Gluing issues

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Framer

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I'm starting to wonder if I have wrong ca glue for gluing tubes into blanks. I've made about 10 pens so far. I'm pretty sure that I am putting plenty of glue on roughed up blank but have too many failures. I use stick fast medium which seems to have good finish qualities but not doing to good on the gluing part. I do not have any activator. I also usually wait about 10 minutes before continuing with pen but some of failures had several hours of curing time.
I'm ready to try some other glue. I hope that it is something simple I'm not doing or something I am Doing but I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have the fail
 
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Chasper

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Get some accelerator. Without accelerator CA can sometimes go for days without setting up.
 

philipff

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I'm starting to wonder if I have wrong ca glue for gluing tubes into blanks. I've made about 10 pens so far. I'm pretty sure that I am putting plenty of glue on roughed up blank but have too many failures. I use stick fast medium which seems to have good finish qualities but not doing to good on the gluing part. I do not have any activator. I also usually wait about 10 minutes before continuing with pen but some of failures had several hours of curing time.
I'm ready to try some other glue. I hope that it is something simple I'm not doing or something I am Doing but I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have the fail
I WILL SAY IT AGAIN FOR THE UMPTEENth TIME; USE gorilla glue! If you dunk the blank in water after drilling, it rinses out the hole and reduces the glue curing time to about an hour. Zero failures in HUNDREDS of pens! P.
 
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JimB

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If using CA you should be using thick not medium so you get better gap filling. The entire tube needs to be covered and slightly spin it when inserting to spread the glue. Also rough up the tube with sandpaper. Glue today and turn tomorrow to ensure it has set up.

If you look at one of your failures you will probably see places where there isn’t any glue on the tube.

Epoxy is another good option.
 

tomtedesco

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I use Gorilla two part epoxy with good results. It comes in a twin tube set up and both the "A" and "B" part come out together with one push of the plunger so no guessing on amount of each to use.
 

jttheclockman

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I WILL SAY IT AGAIN FOR THE UMPTEENth TIME; USE gorilla glue! If you dunk the blank in water after drilling, it rinses out the hole and reduces the glue curing time to about an hour. Zero failures in HUNDREDS of pens! P.
Sorry no need to SHOUT. Just because you use a glue that is messy and it may work for you it is not the only product that works. So calm down. Besides dunking the blank in water is one of the weirdest ideas I have heard. You now added water back to a blank that you work hard to get to be as close to zero moisture content. As we all get more and more into the hobby we develop our own methods of building a pen. The materials we use and the procedures we use to finish and also the methods we use to make the pens is developed over time and probably with many trials and errors. There are many ways to make these fine writing instruments as many find out reading the many threads on this great site.

There have been many threads on the poor performance of StickFast CA glue but I will leave that alone because I have no first hand knowledge. But I will mention things I do know and they are indisputable. You have done a few things correct with the roughing of the tube. This helps give tooth for the glue to adhere to. You will notice the hole is larger than the tube when drilled and at times the gap can be great. This can be corrected over time if you have a complete set of drill bits. The bit suggested in the instruction sheet maybe a bit off and you can get to a better size on your own. When gluing in a tube it is a good idea to put glue in the blank hole as well as on the tube thus making sure it is well coated. Need to seal the ends to keep glue from entering. I like to use Playdo for this. Other methods are used too. You do not want to spray accelerator anywhere near this operation before you get the tube in or you will not have time and it will get stuck half way. Some people insert the tube and then hit it with accelorator on both ends after. This may not cure the glue in the center even though they think so. Med CA and thick CA take longer periods of time to dry and cure. You are asking for failure if you do not wait at least 24 hours. Not all CA glues react the same. They are not all equal.

