CA glue?

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Forum topic by daveblev posted 04-28-2011 03:46 AM 3368 views 2 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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20 posts in 2554 days

04-28-2011 03:46 AM

ok, i’ve been reading posts where people are using ca to glue blanks onto a piece of scrap, then screwing that to a faceplate. are we talking about basic super glue, crazy glue, etc.? or is there a different ca just for woodworking?
i didn’t want to use the wrong stuff, because i know what a chunk of wood coming off a lathe at speed is capable of doing to anything in it’s path.

-- dave in s.e. ks.

13 replies so far

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3330 days

#1 posted 04-28-2011 03:52 AM

Yep, that is super glue. I would never use it myself for turning, soaks into the wood too much and does not hold strong enough in my opinion. I use turners double sided tape or regular wood glue if I am not in a hurry to turn the piece.

View brtech's profile


1028 posts in 2884 days

#2 posted 04-28-2011 04:18 AM

Pretty much CA is CA. The only real variation is thickness and additives. The thin stuff sets real fast. It’s like water. There is thicker, more gel-like CA that takes a bit longer to setup. You can get CA that is more flexible than the normal stuff. That’s about it. Brands matter a bit, but not much. Two common ones that are good are Zap and Bob Smith Industries. Often, the local hobby shop sells BSI under other names, but it says BSI on it. I use Loctite if I can’t get BSI or Zap. Loctite is fine, but you usually only find it in the smaller sizes and costs more per oz. Basic Crazy Glue will do.

View daveblev's profile


20 posts in 2554 days

#3 posted 04-28-2011 04:32 AM

is titebond good for this same purpose? the reason for the questions is that when i was turning years ago, about all we really had was carpenter’s glue. there’s just more stuff out there now, and i want to use what’s best!

-- dave in s.e. ks.

View Loren's profile


10241 posts in 3610 days

#4 posted 04-28-2011 05:46 AM

One trick is to glue construction paper to the piece with yellow
or white glue, then glue the paper to the faceplate or whatever.

The glue is strong and the paper is too, but you can tear the
paper apart with a chisel and then sand or turn off the residue.

CA glue is lousy at filling gaps, and it only makes a strong bond if
the parts match really well. I haven’t messed with it in awhile –
there may be some interesting variants on the market now.

View rance's profile


4255 posts in 3122 days

#5 posted 04-28-2011 06:01 AM

“Best”, now there’s a word. :) There are a lot of variables. In your original post, you didn’t mention the size of the ‘Blank’. For smaller blanks, I’m sure ‘Super Glue’ would work fine, but I wouldn’t use Thin.

For gluing a dowel in place, I’d use the thin to soak into the wood. Alternatively, douse the hole AND the dowel with thin, then apply a tad of medium to the hole just before I installed the dowel. The combination of the thin AND the medium work together to get the best bond. For gluing a small blank to the scrap, I’d go with medium or thick(which I’ve never seen in the ‘Krazy Glue’ brand), but you’ll have to cut it off when you are finished turning. For a medium size bowl, I’d steer away from CA, it is too brittle and unpredictable on the vibrating lathe.

Back to your original application. You’ll want a temporary bond. CA would not be my first choice unless your blank can be successfully sawn from the scrap. A better alternative to address the ‘temporary’ element might be to use white glue or titebond(I) with a piece of printer paper sandwiched between the blank and scrap. This can be successfully done with small to medium size bowls. If properly applied, hot melt glue could also be used.

What I’m saying here is you may need to learn more about the properties of each glue choice. I’ve given you some things to consider, but maybe do some experimenting away from the lathe. I doubt there is EVER one “Best” glue for ALL lathe applications. There are always multiple aspects to consider, species, materials involved(metal vs. wood), strength of the joint needed, the shade of the wood, and many more. At a minimum, keep ahead of the safety curve, especially working with spinney chunks on the lathe.

If you give us more information, then a better shot at a “Best” might be achieved.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View peteg's profile


4269 posts in 2785 days

#6 posted 04-28-2011 09:43 AM

You haven’t mentioned dimensions ( H x D x W), type of timber or what yur are trying to achieve ( is this a bowl, platter or a hollow form or what)?
In general, you’re on a dangerous path using CA on faceplate work as a simple “hold method”(imho)
If you are trying to glue “end grain” forget it. if you are trying to turn a spigot ,or recess, onto a blank say for a bowl, why wouldn’t you simply bring your tailstock up (with a live centre) & jamb that to your faceplate (or spur drive) & gently turn a spigot then get to the real work at hand,
Saying that I have used hot melt with wedges to set an off balance piece to a face plate to get a spigot, but would also use a lot of tape were possible or screws & blocks to help the hold then at least if the glue gives way you have time courtsey of the tape to stop the lathe safetly,
I have also used double sided tape but this is “industrial type tape cut from 4’ wide rolls used for laminating S/S to Ali’composite material used in construction & I would still use back up tape if possibe.
what ever you decide make sure you start your lathe on the slowest speed available & if you are hapoy work up from there.
I learnt a long time ago that pieces of timber flying about in shop are realy scarry & you should take every precaution to avoid any chance of this happening
It’s good to remember that the old masters working on Pole lathes a hundred years ago never heard of CA, chucks, live centres as we know them & the like, & have a look at what they managed to achieve

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Barbara Gill's profile

Barbara Gill

153 posts in 2622 days

#7 posted 04-28-2011 03:00 PM

It has been my experience at the CA from Wal-Mart, etc. Does not hold nearly as well as the better grades available from places like Star Bomd, etc. There is a big difference in quality.
CA does not have good shear strength.

