry about bleeding on the workpiece. And just yesterday I ripped a fingernail pretty bad at the pool (when is Swimming Pool Safety Week, anyway?), and put some Super Glue over the nail to help seal it up. Yeah!

-- Eric at

6 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4094 days

#1 posted 05-09-2008 03:03 PM

Pretty amazing stuff!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View leonmcd's profile


204 posts in 3966 days

#2 posted 05-09-2008 03:15 PM

First time I heard of it used on a cut was for a barefoot water skier. He was in a barefoot ski jump competition. Somehow got a cut on his foot ( don’t know how that could happen lol). He used super glue and went right back to the competition.

-- Leon -- Houston, TX - " I create all my own designs and it looks like it "

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4046 days

#3 posted 05-09-2008 05:43 PM

We used it while playing Hockey, It quickly stopped the bleeding so you did not have to miss a shift when you were cut. Works great.

-- Hope Never fails

View John in SD's profile

John in SD

140 posts in 3807 days

#4 posted 05-09-2008 07:17 PM

Great info….......Thanks

-- Life used to be soooo much simpler!!!!

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3708 days

#5 posted 05-09-2008 07:20 PM

That was one heck of a well put together topic… thank you for doing so much research…

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4301 days

#6 posted 05-09-2008 09:34 PM

Thanks Eric for the resaerch and the info but….I hope no one ever has to use it.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

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