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Thread: CA Glue Advise

  1. #1
    Luthier Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default CA Glue Advise

    I'm wondering if some of you who use CA glue regularly would share some practical tips? I use it rarely - maybe two or three times a year - for small repairs. I wind up having to open a new tube or bottle each time, because the old ones are glued shut - inside the container. I'm careful that the tips are clear and the tops are put back on immediately. Recently, I bought a couple of bottles from StewMac to have on hand for crack repairs. I opened one of them by cutting off the plastic tip with my shop scissors because I couldn't find anything small enough with enough stiffness to insert and puncture the tip. There appeared to be zero glue in the tip. Next day I found my scissors glued solidly shut. I have in the past tried keeping the opened containers in the refrigerator, and they still are useless when I pull them out.

    In short, the instructions on the tubes and bottles aren't helping me, and I imagine others are having similar problems. Any tips or experience you might share would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    CA adhesive is fantastic for some things - only some. I need it enough that I keep fresh stuff on hand. But the problem you experience is common, and I know of no way around it. John Hamlett gave the best advise about it I've ever heard, right here in this forum. (I'm pretty sure it was John, my memory s not stellar). John simply said something like, "I use it like it's cheap."

    Obviously, it isn't cheap, but the point is, don't try to save it for too long, go ahead and use it wherever you think it might be helpful, because the shelf life sucks.
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    Those little push pins with plastic grips that they use to tack announcements on cork bulletin boards are useful.
    Don't put one through your finger.
    I use the Loc-Tite CA from ACE hardware on the sparse occasions I use the stuff. I don't use it often enough to justify mail-ordering it.

  5. #4

    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    I use this. It's a good Atlanta product. I started woodworking with wood turning in the 90's, so CA is something I'm used to buying in large quantities.
    https://www.amazon.com/CA-Adhesive-T...gateway&sr=8-3

    This is a huge bottle, similar to 450 of the usual single-use Super Glue tubes.
    I use it for sealing inlay, drop filling finish repairs, and instead of double-sided tape. I've finished headstocks and fretboards with it, done finish repairs with it, and finish bridges and tailpieces with it.

    In Georgia, it lasts about 4-5 months if the cap is kept on it. Humidity will eventually cure it into a solid brick. The tips on these are good, don't clog up too readily, and are replaceable. I usually drip it onto a metal dental pick for application when I want a drop, or onto a popsicle stick when I want a "sharpie"-like application, or onto a piece of paper towel when I want a brush-like application.

    Before and after of a Martin CEO-7 repaired with just this for gluing the binding and fixing the finish on top of it... a little over 1 hour start to finish on all four waist areas.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #5
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    That's really nice work Marty. You turners use a lot of CA as a finish! I buy similar size bottles from Mohawk, and aerosol activator as well.

    https://www.mohawk-finishing.com/pro...esive-ca-glue/

    https://www.mohawk-finishing.com/pro...sol-activator/
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  7. #6

    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    Yes, I use the liquid activator. Seems to be a better value, and less difficult to tell when it will suddenly run out.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    I use a heavy wound guitar string with about 2" of the core to open clogged bottles of CA. I wipe them off, but if they glue shut they last longer as they don't get air. The guitar string with a pliers works to open them just fine. After it dries I use an knife to clean the core of dried glue so it is ready for the next time. Keep it with a small holder I made for the glue and a couple of strings.
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  9. #8
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    I use a heavy wound guitar string with about 2" of the core to open clogged bottles of CA. I wipe them off, but if they glue shut they last longer as they don't get air. The guitar string with a pliers works to open them just fine. After it dries I use an knife to clean the core of dried glue so it is ready for the next time. Keep it with a small holder I made for the glue and a couple of strings.
    I've used hundreds of bottles of CA for various repairs (mostly not related to instruments) and I had glue go bad (clog to unusable or dry completely) just few times in last 15 years.
    I use guitar string as well for cleaning tips but I rarely need it. I'm mostly using Loctite "precision" liquid CA in 5g triangular bottle (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....3L._SX679_.jpg) and recommended procedure is to clean the tip and tap the bottle against table so any leftover glue in the nozzle flows back down before closing as the lid ocntains metal pin that goes into tip of nozzle and would get stuck (and the drop of glue would flow out of the bottle and make mess on the tip). Any dirt or dust on the nozzle will make it clog and will accumulate dried glue on the tip (though I was always able to open the bottle even with lots of dry glue on tip ). After use I clean the tip with my bare fingers, not towel, as that leaves fibers on. If I'm not very careful and some dry glue accumulates on tip I scrape it off with backside of exacto knife and also scrape any dry glue from inside of lid with long thick needle.
    For binding I use the Loctite gel (in 2 or 3g tubes) adn that lid can get stuck to unusable (if I leave it open too long during longer binding job and don't clean it) but I usualy keep one or two older empty tubes at hand with clean lids for quick replacement of the whole nose of the tube...
    Also I think that humidity is the main enemy of CA. My workshop is dry (40-45% RH), in damp basement the glue can harden in the bottles much faster.
    Adrian