With that said I do not like CA as an adhesive in this case because it dries brittle and hard. I believe the adhesive should be flexible and thus I prefer 2 part epoxies. This also supplies you with gap filling properties that can help. Without going into the ins and outs of epoxies I will say that long term epoxies are stronger than the 5 minute versions and that is true. But for a tube either should do fine because there is no true shear strength needed. No matter what adhesive you use heat is always your enemy in all aspects of pen turning so let the blank cool down from drilling before you insert the tube and do not overheat when turning. More failures are caused from heat than any other factor when making a pen. Oh by the way there are some that use Gorilla glue as their go to adhesive. Things to watch for is it does foam and is activated with moisture so a dab of water is a good idea in the blank. Also you need to watch for creeping because as that glue foams it can push the tube out. People use various methods such as rubber bands to keep the tube in. what I do not like about that is the tube probably is not centered in the blank as it creeps to one end or other. Also need to keep that stuff as well as any other adhesive out of the inside of the tube. Just makes cleaning up easier. Good luck and keep experimenting. You will find your method and materials that work well for you. Many threads on this stuff here so may want to do some searching of past threads.
 
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mark james

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I WILL SAY IT AGAIN FOR THE UMPTEENth TIME; USE gorilla glue! If you dunk the blank in water after drilling, it rinses out the hole and reduces the glue curing time to about an hour. Zero failures in HUNDREDS of pens! P.
philipff - You do realize you are indicating a past suggestion to someone who joined IAP 6 days ago.

I prefer 2 part epoxy and wait overnight.
 

mark james

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Framer: When convenient, check out this IAP Forum: Finishing. This thread is not in the best forum for your topic - however, the suggestions noted above are excellent and should give you a head start.
 

1shootist

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I have only been making pens since last year so very much remains for myself to absorb and learn. I did begin with using stickfast medium aswell and experienced pretty much the same results as you, though I did have and used activator / accelerator and it did not improve the results in my opinion as I still had tubes coming unstuck from blanks. I tried the gorilla glue that is activated somewhat with moisture and for myself found it to require more time for setup and more time for clean up than other glues. I tried Locite G02 and a few other glues but had mixed results with them too, I eventually ended up where I am now and that is with 2 part epoxy and have had zero tube issues since. I've used stickfast 2 part 5 minute epoxy , jb weld 2 part 5 min epoxy , locite 2 part epoxy and another name brand that I can't recollect at the moment and they all performed perfectly. At this time I'm using jb weld 2 part and will probably continue to doso as I can buy it at home depot which is convenient for me but if I had to buy another brand I wouldn't hesitate. Even though the epoxy is 5 minute I still allow what I'm working on to sit overnight at least 8 hours.
I also still use the stickfast medium though only for ca finishing which I think it does a great job of.
 

Curly

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Farmer welcome to the site of many passionate people that happen to turn pens. :) As you can see there are three main families of glues you can play with. Try a couple three of each type and see what makes you happy.

In time your turning skill will improve to the point of virtually never having a blank failure. With the right tools and practiced hand you can turn a drilled blank to final size without a tube in it if the wood is sound and put the tube in after. Not something people do very often but possible. ;)
 

Dehn0045

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I usually go with gorilla (urethane) glue. One issue to watch out for is the foaming can cause the tube to move around a little while curing, so try to get the glue evenly coated and set on a flat surface for curing. I don't mind the foaming and it cleans out pretty easy with a utility knife. Two part epoxy is also a good choice IMO, I use it every once in a while. I avoid CA for gluing tubes, when I did use it I went with BSI medium. My process was to apply the CA, push the tube all the way through while spinning, then reapply CA and push back in. I felt that this gave me a good even coating of glue. No failures that I am aware of...
 

ebill

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- I'm in the 2 part epoxy camp and leaving it set overnight. BarrelBond to be specific. Never had a failure to date on a tube in either wood or other blanks <Trustone, acrylic, resin, yadda>

- ebill
 

wouldentu2?

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It is likely your hole is too big. It should be not so tight it needs to be pushed in there, or so sloppy you see it move around. Think of the Three Pen Turning Bears.
 