-- Barbara

View daveblev's profile


20 posts in 2554 days

#8 posted 04-29-2011 02:08 PM

thanks all!

-- dave in s.e. ks.

View brtech's profile


1028 posts in 2884 days

#9 posted 04-29-2011 04:04 PM

CA bonds wood. It can create a very strong joint.

It set’s very fast. The thin sets in a couple of seconds. The medium gel sets in 10 secs or so. That’s good if you want an instant set, usually not good when working with wood. We often want more, not less, set time.

Note that it can take hours to get to a full strength joint, but you get a lot of hold quick with CA.

CA is expensive per application relative to other wood glues.

CA is hard to debond. If you can get at the joint itself, there are chemical debonders. Heat works, but you have to get the joint heated up pretty high, high enough that charring is a problem. A heat gun will work if you can get close enough.

I don’t know much about extended life time. I think it’s very good. What happens to a CA bond over 100 years? Dunno.

View Stonekettle's profile


135 posts in 2866 days

#10 posted 04-29-2011 06:42 PM

As a turner, I use CA glue all of the time.

Typically I use a two part commercial CA glue specially designed for wood working, 2P-10. It comes in several viscosities (thin to gel) and an activator. CA glue is applied to one face, activator to the other – you have about 8 seconds once the two pieces are put together with a full cure in about 10 minutes. Without the activator, the glue will still cure, but it takes much longer – giving you time to work with the joint if necessary.

I have no problems using it to glue large turning blanks onto a sacrificial plywood faceplate, I use the method described above, i.e. a piece of paper between the blank and the plate, snapping the joint apart after turning with a wood chisel. Typically I use the gel CA for this application, which creates a very strong bond. I’ve never had joint failure using this method, even with very heavy pieces.

Some things to note:

1. There is a big difference in strength and application between an industrial CA glue formulated for woodworking and the commercial stuff available in the big box stores. Both are useful, but you need to know the difference and limitations of each. The commerically available thin Titebond stuff, for example, is terrific for an inexpensive BLO/CA finish on pens, but I wouldn’t use it to bond blanks together. The cheap Titebond stuff is also available in 6oz bottles at most hardware stores and it’s terrific for bonding together hardboard, say if you’re making templates and jigs. I always keep a stock of hardboard (cheap, dead smooth and level, and easily machined or hand shaped, comes in a variety of thicknesses) and a dozen bottles of thin Titebond CA on hand for this purpose.

2. CA glue works best on wood if there’s a little moisture present. However, as noted above, CA glue has little shear strength. It is also inflexible. Practically what this means is: don’t use it to bond green wood, when the wood dries it will shrink and the glue joint will snap like a broken crystal. Don’t use it to bond joins that are expected to flex for the same reason.

3. Thin CA glue will soak into the wood, discoloring it. Areas of wood saturated with CA will not take stain, dye, or finish. This can leave the bottom of your turned bowl discolored if you use the glued sacrificial plate mounting method. A gel CA reduces this problem. A CA joint will leave a thin black line between pieces, this isn’t always a bad thing, depending – here, for example:, I used CA to bond together the pen blanks and the black line helped define the design. A gel CA combined with powdered stone, metal, or sawdust, makes a good inlay filler for turned pieces.

4. Don’t use CA glue to join end grain unless the joint is non-load bearing and reinforced (like those pens above, those are end grain to face grain joins, but the wood is stablized and the blank is really held together by the pen tube in the middle).

5. CA does not expand. As noted above, you can’t use it to fill in wood, unless you use it as a bonding agent for a filler material, like sawdust. If you do this, remember, the resulting fill won’t take finish. This can be a useful property, or a pain, depending. I make a filler from damp used coffee grounds and thinset CA for spalted wood. Works great and looks beautiful and blends perfectly into spalted birch for example, but you have to work fast because the moisture in the grounds will cause the CA to start setting almost instantly.

5. CA cures much faster in moist wood. It will generate heat (in the coffee ground fill application, it generates a LOT of heat and steam, enough to burn you) during the curing process and give off poisonous vapors similar to tear gas. You don’t want to breath the vapors, seriously.

6. If you work with CA a lot, say if you’re making pens, buy a 3-pack of those 100-pair boxes of vinyl gloves from your local wholesale store. The minor expense is worth not having that crap all over your fingers. I go through a couple hundred pairs of those things a month in my shop.

Hope that helps. //Jim

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3036 days

#11 posted 04-29-2011 06:54 PM

I glue blanks to waste wood often. I’ve never had a problem with it flying off.

Advice – Before doing the gluing shape the surface of the waste wood with a very shallow concave. Then you are certain to have solid contact at the edges. Then apply glue only at the edge – all the way around. If you have perfectly flat surfaces and glue the whole surface, you will never get the waste block off. With my approach you can usually get it off with a hammer/mallet and chisel.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View daveblev's profile


20 posts in 2554 days

#12 posted 04-29-2011 08:12 PM

all very interesting reading!

-- dave in s.e. ks.

View brtech's profile


1028 posts in 2884 days

#13 posted 04-29-2011 08:29 PM

Great info Stonekettle. I would observe a couple of things:
1. Water is an accelerator. The chemical accelerators work faster, create somewhat stronger bonds, and keep the CA clear (water tends to cloud the CA). That is the reason it works faster on wood with high moisture. You could spray water on one side and CA on the other and get most of what you get with chemical accelerators. CA sets mostly because there is humidity in the air.

2. Acetone will debond CA. They have special debonders, but in a pinch use acetone. It works on fingers glued together (don’t ask me how I know).

3. The C in CA is Cyanoacrylate. The cyan in cyanoacrylate is cyanide. That’s what’s in the fumes. Nasty

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