Aerosols vs pump CA accelerators?

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Amihai

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Oct 8, 2021
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Hi all,
Just wanted to ask if there are any differences in finishing results between using aerosol accelerators and pump-driven (spray) ones?..
Due to air transport regulations, I can't ship aerosols outside of the US to my country. I had enough with the cheap Chinese ones which are sold here.
Also, I'm very sensitive to irritations caused by the fumes from the aerosol. I hope it will be better with a pump one. Thanks!
 
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BCnabe

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Apr 17, 2013
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I've used both without any issues but I prefer the pump style.

I might be wrong but it seems to me that the aerosol has more over-spray than the pump because it "blasts" a little harder.

I think the droplets of accelerator are larger with the pump style though. The aerosol seems to atomize the liquid into smaller droplets.
 

monophoto

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I'm no expert, but my intuition suggests that:
  • The aerosol produces a more uniform spray than the pump arrangement (as suggested by Dennis), while a pump may 'spit' larger blobs
  • Droplet size is not a factor when CA is used as an adhesive, but a finer, more uniform droplet size could be advantageous when CA is used as a finish. That said, however, I believe that the general recommendation is to not use accelerator when finishing with CA, but rather to let the CA cure naturally.
  • The fact that a pump-style container may dispense larger droplets could mean that the accelerator in a pump will be used up more rapidly than in a aerosol. My experience is that I often have to apply multiple squirts with a pump because my sense is that the spray from the first squeeze is pretty anemic.
  • I would expect that the cost per unit volume of the active accelerator would be greater with an aerosol because of the added cost of the accelerant gas and the more expensive packaging. Also, you most likely can't purchase at the actual site of manufacture. Therefore, the purchase price will include a component for shipping from the point of manufacture to the point of sale, and I would expect that the cost of shipping an aerosol would be greater than the cost of shipping a pump (cost per unit volume of the actual accelerator) because the aerosol container is heavier and more bulky.
 

egnald

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I started with a pump and then moved to the aerosol. I am pretty sure that the aerosol gives a finer mist and I found it easier to hold the spray can farther away than I did with the pump. I always have a fan running to help disperse the fumes from the aerosol and I have a ceiling mounted air filter in my shop that helps too.

I do not have anything negative to say about the pump though. We all have to compromise and adapt our individual regimens depending on the materials and other resources that are available. Some members do not use an accelerator / activator at all and just increase the time between coats to allow the finish to dry.

I don't know all of the mechanisms used for keeping CA from curing, but one of them that I am aware of for most CA products is that they are made to be slightly acidic. The acid impedes polymerization, so anything that helps bring the PH slightly higher should help speed things up. Unfortunately, water and ultra high PH materials can also turn CA cloudy, so although water by itself should help speed up the process by PH dilution, it may also cause some discoloration (frequently a topic of discussion related to finishing with CA in areas of high humidity).

I wonder if the pump version of accelerator could be applied using an artist type air brush to help with atomization droplet size.

Regards,
Dave
 

mmayo

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I tried the pump method and gave up. I’d like to succeed with a better pump, but I always use aerosols.

I’d switch back with bulk accelerator and misting pumps.
 

JohnU

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I prefer the aerosol over pump. I can control using a little but still get enough to work. With the pump I either under or over sprayed and had to be very close to the blank. I like to stay back around 10” when I spray so it’s not so concentrated in one spot.
 

Bryguy

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I use a pump. never had a problem with it and it is much more sensible from an environmental point of view. B'hatslacha!
 

thisoldpen

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Feb 12, 2019
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San Jose, California
A few weeks ago, I ordered a Mister Spray Bottle Continuous Ultra Fine Mist spray bottle for use with my two favorite CA accelerators. The sprayer cost about $5 on Amazon, and the results have been great so far -- no clogs, and a spray pattern that is at least as fine as an aerosol. I've been waiting to post this message, assuming the spray mechanism would clog or corrode, but so far so good.

For reference, these are my favorite CA accelerators:
Neither is sold in an aerosol, and the pumps that the manufacturers sell have failed for me fairly quickly. Thus my quest for a better delivery mechanism. I've been using the E-Z Bond with the sprayer so far and will test drive the BSI next.