Framer

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I want to thank everyone for their input. I'm going to try 2part epoxy for a bit. I felt a lot more confident when I put it in a blank last night than I felt with CA. I will try CA again but will try different brand and save stick fast for finishing which it seem to do pretty well
 

Framer

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It is likely your hole is too big. It should be not so tight it needs to be pushed in there, or so sloppy you see it move around. Think of the Three Pen Turning Bears.
I wasn't happy with fit when using woodriver drill bit. A little loose. I purchased a set from Taylor toolworks that seemed a little more snug. I drill on my lathe using Jacobs Chuck and pen jaws from nova. I have a rikon 70-220vsr that seems to be pretty well put together.
 

penicillin

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I use Gorilla Glue (polyurethane glue) for gluing the tubes into most pens. I like it because the foaming action fills gaps, it dries tight and hard, but also has a firm rubbery feel to it. It is hard to explain. It is that flexible feel that appeals to me. I think it helps the pens withstand dropping and wood movement better, but that's a personal opinion only. It is messy, but no worse than working with epoxy. I bought the smallest bottle of original Gorilla glue I could find at the local big box store. It doesn't take much. Pay attention: Gorilla brand also makes other types of glue including wood glue, CA glue, and more. You want the original Gorilla glue or any other brand of polyurethane glue.

To apply, first take a wet Q-tip and moisten the inside of the drill hole from both ends. Hold the tube with a gloved hand and apply the glue to the tube in a circle at the front and then a spiral down the tube. Twirl the blank with one hand and twirl the tube with the gloved hand, pulling the tube in and out while twisting both parts, to coat the tube all over. Push the tube in with the gloved finger and wipe off the excess glue with a sideways swipe of the finger. Place the blank on its side on wax paper (or a Rockler silicon mat) for the glue to cure overnight. The glue will foam out onto the wax paper, and that's okay. Done correctly, the tube shouldn't move. (Some people use a rubber band as insurance to hold the tube in place. I never did, and never had a problem.) The dried, foamed glue is easy to cut off with a chisel or clean out if needed. You can also use Play-Doh or dental wax to plug your tubes before gluing.

I use epoxy for translucent blanks where you may see the tube, like some acrylics.

I use Flexible CA glue if I must turn a pen immediately, without time for the glue to cure overnight. I spray each end of the blank with activator to hasten the curing process, and possibly improve the hold.
 

penicillin

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My "go to" glue for gluing brass tubes into pen blanks has been ordinary Gorilla Glue, which is polyurethane glue. I bought the smallest bottle I could find at Home Depot in early December, and I am still using the same bottle after 51 pens. See the attached photo:

* Left: Original Gorilla Glue - https://www.gorillatough.com/product/original-gorilla-glue/
This is the bottle that I started using on 1 December 2018. I made 51 pens so far with this bottle of original Gorilla Glue, and it still has 1/3 of the bottle left, and I am generous and messy with the glue. Once I started using this Gorilla Glue (polyurethane glue) for brass pen insert tubes, I use them for nearly all pens. I use other glues only for special needs. (See my previous post above.)
Usage note: I took a wet Q-tip and dampened the inside of the hole before inserting the tube with glue.
Pen blank: Purpleheart wood cut from a board. It will become a matching needle threader to make a set with an existing seam ripper.

* Center: White Gorilla Glue - https://www.gorillatough.com/product/white-gorilla-glue/
I just bought this glue this morning.
Hype: Same strength, texture, and foaming action as Original Gorilla Glue, except it dries white instead of amber, and cures in half the time. I like white. I might give it a try in a translucent acrylic blank someday.
Actual: White Gorilla Glue is lot more runny than Original Gorilla Glue, so it dripped off the tube while I was applying the glue and inserting the tube. It started foaming about twice as fast as the original Gorilla Glue. I will wait until tomorrow to see how it is when it is fully cured, but I expect something very similar to the Original Gorilla Glue, only white.
Usage note: I took a wet Q-tip and dampened the inside of the hole before inserting the tube with glue.
Pen blank: Gonçalo Alves (Tigerwood) cut from a board. It will become a cat twist pen, which helped dictate the choice of blank.