  10. #9
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    I have found that storing CA glue in the refrigerator keeps it good up to a year. Make sure the tip is clean and place in a zip lock bag.8

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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    I've had success with BSI CA and their UnCure debonder. Kept in refrigerator

  12. #11
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by dorenac View Post
    I have found that storing CA glue in the refrigerator keeps it good up to a year. Make sure the tip is clean and place in a zip lock bag.8
    same here for me. I've used it for years, building/flying balsa/light ply remote control airplanes, and now for instruments. I've used Loctite brand and when finished, insert a steel building plan pin(large needle 18 gauge or so)in the tip, then put it in a zip lock baggie and keep in it the fridge. I've had some that stays good for over a year using that method. It appears to glue and hold fine.

    Of late, I ordered one bottle each of stewmac thin and med, with some of the fine tip nozzle ends. so far I like it, haven't had it long enough to see how it lasts in the fridge.

    I have wondered in the past,if long term storage weakens the holding strength, but it doesn't appear to change anything for what I've used it for. I do seem to think that long storage in the fridge seems to make the thin take a little longer to glue and hold. rather than almost instant, I've noticed maybe 15-20 seconds(this is after its been opened and stored for months).

  13. #12
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    Has anybody tried mixing the de-bonder/ solvent into the superglue to thin it?

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    Registered User rockies's Avatar
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    I also prefer the Loctite products. My method of keeping bottles open is.. when done gluing is 1. Dampen a tissue with CA solvent 2. stand bottle up and squeeze, any glue in tip will be expelled 3 Wipe away with tissue. 4. Release pressure on bottle, any remaining glue in tip will be sucked back in bottle 5 Repeat 2 times and clean outside of tip and bottle well with the tissue. 6 Replace cap and store bottle in the fridge upright to keep fluid out of tip.
    Dave
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  16. #14

    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Ludewig View Post
    Has anybody tried mixing the de-bonder/ solvent into the superglue to thin it?
    I use acetone as a debonder. But I haven't had to for years.
    At one point I did mix some thick CA with acetone, and it worked like thin CA once thinned down with acetone.

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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    Thanks Marty. For me, a dope slap. When I cut shell on CNC, it's glued down to phenolic and then soaked in acetone to release. I'll have try that. I'd figured that the debonder might work but it dries a lot slower than acetone, needless to say.

  19. #16
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    I get the cheap 3 packs from Harbor Freight .. not name brand, but they have it on sale at times for a buck.. use it a few times and toss out..
    kterry

  20. #17
    Luthier Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    In the past, I have purchased the little three or four tube packs for $1 at Walmart or wherever I happen to see them. A spare new tube is always necessary since the old one is probably a solid block right when I need it. I don't mind too much throwing away most of a dollar on this stuff, but lately those packs have doubled and tripled in price. Also, I can't find the thin viscosity in any store so far, nor have I found any amber tinted CA anywhere but StewMac, so ordering it is necessary. I really hate the thought of ordering it in advance and then throwing away most of a $10 or $15 bottle. Looks like most of my issue is the year round humidity in Georgia. That's a tough problem, but maybe all the suggestions in this thread will help overcome it.

  21. #18

    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Haywood View Post
    In the past, I have purchased the little three or four tube packs for $1 at Walmart or wherever I happen to see them.
    Same here. Dollar Tree has a four pack of small tubes on a card for $1. Actually one small tube can do 10 or 15 repairs if you remember to stick something in the opening so it doesn't dry up -- like most of the posts above, I use a piece of wound guitar string because it is handy. One of the best deals in guitar repair for a quarter!

