Using super glue as a wood finish
In another thread I showed a knife that I gave a super glue finish. I decided to show the steps I use. This is not to say that this is the only and proper way to use super glue as a finish. It's just the way I do it. Super glue is used on tropical woods that have oils that prevent most finishes from drying, curing or hardening but It can be used on any wood.
First of all, This is for small projects since it is not really cost effective for large projects. At the same time, there are those that use a super glue finish on pool cues, pens, bowls, chess pieces and a host of other projects.
I went out and bought a 4 pack of .07 Oz. tubes for $1.99. I bought the regular and not the gel but have heard of people using the gel with good results.
Always read the warnings and understand the risks. I have chosen to ignore rule number four. I found rule number five a bit odd. I do want good results but I fail to see why it matters how me and the missus spend our free time or if we are good at it.
This glue is stinky but larger containers that are more expensive can be bought in a low odor version.
I used a scrap piece of Bubinga right off the saw. I did not sand it at all. I did this to show that super glue is gap filling and fills in the pores of the wood. I poured a small drop on the wood.
And spread it around with this brush.
I just spread it out until the piece is covered and never stop moving. It stays liquid for a short while.
And then hardens with a little less gloss. You can see the rough saw lines on the wood. but after I build up of a few coats, it will smooth over the bumps. *** DO NOT blow on it to dry it faster.
After two coats, I use 400 grit sandpaper to smooth out the brush marks and then wipe it with a clean cloth to remove the white dust.
On the back side of the piece I applied the same number of coats except on the last one, I blew on it to dry it faster and you can see the results. The water vapor in your breath makes the glue cloudy or foggy and you cant un-do the damage. You will have to sand it all off and start over. The same goes for touching the wet glue with your finger. The moisture in your skin will also turn the glue white.
After a few coats, you also get a build up on the tip of your brush.
Nail polish remover (Acetone) will remove the hardened glue. I wet a paper towel and set my finger in it.
I will also use some of that same 400 grit to clean of any glue left behind. Now the brush is clean.
Once hardened, I use 400 grit and 0000 steel wool to smooth the finish.
Super glue leaves a hard, crystal clear and water proof protective coating of acrylic plastic on the wood.
It can be buffed to a high sheen.
Give it a try the next time you are working on a small wood project or if making fishing jig heads or turkey calls. Work outside or in an area with good ventilation.
I used super glue as a wood finish in my knifemaking (which ended 18 years ago)
I did things a little different
Thin super glue bought in bulk from the model airplane hobby shop
I completely shaped & sanded (down to P800 grit with Klingspor paper)
Then using an applicator pad made from folded paper towel (no reason to get that crap on your skin) I would flow a thin coat over the handle sometimes adding a second coat if I thought I had a thin area.
I resanded with P800 grit just to the very start of the woods surface.
Then buffed the wood to a super high luster with a fluffy 8" cotton buff at 1725 rpm and White Rouge.
Followed by a good hand rubbing with Chamois.
Results looked like poured glass.
Look into CA glue. I've used it as a finish on pens before. Its a PITA to do, but if you do it right it looks amazing. :)
CA glue is what I just described above. CA glue is super glue.
Ive only seen regular and "gel" superglue at the store. The regular was a little too runny for what I needed, and I never cared for the gel. Though, I was finishing a round piece of wood spinning on a lathe and not a flat, stationary piece. I could see regular super glue working well for that purpose. :)
Pen makers have been using this stuff as a finish for more than ten years. And in that context it is good. BUT, super glue has no UV blockers built-in, added, or as a natural component. So, if you were to keep the wood in a pocket and out of any sunlight, all's OK. But if the wood will be exposed to sunlight, the glue WILL eventually fail and turn to white powder. One can use the glue, but it then must be coated with another finish rated for outdoor use, if sunlight will ever be part of the picture. The final finish will protect the glue from the UV rays of sunlight.
Interesting I have flying model airplanes that are 30 years old have spent hundreds of hours in direct sun light and have exposed joints that are glued with super glue and I have never seen any indication of this turning white you mention.
I also now have handmade knives with super glue finish as I described above that have been in constant use since 1985 (when I did my first Super glue finish) and I have had no feedback from customers nor any experience with this in my own knives.
Can you sight an article or something speaking to this?
Yes, I can “cite” some info about CA sensitivity to sunlight.
Following are a few links which caution the exposure of “normal” (over-the-counter, consumer-friendly type) CA adhesives to sunlight, after they are cured. These are NOT the UV-cured adhesives which are available to industrial users. The industrial versions which are designed to cure under UV light MIGHT be acceptable, to a limited degree, to an environment which included some sunlight. Some of the easy-to-get CA’s degrade after only 30 hours of sunlight.
As a former engineer, this kind of info went with the job: normal CA glues, and even most epoxies, are not UV resistant, and must be protected by an additional coating which has UV blockers built-in. If and when I stumble across more info, I can pass it on. For the present, anyone who uses an easily-obtainable, easy-to-use CA adhesive would do well to protect the final product with an additional finish, if sunlight was a factor.
A slightly amusing follow-up:
By the way, when a product designer or manufacturing engineer (both of which I was) in industry has a new product or new way of making an existing one, the standard process is to contact the makers/distributors of the materials one is interested in. Then, a rep either sends info or drops by (much more preferable), to showcase their offerings and tell all about them. And those reps are usually very truthful, otherwise they won’t last long. This process exposes us to both old and new ideas, and relates a LOT of background info otherwise not easily obtainable. Such as: why does the accelerator for Loctite Black Max smell like roses? Because the ladies on the production floor (who actually use it every day) prefer that smell; no other reason, but a damn good one. And one more good reason to have a live rep: a free lunch!
I always wished SuperGlue would stick to other things as well as my fingers :)
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