* Right: Clear Gorilla Glue - https://www.gorillatough.com/product/clear-gorilla-glue/
This is a Silane-based adhesive. It is very different compared with the two glues above. It is not a polyurethane glue, it is a silane glue. It does not foam. It dries clear.
Usage note: I inserted the tube with glue, but did not apply any moisture.
Pen blank: Coffee and Cream Inlace Acrylester. These are very challenging blanks to make into pens. Someone here on Penturners urged me to try the Clear Gorilla Glue with it.

It is late afternoon here. I will let them cure overnight and report back tomorrow.
 

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VA Jim

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I started chuckling when I read Talltim's comment. Made me think of the line "ask three people and get 4 opinions".
I've tried different CA - think I like BSI best (med/purple for blanks/tubes and thin/blue & BLO for finish) but that's my personal opinion.
When I have a failure I (try) to pause for a moment and think "what was I just doing?". Stuff happens - a catch or a hard spot in the blank. Might be something like that is the cause. And my personal 'bad' is knowing I should take a moment to hit the grinder but not doing it. I can feel it when I'm losing that edge but I'll think just a little more. That often precedes bad words in the shop. But I think I'm getting better about that.
Hang in there!
 

penicillin

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Reporting back on my post above:

* Original Gorilla Glue: Nothing new to report here. I have been using it as the regular glue for brass inserts in pen blanks.

* White Gorilla Glue:
Pros:
Set up and cured faster than Original Gorilla Glue.
Feels the same as Original Gorilla Glue when dried.
Dries white, which I prefer. I may try it in a translucent acrylic blank to see if it can be used there instead of painting the tubes or holes and using two-part epoxy.
Cons:
Runny. The viscosity seems somewhere between thin and medium StickFast CA glue. The Original Gorilla Glue is thicker, or at least the Original Gorilla Glue sticks to the brass tube better than the White Gorilla Glue when applied. Several drops fell off the tube when I applied the same amount if it had been Original Gorilla Glue. I tried to swirl the tube to keep it from dripping off, but without success.

* Clear Gorilla Glue:
This is very different than the two polyurethane glues above. It is a silane-based glue. It does not foam. It may have taken longer to cure than the polyurethane-based Gorilla glues, but it is hard to tell for sure because it looks the same when uncured as cured. It dries sparkly clear, like CA. It dries hard, but the dried glue on the outside of the blank feels rubbery, which I cannot explain. I could not scratch it or dent it with my fingernail, but it had a "grippy" feel, not a "hard surface" feel.

Nothing unusual happened with the tubes or blanks. The brass inserts stayed put until the glue cured, as expected.
 

More4dan

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I use CA for most pens, I don’t usually get to turn two days in a row. If I have to back paint it would mean 1 day for paint to dry, 1 for epoxy, and a 3rd to turn. I’m too impatient. I do use 2 part 30 minute epoxy fo some wood blanks and if the there is a bit of a gap to fill between the tube and blank.

Regardless of the glue you use, here is a method I use that has worked every time. I add glue from one end of the blank, enough to cover about halfway down the sides of the hole. I then cover about 1/2-2/3 of the tube and insert in the opposite end of the blank while twisting. That way as the glue is being wiped from the tube, it will be passing glue inside the blank. Be sure to plug the ends of the tube, I use modeling clay. It assures even coverage the full length of the tube.

How does one get activator between the tube and blank? I can’t figure that one out.

Using medium CA and I can usually be squaring and turning in 10 minutes.

Danny

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penicillin

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I use CA for most pens, I don’t usually get to turn two days in a row. [...]

How does one get activator between the tube and blank? I can’t figure that one out.

Using medium CA and I can usually be squaring and turning in 10 minutes.