  22. #19
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by rockies View Post
    I also prefer the Loctite products. My method of keeping bottles open is.. when done gluing is 1. Dampen a tissue with CA solvent 2. stand bottle up and squeeze, any glue in tip will be expelled 3 Wipe away with tissue. 4. Release pressure on bottle, any remaining glue in tip will be sucked back in bottle 5 Repeat 2 times and clean outside of tip and bottle well with the tissue. 6 Replace cap and store bottle in the fridge upright to keep fluid out of tip.
    Dave
    Dave that's exactly what I've been doing minus the tissue, I just use my fingers (they are usually already contaminated with CA after gluing anyway...)
    Adrian

  23. #20
    Registered User crooksj's Avatar
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    I use mostly thin CA from hobby lobby which is $1.80 per 0.5oz bottle with their always available 40% coupon. Have never had a hardened tip, I believe because I store it in a Mylar ziplock food packaging bag-(not refrigerated). Much more impervious to oxygen & humidity than plastic bags.

  24. #21

    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    I use CA often. I get it from a place you can find on the net if you google "theglueguy". I like the large 10oz aerosol accelerator he provides as it evaporates a bit faster than some others and seems very good value. There is every kind of CA you'd ever want at the website with the exception of the black and amber CA sold by stewmac which I can't live without. I do not use the CA/baking soda trick for nut slot repairs but have found that it's quite easy to file a 90 degree Vee into slot that is too deep and use CA to bond a donor vee into it from bone, corian, or even graphtech tusq, file and shape the donor material to the contours and recut the slot. If you have an acoustic guitar with saddle or nut that simply is a little too short, you can use masking tape to form a tub on the bottom and with thin multiple applications of CA and the availability of an accelerator, its easy to build up and make the saddle or nut taller and a lot less involved compared to fabricating a new part if economy in the repair is warranted. With polyurethane finishes, I've found that CA drop filling of finish cracks and especially those types of damage where there is a surrounding lifting of the finish, careful application of water-thin CA without the use of an accelerator (let air dry for 24 hrs) yields a result with minimal witness lines after sanding and polishing. The same does not apply to lacquer finish repairs as the CA melts lacquer at the borders. But if there is a repaired fracture, that is going to be inevitably covered in lacquer, CA into the repaired fracture joint can work well to prevent the fracture line to reappear as the top coat of lacquer shrinks over time -- once CA cures, it does not shrink.

    In the many years I've done wood work, I had a habit of using my teeth to bite off excess glue on bottles of Titebond -its just a thing I do.. Years ago I did this with a little bottle of CA and glued my lips together so I encourage others to not do this. CA is actually very good to have on hand if you have an accident with a razor blade and slice open a large flap of your finger or thumb. Its not tough or strong enough to hold the injury together if you are playing a gig later but with a good washing of the injury, CA to hold it together, a little antibiotic ointment and a bandaid, you can save a trip to the ER for stitches.

  25. #22
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    I love BSI CA and accelerator. It takes me a year or so to use a small bottle, and it stays fresh for that time at room temp, though it does start to get a bit thicker after about a year. With the thin CA I don’t use the tip on the bottle, I just unscrew the whole top and then use a disposable pipette or toothpick. I use the tip on the medium CA bottle but have to reopen it by sticking a needle in it every once in a while.

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  27. #23

    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by amowry View Post
    With the thin CA I don’t use the tip on the bottle, I just unscrew the whole top and then use a disposable pipette or toothpick.
    Good tip! I had never thought of that.

  28. #24
    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    "if you are playing a gig later"

    It's also good if you've been playing a bunch of hours and your fingertips ferl like they're going to start to bleed. A few layers of superglue and you can keep right on playing.

    Course is probably carcinogenic and will kill ya.

  29. #25
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    Default Re: CA Glue Advise

    Quote Originally Posted by belbein View Post
    "if you are playing a gig later"

    It's also good if you've been playing a bunch of hours and your fingertips ferl like they're going to start to bleed. A few layers of superglue and you can keep right on playing.

    Course is probably carcinogenic and will kill ya.
    I tried that once, 20 min. drive to the gig and the glue was all broken up and falling off my fingers. It doesn't stick to everyone equally.
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