Anyway, I'm excited about the results I'm getting from this inexpensive sprayer, and I just wanted to share the tip.
 

RunnerVince

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Dec 18, 2019
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I had issues with orange peel using the pump. They largely went away with the aerosol. I also switched brands at the same time, however, so it could have been a brand issue. Droplets are definitely smaller with the aerosol, but I don't know that I use any more or less either way.
 

JohnU

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I used to use the pump accelerator with EZ bond and stick fast Ca for CA finishes. The problem I found was after a year or less I began finding cracks in my finish. I contributed it to the accelerator because it wasn’t as obvious in pens I didn’t use accelerator on. These were the pump style. I switched to Gluboost CA Finish (orange and blue bottles) with their brand accelerator and have been using it for years with no problem. For glue applications I don’t have as much of an issue using any brand but I prefer the green and red bottles of Gluboost for that, just because it works with the accelerator I use for my finishes and the red is ultra thin and made to wick in, which works great for a sealer or base coat. I think the big thing is you need a flexible CA for finishes and not just any CA. It’s not all made to do the same thing. I know some say the aerosol doesn’t last as long. I recently kept track of how many sprays I got out of one can of Gluboost aerosol accelerator while making a group of pens and had 260 sprays from one can. That came out to 52 pens with 5 layers of glue finish. I’ve never kept track of the pump style because I don’t use it any more.
 

mmayo

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I now have six full years of selling experience in my community. This last weekend I got a chance to meet many who have bought my pens over those years. If my finish cracked - they would have old me and they did not. They did buy more pens, lots. I use E Z BOND CA and oddly Stickfast spray accelerant. The combo works for me every time. I’ve stopped worrying completely if my CA finish will come out right; it does every time. I spray very light bursts from at least 12” away with a slowly (500 rpm) rotating lathe. I don’t get discoloration or white spots or cracks.

I’m hopeful you too have success with whatever finish you use.

Another local pen turner uses a friction finish of some kind. I got quite a few comments about how much better people thought my CA finish was compared to his. They also said that after buying his somewhat shiny pen that days later it was dull. He repolished it for them, but the shine disappeared in days. My sales went up!
 

egnald

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After doing more research following my January 22 post I have found the following:

Although many of the CA accelerators are acetone based some are n-heptane based. Along with the base there are other active ingredients. Cyanoacrylate is highly reactive which is why CA glues also contain a trace of organic sulfonic acid which functions as a stabilizer. The acetone or heptane in accelerator is the evaporating agent as they have both low boiling points as well as high vapor pressures. This means that once applied, they evaporate rapidly leaving the accelerator agents behind which deactivates the stabilizer and the CA begins to polymerize. These agents usually consist of tolidine, various quinones or some type of amine.

Alkaline substances neutralize the sulfonic acid. even hydroxide ions (OH+) from water vapor can start kicking CA into polymerization. This is why why pure acetone acts as an accelerator. Because it is hygroscopic, acetone readily absorbs water from the humidity in the air. When the acetone evaporates the hydroxide ions from the water vapor are left behind to kick the CA into polymerization.

Because of the hygroscopic nature of acetone, and because the actual amount of accelerating agent required is so small, when using a pump or some kind of atomizing sprayer for acetone based accelerators, they could potentially be diluted with additional acetone without losing their effectiveness. Although the amount would vary between manufacturers and some experimentation may be required, I have read that the dilution might be as much as 4 to 1. This would certainly help with the cost.

Personally, I buy the pressurized accelerator made by the same manufacturer of the CA finishes as I have never been happy with the poor atomization provided by most pump sprayers. I have also never tried a better atomizing pump or artists air brush type of applicator which have been previously mentioned.

Regards,
Dave
 

ramaroodle

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Feb 15, 2018
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Seattle
After doing more research following my January 22 post I have found the following:

Regards,
Dave
Now THAT might be TMI. 😂. I only use GluBoost and it’s activator on pens. Whatever they put in it keeps it from clouding. I use the other well known CA brands for general woodworking and will grab whatever’s on sale and will grab any activator that’s handy if I’m out. Haven’t seen a difference. I have noticed that Mercury seems to last a long time in the bottle. Other than GluBoost it’s “I’m out! Amazon next day? Sold!”
 
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