Danny
I hold the blank in a gloved hand, and spray activator on each end. I do not know how far the activator penetrates. I think that's the best you can do. My earliest pens had blowouts with the wood flying off the tubes. I was using medium CA glue for the brass insert tubes, and my pen making expert friends suggested trying activator on the ends. Since then, I have not experienced a failure like that.

As I said in previous posts, most of the time I use polyurethane glue, but if I want to turn the pen immediately, then I use flexible CA glue for the brass insert tubes. My thinking is: If someone drops the pen, the flexible CA may survive better with fewer internal cracks compared with regular CA glue.
 

Gary Beasley

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When using CA to glue in a tube sometimes I notice from the end opposite I put the tube in there seems to be a slight gap between the tube and the blank. Its real, and I learned I could drip some thin CA onto the inside of the drilled hole next to the tube and it will wick into the gap until filled. You might need to scrape the inside of the tube if you get too much and it runs into the tube. Dont be in a hurry to put it on the lathe right away.
 

Framer

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I bought a kit from pen kit mall that had satellite original,medium and thick along with activator. OMG a world of difference. Haven't tried gluing a tube yet but as finish it is awesome. 3 coats then lite micromesh(which I really didn't think I needed), novus 2 and viola,nice finish.
 

jttheclockman

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I bought a kit from pen kit mall that had satellite original,medium and thick along with activator. OMG a world of difference. Haven't tried gluing a tube yet but as finish it is awesome. 3 coats then lite micromesh(which I really didn't think I needed), novus 2 and viola,nice finish.
I use this all the time and try many times here to get people to try but it does not go over well. It is the only CA glue I use. I do not glue tubes in with it but do use it for finishing. I use epoxy all the time for tubes.
 

Lucky2

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I used to use quality brand name glues, but I no longer do. Nowadays, I use the tubes from the local dollar store, and I find that they do as nice or good a job as any other I've used.

Len
 

jttheclockman

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I used to use quality brand name glues, but I no longer do. Nowadays, I use the tubes from the local dollar store, and I find that they do as nice or good a job as any other I've used.

Len
Whatever works Len. If you find something that works well why try to reinvent the wheel is my moto. That CA glue I started with ever since I started making pens and have to say i read about all the failures of first time doing a CA finish, I have to say the very first pen till now I have not had a CA failure . I picked up on the process very easily. Now I attribute that to reading the forums here over and over before I even tried. I thank the forerunners here and highly suggest newbies do the same here. So much info has been shared through threads and questions answered. Just need to be diligent and take some time to do some searching.
 

KenB259

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When I first started I was advised to use CA, after too many times with a tube sticking out of the blank about a sixteenth if an inch with setup glue, I switch to 5 minute epoxy and have never looked back. The epoxy gives me some breathing room, allows me to make sure the tube is well coated and I have had no failures do to a bad glue job. One thing I don’t see mentioned often is that after you rough up the tube, and even a pre roughened tube, always clean the tube with denatured alcohol and then never touch it again with bare hands.


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jttheclockman

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When I first started I was advised to use CA, after too many times with a tube sticking out of the blank about a sixteenth if an inch with setup glue, I switch to 5 minute epoxy and have never looked back. The epoxy gives me some breathing room, allows me to make sure the tube is well coated and I have had no failures do to a bad glue job. One thing I don’t see mentioned often is that after you rough up the tube, and even a pre roughened tube, always clean the tube with denatured alcohol and then never touch it again with bare hands.


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Epoxy is alot more forgiving. Remember after the pen blank is turned down there really is no more pressure on the blank. I never wipe down when using epoxy which I always do. So much easier.
 

crokett

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I use 5 minute epoxy. More open time than CA, more even coating of the blank and I've never had a failure with it. I have had more than one failure with CA. I use acid brushes to mix the epoxy, then coat about 3/5 of the tube. I put the tube most of the way into the blank, and twist the tube as I insert it, then work the squeeze out around the rest of the tube and push it the rest of the way in.
 
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